A memory has returned to my mind after reading these days so many articles and posts about theatre. In 1999 a friend of mine asked me to accompany her to visit “an old friend”, in the the dressing room of Teatro Quirino (a few meters away of Fontana di Trevi) in Rome. The old friend was a quite known Italian actor, Kim Rossi Stuart, and he was playing Hamlet. As I was not a very big fan of the actor in question, I went there without suffering any kind of nervous palpitation. I knew of course who he was, I had seen him in tv, but I went there more with the spirit of the explorer and the busybody than that of the fangirl.
When we arrived to the artist’s door my friend asked the guardian who we wanted to see. We were the only people there, although the play had finished a few minutes ago. The man lifted the telephone ceremoniously and said “Maestro, c’è una signorina ed una amica sua che La vogliono trovare” (Maestro, there are a young lady and a friend who want to see you). Italians are unique in this kind of adulatory, almost-servile way of speaking, as a sign of respect and deference. Once the Cerberus of the Arts told the actor who my friend was, we were granted access. We climbed the stairs, a door was open in a landing and I was able to see the ropes behind the scenes and a couple of firemen. I don’t know if it happens also in other countries, but here the presence of a group of firemen is compulsory in the theatre. We knocked the door of the dressing room and there he was. He wore a rather worn pink bathrobe, a couple of slippers. Last time I told a friend this anecdote I was wondering myself how I was able to keep my countenance and cold blood to see such a beautiful man in that condition without stammering or blushing. I guess that those days I was too busy falling in love with my husband, because I cannot find another logical reason to be in front of this without making myself ridicule.
But the purpose of this post is not to talk about my supposedly cold blood, but to the immense gift that was for me, the chance to see an actor just undressed of his character. I remember my friend asking him how he felt, and he saying that was very tired, but also satisfied. Indeed he was completely soaked with sweat, literally exhausted, but also happy. He had still a certain kindle in his eyes and the few minutes I was there I had the certainty that I would never forget that experience.