Candles and firecrackers at Florence’s ‘Firebird’ show

The details

Where: Giuseppe Cesare Gallery, Florence

What: Set against two bleak Italian landscapes (marked here in capitals) resembling both penitentiaries and an Fascist torture camp, set to the music of the ’60s pop of Journey and the Kinks, this performance (published here as CDs in Italian) features five actors singing and dancing along to a full band of singers and musicians playing.

When: June 12, 2016

Why: Currently mired in a corrupt political scandal and beset by demonstrations against the government’s austerity policies, Italy is on the verge of a critical dilemma: If ever a political situation needed fireworks, this is it. But the fireworks don’t seem to be coming in, even though the press is rife with predictions of something dramatic happening on 4/4/2016.

I saw the show while promoting my new book, the Italian novelist Roberto Saviano’s new book, Little Italy. Saviano and his cast of characters faced questions about the ongoing investigations into his short life and how he first began to draw upon aspects of his experiences to write his novels, The Gutterman and L’Avventura. And, I felt, because both a good show and a good book belong to the same family, I was able to overcome a certain distance when looking at these two sides of the same coin.

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