Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In fair Assisi, where we lay our scene

Well, okay.  Apparently I blew it.  I was hoping for at least some participation in my story/picture caption contest, announced last week.  I got - zilch.  

So I won't try that again.  Admittedly, we're all busy, and you'd have to be (1) feeling playful, (2) seriously into time-wasting, and (3) fairly glib at this sort of thing for it to have been fun and worth doing.

Still, I did promise a story of my own, so I will attempt to deliver (though it's actually more of a vignette than a real story).  This is what happens when my inner surrealist attempts to devour my more sedate medievalist.

The idea was this:  I presented four photos of faceless mannequins clad in medieval costume, taken inside the Rocca Maggiore in Assisi, and hoped that people would place them in the order of their choice and then create a story from them.  

This week in our files I found another faceless being, above, and so I'm presenting her to you as our storyteller.  She's not in Assisi; she's visiting from Boccaccio's old digs in Certaldo.  Let's call her something appropriate, like, say, monna Bianca Senzafaccia.

Bianca says: 

Two households, both alike in dignity
(though that's not saying very much, I know),
Did come together in a mood of amity,
To feast, and dance, and maybe watch a show.

The Voltivuoti clan feared losing face,
But loved to party, dancing with abandon.
 Although the Gambeperse shared that fear,
They also didn't have a leg to stand on.

Lisetta and Vanna of the Voltivuoti had set up their embroidery display as far as possible from the musicians.  They weren't attracting much attention, but then, neither of them really had an eye for design.  They stared blankly at the arriving guests.  Vanna was seething inside, but her face revealed nothing.

Buoso and Tessa blindly followed Guido into the hall.  Somebody - was it Donato, perhaps? - called to Buoso, "Come on!  Shake a leg!"  How insensitive, thought Buoso, instead shaking his head sadly.  Simply not an option.  Meanwhile, Serafina and Angela had hit a dead end.  Serafina couldn't see any way to get into the hall, and Angela too was drawing a blank.  Tessa had somehow managed to get the train of her gown out in front of her, which meant her next step was likely to be a disaster.  "Klutz," muttered Serafina.  "She doesn't even see the problem, and it's as plain as the nose on her face."  "Well, that explains a lot," said Angela drily.

Guido rather envied Donato his fur capelet, for the hall was chilly.  Perhaps that was why the vielle was so hideously out of tune, he thought.  Guido's own white cloak covered his leglessness well enough, but was not particularly warm.  The two mysterious pilgrims at the end of the table stood there, perfectly expressionless.  No doubt they were waiting for edible alms, Guido though, though there was as yet no sign of the feast on the table - only two odd items that looked rather like tuning forks, or possibly wrenches.

In the musicians' gallery, the Gambeperse family band was desperately trying to get its act together.  Pina banged the drum energetically while Antonio struggled with the vielle.  He had no idea what had happened to his tuning wrenches, but he really needed them.  The singers had just warbled their way through a motet, Piero and Cecco singing tenor and bass respectively.  Piero's hair flopped in his face.  He wasn't ready for this, he realized - he had only been singing this part for a short time, and always with other tenors, and he was simply unable as of yet to stand on his own two feet.  Piero wasn't doing much better; he kept staring at Vanna over in the opposite corner, with her embroidered whatever-it-was.  She must have been aware of his gaze, though her face never changed.  Even furious, the woman could knock his socks off, not to mention shoes, and feet, and legs. 


Ahem.  Okay, so much for that.  All photos in this post are our own; next week I'll get back to history and be my usual serious self again.

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