Thursday, July 26, 2012

Student from Italy learns more than Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream

The cast of PCYT's A Midsummer Night's Dream, playing tomorrow at
the Patel Conservatory's TECO Theater.
Wrestling with the old English of a Shakespeare play is difficult for anyone. For Italian actor Lorenzo Tonelli, understanding the story was only half the problem.
Lorenzo plays the fun-loving Puck in tomorrow’s PCYT production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Patel Conservatory.
The 13-year-old from Bologna, Italy, speaks moderate English. So understanding the director and his fellow classmates for the past two weeks was as challenging as understanding the text.
“This is the first time I’ve done Shakespeare. I have some problems what I’m reading, but my father and the director help me to translate,” said Lorenzo.
The show will be the culmination of PCYT’s theater intensive program, during which students have learned vocal and acting techniques as well as an understanding of classic Shakespeare.
Lorenzo Tonelli, middle, joined us from Italy
to study theater this summer. Aaron Phillips,
left, plays Oberon, and Sasha Hollenbeck
plays Helena.
Lorenzo attends a performing arts school in Italy, where he has performed in many musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar. He sings, acts and plays piano, and recently had a role in a television movie to be broadcast in Italy.
His father Marco Tonelli works for an American company based out of Lakeland that manufactures commercial juice extractors for orange juice companies. He travels from Bologna to Lakeland about every other month.
Last summer, Lorenzo joined him in Lakeland and attended YMCA summer camps. This summer, in searching for some performing arts camps, a co-worker referred Marco to the Patel Conservatory.
“I visited in March, and found it extremely exciting,” said Marco. He says in Italy, when people think about the performing arts in America, they imagine the excitement of Broadway.
Marco finds the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center, “exactly matching with this ideal we have,” he explained.
Staying at the Howard Johnson’s across the street, Lorenzo goes to classes at the Conservatory while Marco goes to work in Lakeland.
“I tried all that Patel Conservatory has to offer,” said Lorenzo, who also took voice and piano lessons at the Conservatory during his stay in Tampa. “It has been a good’s fun.”
Lorenzo says his instructor and Midsummer director Giles Davies has helped him learn more about character.
“I feel my character inside of me,” said Lorenzo. “I am not so much of a jokester as Puck, but I love it because he’s my favorite character.”
As director, Davies has a keen instinct. “He finds the right movements in the right place... he can do that...few people can.”

See Tonelli and all the talented cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream tomorrow night, Fri., July 27, 2012 at 7 p.m. For tickets or more information, click here.

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