My original idea for reading this story was quite modest. I assumed people would read the story on their own as part of a deliberate journey, or perhaps as a journey that they undertook over several days. I liked the idea that people might read in groups, taking it in turns to read it out aloud to the others, in the way of storytelling of oral stories.
It was this aspect that was picked up by Susanna and Renato and by other people in the town. Here was a certain theatricality possible, and so the idea of a launch of the project with a public reading, in this case by professional actors, perhaps with some musical accompaniment, took hold.
The Mayor, Marcello Ratini, suggested that the musical accompaniment might be provided by the famous Banda Nazionale Garibaldina from the town of Pioggio Mirteto. Founded in 1592, this band is the oldest wind ensemble in Europe. The Garibaldi name came from a much later involvement in the 1867 battle for Rome. It was only a short step from there to the television cameras coming. Suddenly I was faced with having to buy some new clothes for the “television interview”. The band agreed to perform, but as it happened, they were unable to muster the required number of musicians for the evening, as they had a major performance scheduled the following night.
Eventually, we settled on two actors, Antonio Andronico e Antonio Mercadante, and two drummers from the local Casaprota band, Marco and eight-year-old Federico, who was a perfect parallel for one of the minor characters in the story. This was a better outcome because it left the focus on reading the story, rather than on the music.
It was wonderful that the community had become engaged with the project, and were making their own contribution. It seemed that now part of the ownership of this project had passed to the town.