Finally being able to come back to the Accademia this summer was definitely a bit of a surprise to me. So many students who were here this summer said the same thing, as some of them waited for months for the opportunity to set foot on our campus, so getting to be here felt almost too good to be true.
At first, coming back to the ADA after 15 months of living in the United States felt like walking back in time as it’s been so long since I left. Of course, the little changes, like the signs telling everyone to wear a mask and the changes in everyone’s working schedule brought me back to reality and made me aware of the fact that time had passed and some things had changed.
It was of course challenging to adjust to being back in Italy, and stressful to deal with all of the little changes that have happened, but what I noticed the most this summer is that despite a 15 month long closure and any changes that may have happened due to the pandemic, the central spirit of the Accademia stayed the same. The villa was filled with the same joy, the same playfulness and the same sense of community as it has always been as there are some things about the ADA that will never change, no matter how much time passes. Like the way that every single party that the students throw in the Teatrino becomes a performance experiment. Or how every Commedia and Clown performance makes you laugh so hard that your face goes red. Or how every group of students goes from a group of strangers to the most beautiful community you’ve ever seen, always looking out for each other and lifting each other up.
And of course, it’s been a blessing to be around fellow artists once again after a year of being inside. I loved meeting this amazing group of students and also reuniting with every single faculty and staff member that I have missed. It was so exciting seeing every final performance and getting to experience meaningful, live (and often interactive) performance again. And of course wandering around the city of Arezzo once again and going to all of my old favorite spots was such an amazing experience. I’m surprised that still know my way around town perfectly fine without a GPS!
The thing is, so much has changed in the world in the past year and a half and there are things that have changed here as well. But despite all the time that has passed and the things that have changed, at its core, this place has stayed the same. In case, you can’t tell, I’m a very sentimental person and I often prefer permanence over change. It can be so hard to find things that stay constant, but if this beautiful summer back at the Accademia has shown me anything, it’s that no matter what, the central spirit, the energy that is here at the ADA throughout every program will always stay the same. I can come back here years later and there will still be that beautiful togetherness, playfulness, experimentation and joy that is constant throughout every single program here.
There’s not many places that stay gold, but the Accademia Dell’Arte surely does.
(Both metaphorically, and I guess also literally.)