Why a booktrail?
A tale of travelling actors, and the stage is set for murder and intrigue in 16th century Italy
Story in a nutshell
Modena, Italy, 1582.
Seventeen-year-old seamstress Sofia Genotti is on the run, falsely accused of theft. Desperate to avoid a life as a whore, she meets a troupe of actors who move around the country performing tales of folklore. She joins them as a seamstress but soon is on the stage herself.
Amidst the face paint and the costumes, danger lies. Sofia meets and falls in love with one of the actors Beppe but they don’t see what lies behind the curtain, tucked out of sight. When a murder takes place, Sofia is accused of the worst crime and could mean that her performing days are over and that a life in prison is what she can expect.
A tragedy of errors takes place off the stage where the real action is a lot worse than make believe.
Place and setting
Smell the greasepaint, hear the actors milling about behind the scenes and can you hear the crowds cheering for the next performance? What about the costumes and the glorious masks where nothing is as it seems?
Welcome to the world of the travelling actors who tour Italy performing on the street of in front of aristocrats
They have performed eleven times in the towns and villages of Emilia Romagna and not once have they met with a hostile crowd
The magic of the theatre is the true setting here and is evoked via each one of the five senses.
Sofia meets the troupe here and we meet her running through the streets to escape her tormentors. But once the theatre comes into play, there is hope.
It is here in Piazza Vecchio where Sofia first meets Signor Zanetti and where she finds hope and salvation amongst the crowded and nosy market square and the carts laden with misshapen loaves and sweetmeats.
Inside the walled city and within the Piazza de Porta di Ravegnana – this is where the troupe are to perform and where Sofia first meets Beppe
We perform in the Piazza de Porta di Ravegnana this afternoon and in the shadows of the two towers
The stage is erected here and the costumes set out, the face paint goes on and the crowds roar. You can hear and smell the excitement in the crowds as they cheer loudly.
Just outside Bologna (which you should ride to in one of the many travelling wagons in the story), a lauded performance at the great Castello della Franceschina
Standing alone, the red brick castle looms squat and square, two storeys high with a stout constellated tower at each corner, uncompromising and simply designed like a child’s toy fortress.
This is the location of murder and intrigue and where the mask slips from the face of the guilty. Dark dealings within its corridors, the sense of entrapment and isolation is the only breeze which makes the candles flicker in disgust. For the castle walls hold secrets
Beppe and Sofia – who live in a world of escapism – will have to achieve their best performance yet. Banished from their towns and villages of Emilia Romagna, From Ferrara in the north to Ravenna in the east to Reggio in the west, they have lost their hearts and their heartland…