Compagnia Teatrale Opera dei Pupi
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    Following the tartar Agricane's death, Orlando returns to Paris with Angelica. The Saracen army of King Agramente of Beserta has the city under strong siege and is sworm to its conquest. However in the court of Charlemagne, the emperor of France, a disagreement over Angelica arises between Orlando and Rinaldo. The emperor entrust Duke Namo of Bavaria with the task of granting the maiden to the knight who most excels himself in battle.

    The war beneath Paris is fearsome and both Orlando and Rinaldo show great valour. Angelica manages to escape and on bare ground as she fleas the French camp comes upon a gravely wounded Saracen soldier and with a sheperd's help she takes him to his humble dwelling and cares for him lovingly. The normally cold, cynical and affected maiden opens her heart to love and weds the young man after having nursed him back to health. These lush abodes are testimony to their idyllic love and the log cabin, plants, trees and caverns engraved with hieroglyphics of their names Angelica and Medoro.

    Orlando, aware that Angelica has gone, leaves the battlefield and abandons Paris in search of the woman he loves. The time has also come for Angelica to return to her homeland with her beloved Medoro but before leaving, as a token of gratitude, gives the kind hearted shepherds her gold bracelet.

    This unfortunate coincidence leads Orlando to the place that set the scene for Angelica's show of her love for Medoro. The dwellings, grottos and the shepherd's very cabin are all full of the hieroglyphics which are proof of their relationship. Orlando distressed by this discovery becomes crazy when he recognises the gold bracelet he had given to Angelica as a token of is love. His unrequited love for this woman and her ungratefuln ess drive him to insanity so he strips off his armoury and like a ferocious wild beast runs naked through the woods.



The tragic history of Macalda Scaletta,
the first Sicilian woman chessplayer


Text of the representation (how “Opera of the Sicilian Puppets”), October 18th 2009 in the theatre "Le Ciminiere" in Catania
(original text in the Sicilian dialect and rhyming).

- Ideation and text by Carmelo Coco.
- Realization of the theatrical group "Il Paladino".

"The tragic history of Macalda Scaletta, the first Sicilian woman chessplayer” (XIII century), is on purpose a brief chess subject screen-play prepared as homage to the members of the CCI (Chess Collectors International) participants to the congress Italy-French (7° Italian 2° French) developed in Catania at the hotel UNA Palace in the days 16-19 of October 2009.
  The representation is centralize on the imprisonment of Macalda [baroness of Scaletta - today Scaletta Zanclea (Messina) - and the feud of Ficarra (Messina), wife of Alaimo da Lentini, commander and defender of the city of Messina during the French siege (Sicilian Evenings)] and, particularly, on the games to chess played with the emir Margan Ibn Sebir, also he incarcerated in the castle of Matagrifone (Messina).

      The tragic history of Macalda Scaletta,
the first Sicilian woman chessplayer
  Opening curtain
Backdrop: jail.
To the right a cover torn that it serves as bed.
Macalda is standing to the centre of the stage.
  Speaker with declamatory voice:   This is the tragic history
of a baroness without glory.
Her name is Macalda,
a beautiful but unlucky woman.
She was done prisoner in the castle of Matagrifone
in the tower of King Richard, Lion-heart.  
  Macalda draws near to the window and looks far.
  Speaker with declamatory voice:   She waits for the return of her husband,
she looks at the sea,
she waits for Alaimo that he must come back.
She looks out,
she looks at the sea,
she waits for her husband in the hope that he can save her.
  Macalda:   Beautiful Scaletta, beautiful Ficarra, beloved my lands,
what I have made badly, why I have lost to you without to fight?
The weeping doesn't give benefit,
doesn't give benefit the complaints.

Ever cursed the pleasant Spanish King,
cursed the bandit French King,
cursed the traitorous barons,
accursed and all liars.
  Closing curtain  
  Opening curtain  
  The jail of the Arabic Prince. The emir is sat in the way of the Turk on a rich pillow and he has a chessboard
in front of him. Macalda enters.
  The Emir:   Thanks for being come. I greet you with respect beautiful baroness and slandered.
  Macalda:   I greet you, Emir, I am not anymore a baroness unluckily but a poor treat woman.
  The Emir:   I see you sad, afflicted and emaciated.
I have made to come to play a game to chess.
  Macalda:   And I have come to make you happy,
for the our common pastime.
  Macalda looks at the jail of the Emir.
  Macalda:   For you a beautiful cover that seems a tapestry,
I have a cover that seems a miserable straw mattress.
For me there is only water, a crust of bread and two cardonis without taste.
For you, there is instead fresh bread, oranges, wine and dainty foods.
You are treated with all the honours,
I stay there up to die in this jail.
You can go out of jail with a ransom in money,
for me this possibility doesn't exist.
  Macalda kneels in front of the chessboard.
  Macalda:   We make this game to chess
between Sicilians and Saracens,
we see what these braves paladins
moves and attacks for the first.
  The game starts.
  Macalda:   In this art of the chess we have learned from you Arabs,
we are by now strong and don't have rivals.
Move the tower and then the bishop,
I will give you check with my knight.
Your king has not moves anymore,
I warn you, the game is about to end.
  The Emir:   Dear and beautiful baroness you are wrong,
I capture your queen that has fought as a lioness.
  Macalda:   You watch out, I move my tower now,
I capture your queen.
  The Emir:   I escape into the angle.
  Macalda:   You cannot go too far.
I move my bishop,
it is my executioner.
Here it is, in front of your king.
Tremble, Emir, we are now at the rendering of accounts.
  Macalda raises a triumphant hand.
  Macalda:   I cut the beautiful crowned head
of your king of wood.
  Speaker, with declamatory voice:   Macalda gives him check, she gives check to the Emir,
Macalda wins the first game.
  The Emir:   You are too much able in this ancient art,
but I want to play another game.
I put to place all the pieces,
and so we see if the fate of my soldiers changes.
  They restart to play. Two, three games.
  Speaker, with declamatory voice:   Macalda gives him checkmate, she gives checkmate to the Emir,
Macalda wins all the games.
  Two guardians enter.
  A guardian, turning to the Emir:
  Emir, your ransom has been paid,
you are free.
You can return to your country,
a boat is ready for the travel in sea.
  Macalda and the Emir get up standing.
  Macalda:   I am happy for you,
at least you don't have enemies, no more.
Instead I still stay chained,
King James has not freed to me.

The Emir:

  I leave you my chessboard,
so that you can still play and to remember our games.
  Macalda and the Emir are greeted. The Emir goes out accompanied by the guardians.
  Closing curtain    
  Opening curtain    
  Macalda is again in her jail, near the window and looks far.
  Speaker, with declamatory voice:   When the Emir came free, Macalda stayed alone.
She stayed alone inside the jail, without consolation.
From the window look the sea,
she waits for her husband who must return.
But her husband cannot return anymore, he cannot save her.
Within a sack he has been thrown to sea,
her husband is dead as a traitor.

The weeping doesn't give benefit,
doesn't give benefit the complaints.
  Macalda:   Beautiful Scaletta, beautiful Ficarra, my beloved lands,
what evil I have made, why I have lost to you and must leave you?
  Macalda go away from the window and advances up to the centre of the stage.
  Macalda:   This body is cold and without heat by now, I can close the curtain of all of my loves.
  Macalda falls to the ground.
  Speaker, with declamatory voice:
  She died in the jail, the Sicilian woman chessplayer,
protagonist of the history of the chess.
Her history must be remembered.
We don’t have to forget Macalda,
the first woman chessplayer,
of this beautiful country, the beautiful tormented Sicily.

Closing curtain




Carmelo Coco

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