Tuesday, December 26, 2006

RIP Daniele Perna (the elder)
No, not the famous one. I met ‘Mr Dan’ exactly 10 years ago when I was reviewing theatre for a newspaper (I’m doing something else for a different one now). He invited me to a New Year’s Eve performance of his bizarre musical of Pinocchio. I say ‘bizarre’ because towards the end it had a well-done but incongruous ballet scene. Everything good and fun about theatre people — actors, dancers, choreographers, writers, directors — applied to him and his eclectic, flamboyant and international circle of friends. Afterwards was my first of many marvellous parties he hosted in his little 1700s house in Gulph Mills, Pa., chock full of antiques and singsongs at the piano. He may have been semi-pagan in his views but Belloc would have recognised him: honouring his Italian heritage there was lots of laughter and good red wine at his house, lessons in living la dolce vita and in tolerant conservatism (something he reinforced in me). In a way it’s fitting he left this earth on Christmas Eve, one of the most joyful times of the year, I imagine with that joy as he lived his life carrying him into the hereafter to celebrate. He was probably well into his 80s.

Grazie per tutti. Deo gratias.

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