Joan Schirle


Rest in joy
dearest Joan

February 4, 2022

They arrived today
on a wooden canoe on the Mad River
They suddenly appeared on the crisp water
skillfully stirring on the current

They left the canoe by the bridge
and they are now walking in the streets of Blue Lake

Isabella Andreini is leading the company

We heard the news
she says with a smile
We are here for Joan
We are here to take her with us

Zanni is cursing and swearing
hiding his face behind his furry eyebrows

Arlecchino is jumping around
hopping his sadness away

Sta’ fermo !
Brighella shouts at him
Be quiet!
He’s holding a bottle of Carlo Rossi in his hand
and a barrel of tears in his belly

Colombina is humming a joyful tune
to push back her tears
It was such a joy and an honor
to be serving you Joan

Il Dottore is composing a tirata
Ludum vincit mortem
Play conquers death
Joanna pulcherrima est

Il Capitano is hitting the clouds with his sword
Yo soy, Yo soy, Yo soy…
so lost without you Joan

Pantalone is speechless
holding his head in his hands
No xe vero
It can’t be true
Not yet, not you, not now
C’est pas vrai Ostia!

The Innamorati are sobbing in tunes
I love you so much Joan !
I love you more !
Not as much as me !

Even Menato is here
He jumped off from another century
cursing loudly in his wild Paduan dialect
Putana mo’ del vivere
Damn bitchy life
Prima Carletto e desso ti
First Carlo and now you Joan
You still had so many scenes in the show!
Damn it!

Far in the distance
the Redwoods are weeping
and the Ocean is more pacific than ever

the magnificent Isabella Andreini from Padua
orders everybody to stop in front of Dell’Arte

Joan is there
dressed in white
with her suitcase full of masks
and her witty blue eyes wider than the sky

She stands at the door of that vessel full of dreams
known as Dell’Arte
the magnificent gem
she carried in her body and soul
for decades of poetic joy

I am ready
she says
It is a little too soon
but I am ready
It has been an honor and a joy
to serve the Muses with your masks

She is smiling

Isabella walks towards Joan
and gently bows in front of her
The two women are standing there
in silence
they are whispering thank you

Two pillars of beauty and rigor
opera and joy
They are hugging each other
holding the universe in between their hearts

I died giving birth to my eighth child
Isabella says
You have lived giving birth
to a multitude of artists and poets
and to countless acts of joy
play, rigor and beauty

On behalf of all of the Masks
I thank you Joan

And I wish you Happy Birthday

Everybody is crying
the Masks, the birds, the clouds, the sky
the hills, the trees, the wind
and the Mad River
today madder than ever

And all the people of Blue Lake
and beyond
gathered here for Joan’s birthday
All the hearts she touched
and the countless masks who came into existence
under her caring fierce witty eyes

Brighella comes bobbing towards them
Carlo is waiting for you with Prosecco
You two have a lot to catch up on

Colombina picks up the suitcase
with a skip and a giggle
It’s time to go now

And Joan followed Isabella and the Masks
on their way back to the Mad River
They took a long time to leave
walking through her birthday party
There were so many hugs to give
tears to dance
and goodbyes to sing

And that’s how Joan left Blue Lake
in the company of the Masks
on her birth day
on a winter morning of Twenty Twenty-Two

They walked to the Mad River
and their canoe floated away
into the ocean and beyond…

Joan Schirle Obituary

Joan Schirle – Dell’Arte Website

Joan Schirle: The Ascent of a Legend , on American Theatre

A video link: Arlecchino Appleseed—How Carlo Mazzone Clementi Brought Commedia dell’arte to the New World—July 7, 2015 Blue Lake, CA

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