Monday, 1 October 2018

Martial: Blood and Sand

If you're in Rome at all this month, can I recommend to you a date after dark at the Colosseum?

Sangue e Arena is a spectacular and thoughtfully designed multimedia show, playing three times a night on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays till the end of the month. Last performance is on Saturday 27th. It's son-et-lumière with all the modern ingenuities and a coherent script, taking full advantage of the space -- you will never see the Colosseum's interior in the same way again.

You book online in advance; when you turn up, go to the side of the amphitheatre opposite the usual tourist entrance (the signage won't tell you this, and the ticket office is laid-back in that Italian way). The stated running time is 30 minutes but by my reckoning you get a little more, plus the chance to linger afterward in the atmospherically lit heart of the Flavian Amphitheatre.

The videos on YouTube can't capture the experience of being there with all this amazing and beautiful stuff happening around you, but this one gives a bit of the flavour, and illustrates how the projected images mix re-enactment by modern actors with mosaics brought to life (and in the sea-battle, Greek vase images). It could be dreadful. It isn't.

And your narrator for your night at the Games is... Martial, reading selections from his Book of Shows! It's a tiny bit hokey, maybe, and the English translation doesn't always render everything that's in the Italian, but overall: wow.

It's a bit dear, but do go, if you can. And let me know what you think!

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