Radio Lessons #110 – The Lady Who Saved Venice
Venice is one of Italy’s holiday hotspots, a dream destination. Bustling canals filled with water taxis passing beautiful architecture, stunning glass shops on quaint islands, and cafes brimming with espresso sippers and perfect pastries. But, it wasn’t always quite as tourist-friendly.
Bajamonte Tiepolo was unhappy with the Serenissima Government of 1310, so he did what any self-respecting, rebellious nobleman would do – he plotted to overthrow it. Tiepolo marched on Venice towards ruler Doge’s Palace on June 15 and almost made it to St Mark’s Square before his plans of mutiny were foiled by a little old lady.
Mrs. Giustina, an elderly, life-long resident of the city, was puzzled (and annoyed) by the noise coming from the street below. She leaned over her balcony to see a hostile but small army. Quite by accident, she dropped a mortar she was holding and killed the flagbearer and several of the soldiers. The explosion saw the rest of the group flee in terror and the attack was thwarted. Just like that.
Now, this story poses many questions including how did she get a mortar and why was she holding it on a Monday afternoon – but we’ll leave that to historians to work out.
A little old lady inadvertently dropped a mortar and saved Venice. No amount of planning could have seen that scenario play out like that, and sometimes history smiles on the unintended.
Do you leave room for that kind of magic?
Some shows can work so hard on a bit that it simply loses its soul through an over-structured approach. Yes, you can prep TOO much. Preparation is vital – knowing who is leading the break, having audio ready to add showbiz and bring it to life, planning a couple of lines for potential jokes that could be highpoints, forming a social media angle to extend the bit online, etc – BUT – giving yourself room to let the bit just be. Organically. Allowing room for unexpected pivots, new directions, perhaps better comedic lines, and potentially even more fun.
Prep hard. Be thorough. Be disciplined in your approach to planning each show split into 30 or 60-minute blocks. Grant yourself permission to go off-script when a moment is catching fire. Oh and never, ever piss off Granny