Anthrow Circus

MicroStories: A Venetian Screenplay



Venice in panorama as the speedboat he’s riding in approaches the dock. We then see him climb out, find his spot on the cobblestones, plant his feet, square his shoulders, and confidently look upward.


Rapunzel, Rapunzel! Let down your long hair!

Silence, save the normal sounds of lapping water and tourists. No movement is detected in the balconies above. Finally, Loverboy’s face drops. Then he squares his jaw.

LOVERBOY (muttering)

Whatever. You’re not my type anyway. Too much hair.

After a beat of reflection time, he assumes a lover’s stance, warms up his vocal cords, and ACTION!

LOVERBOY (with gusto and hands extended dramatically upward)

Juliet, Juliet! Wherefore art thou, Juliet?

Again more silence, save lapping water sounds. Even the tourists are silent now, staring, watching this scene unfold. Some have pulled out phones to record it, unsure whether they’re watching real life or rehearsals.

LOVERBOY (under his breath but with conviction and anger)

You’re probably too goth for me anyway. I just dodged a bullet.

Regrouping, he strides to the speedboat, whose driver is waiting, watching, trying to keep himself from full-out guffaws of laughter. Loverboy retrieves an old-school boombox from the boat. He returns to his spot before the balconies and raises the boombox above his head, though no music can be heard from it.

LOVERBOY (with bravado flashing from his puffed, proud chest)

Anyone, Anyone! Look down from your lofty heights and have pity on your lovelorn suitor!

Now even the waves have mysteriously stopped, and the silence is near-total, save for the quietest of whispered twittering among the growing crowd.

Finally, angrily, Loverboy lets out the frustrated, desperate scream of a wounded animal. He then pounds his body as he searches his pockets for his phone. He pulls it from his pocket.

LOVERBOY (roaring)

Venice, you’ve just scammed the wrong person! I’m canceling you!!!! Right now!!!!

The view cuts to his phone where he uploads an Instagram photo of a shining Venetian dome and then types:

#dontgotoVenice #falseadvertising #CANCELED #theylie #nogirlshere

#stupidbalconies #notaleasoldastime #arrivederciNEVER #swipeleftonItaly


Late afternoon light glints through the large windows of a room designed with Renaissance era opulence and equipped with modern lights, a computer on an ornate antique desk, and plush armchairs. Loverboy shakes hands with a businesswoman and two businessmen as one of the men hands him an envelope.


Thank you, “Loverboy.” Fine acting. Very fine.


We’ve already seen the hashtag #dontgotoVenice heading viral with all the shares of our little stunt. The tourism board and town council were right to partner on this little project to find a way besides quotas to push the tourists away.


Masterful move to make the socials help us solve the problem they created. Time for a little well-earned peace for Venetians.

They wave goodbye as Loverboy exits and then pour champagne into locally blown Murano flutes and chink glasses in celebration.

A Venice, Italy, MicroStory

A tiny fictional tale inspired by a magically miniaturized photo of a real-life place.

JC Johnson, Anthrow Circus's creative director, spends most of her time as a photography and arts instructor in Nashville, Tennessee. She is often overwhelmed with wanderlust, photographs internationally, and has a passion for travel and study abroad as both an artist and instructor. Her photographic work makes associations to childhood as well as to the nostalgic and the whimsical. Common themes in her photography include European architecture and history, fashion, travel, toys, and miniatures.

Kami Rice, Anthrow Circus’s editor, plies her insatiable curiosity from a base in northern France and from perches in coffeehouses, cafés, and friends' homes the world over. As a freelance journalist, she has reported for the Washington Post, The Telegraph, The Tennessean, Nashville Arts Magazine, and Christianity Today, among many others. Her more creative work has appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, The High Calling, and Washington Institute's Missio. Her French to English translation has been published by Éditions Beaux-Arts de Paris. She also edits manuscripts and articles for a variety of clients and loves learning about the lives of regular, real people wherever she finds herself.

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