Summer is festival season so we’ve no reason to be sitting at home stuck on front of a screen and yet here I am once again on my own staring at my words staring back at me.
We’ve worked as part of the technical team at the most intimate and friendly festival in Italy Il Giardino delle Esperidi and then on to Avignon. So we’ve seen the intimate and chaotic up close. Rubbed shoulders with the stars and seen how things come together behind the scenes and believe you me theatre is an artistic journey not to be taken lightly. The labour that goes into the leisure industry: the crews, the technology, the time and money makes me wonder if theatre the most spiritual of artistic practice hasn’t been tainted by materiality and monetary concerns.
It’s hard to imagine the brilliant work of a group like Rimini Protokoll without a tsumani of technology to support their documentary theatre and yet that is the task we’ve got to set ourselves if we’re going to create a festival that addresses environmental issues, the breakdown of communication in our families and communities due to the increasing presence of modern gadgetry.
I’s sure Rimini will forgive me for mentioning them as their multi-media work holds a mirror up to humanity and their use of everyday people on stage paints a picture of our reality few capture so intelligently.
However it was the groups who work out of the black box like Scarlattine Teatro and Other Spaces that really left a lasting impression on me. Scarlattine’s In-Boscati seemed like a gift froms the gods for me as everything seemed to connect with my midsummer journey to Italy. Not only was I fortunate enough to have met Michele Losi at IETM in the Spring in Dublin, the co-artistic director of Scarlattine who invited me to work as a volunteer at their festival but I also got to see this site-specific promenade performance about Theseus and the Minotaur.
Shakespeare’s Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
This is connected with a line of philosophical inquiry at the heart of my own autoethnographic and epistomological journey in the study of humanity that has had me wading and weaving my way through matter that I hope we will eventually emerge from enlightened and free like Theseus from the labyrinth and return triumphantly to do the dance of the crane and guided in his steps by philosophy:
When sir Arthur Evans excavated the great court at Knossos on the Island of Crete, the court of king Minos he discovered mural paintings the depicted young Greek boys, hurtling over bulls, in tasks that were at once ritualistic and dangerous.
The bull is a significant feature in mythology. It was only after king Minos’ exacted tribute against the Greeks, which called for young Greek boys and girls to be sacrificed annually at Crete that Theseus was sent to kill the bull, the Minotaur who was consuming these young Athenians and in the process of killing the bull he freed Athens from a burden it bore.
For Theseus to get to the Minotaur had to solve the puzzle of the great Labyrinth that no one who entered it could find his or her way out of. He was able to do so because Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos gave him a golden cord by which he could retrace his steps from the very depths of the Labyrinth and return having killed the Minotaur. Myths are an endless source of metaphor, and the cord of Ariadne is an apt metaphor for history: We solve a problem or a puzzle by retracing the steps that got us there in the first place. Our guide through the history of humanity is recorded and represented from ancient Greece to the 21st century in the history of theatre.
The Nonprophet festival’s goal will be to help us retrace those steps and rediscover our humanity in the celebration of life and the beauty of living.
I think no other group that I’ve seen seem to represent this sacred space so consciously than Other Spaces whom I could tell you all about but you can only experience for yourself.
In these Fins I’ve found my way out of the labyrinth. Now all that remains for me to do is dance for you.
Latest from John Farragher
Thursday, 15 August 2013 10:01
posted by Meadhbh
Amazing festival, looking forward to next year!
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