Session Two: July 16 – July 30, 2014

Teaching Artists: Chen Alon, Roberto Varea, Jessica Litwak,
Enrico Casagrande & Daniela Nicolo (Motus)

Workshop Descriptions.

The Polarized Theatre of the Oppressed (Chen Alon)

The workshop offers a set of tools for a “Polarized Theatre of the Oppressed Model” that integrates theatrical and social work processes between two polar (actual and imagined) communities. The theory and practice of a polarized Theatre of the Oppressed has relevance for every polarized society or community, and the fieldworkers working with them.

By challenging the homogenous models of social theatre and the Theatre of the Oppressed, the workshop proposes alternative ways of thinking and acting together. The Polarized Model posits that the use of theatre is fundamental for an understanding of the creation, development, and preservation of the social power relations between polar groups; and that the representation of both individuals and their “Rainbow of Identities”, materializes and enables an actual visibility of the power relations, and enhances the transformative potential of the two sides. The workshop offers an examination, deconstruction, and reconstruction of the social relationships as power relations, by means of a theatrical process that considers the unique political connections and context of specific communities. The workshop aims to examine the potential inherent in the theatrical processes and events for development of a dialogue on non-violence, while establishing political-activist alliances, with the aim of acting to change the reality.

The Polarized Model was developed in the last decade in projects that Chen documented and comprehended as the task of Joker-as-ethnographer (in addition to theatre artist and director, facilitator, teacher, political leader) with polarized groups from a variety of Israeli and Palestinian sectors, with prisoners, drug addicts, homeless people, as well as in additional conflict zones around the world.

Cartographies for Socially Engaged Performance (Roberto Varea)

This studio workshop will focus on techniques developed to engage social issues, and/or work with vulnerable/marginalized populations, in the making of a performance piece. Students will compose tableaus, vignettes, and short scenes with one another, using tools and exercises based on collective creation principles ranging from how to make a space safe for the expression of the unsafe, to dialogical processes that challenge the notion of individual creative ownership. Together, students will define territory of social engagement, draw their own maps,cross borders, and chart a generative journey that honors personal and collective imagination, discovery, and praxis.

Working with H.E.A.T., Performance For Personal and Social Change (Jessica Litwak)

H.E.A.T. is an acronym for Healing, Education, Activism and Theatre, it is a method of theatre work with include techniques from Drama Therapy (healing) Applied Theatre (education) Performance and Peacebuilding (activism) and Three Paradigm Acting (theatre). This workshop is a dynamic group exploration of the theories and the practices that appertain to performance for personal and social change.  In this workshop we will explore how devised, classical, contemporary, and ritual forms of performance can support communities and individuals in conflict.  We will examine the theoretical aspects of the work including Moral Imagination, Paradoxical Curiosity, Art of Inquiry, and Conflict Transformation.We will learn tools and theories for work with specific populations. We will learn practice the Voice Progression ( a vibrant and effective vocal and physical warm up) Creative Voicing (performative writing) Character Development, and Puppetry. We will build short solo and group pieces: useful, generous, and provocative art that serves.

Land guage: A workshop on Documentary Theatre (Enrico Casagrande & Daniela Nicolo (Motus))

Stories happen only to those who are able to tell them, someone once said. In the same way, perhaps, experiences present themselves only to those who are able to have them. (Paul Auster)

What characterizes our theatre practice is the continuous attempt to combine on stage classical texts, like Sophocles’s Antigone (rewritten by B. Brecht) or W. Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with topics, questions and compelling needs from the sociopolitical reality of our time. How do you find the right balance? What does research on the field for a documentary mean and imply? How do you transform materials collected from encounters, video and audio interviews, and soundscapes into alive elements for the stage? How do you create a dramaturgy of the present? What is Documentary Theatre? These are the topics that we would like to approach and develop with the directors and actors taking part in the workshop… It is our intention to divide the work in two parts. The first will be more theoretical; with the help of video materials, fragments of scripts and photos, we will introduce our poetics and, analyzing parts of our artistic path, we will develop a conversation on contemporary theatre and its effective possibilities of interacting with reality and giving a voice to those who do not have one… A second part of the workshop will be dedicated to a series of individual or collective actions in Spoleto: interviews, maps, psychogeographic drifts, small actions in public areas, encounters with “defining characters” living the streets of Spoleto which, we are sure, will surprise us. Our initial inspiration will be provided by Paul Auster and his extraordinary and philosophical descriptions of his characters’ long walks, as well as by Sophie Calle and Paul Auster’s Gotham Handbook, on which we are currently working at La Manufacture, the High Level school for actors in Lausanne.


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