Loud stomping resounds from the theatre: the participants of Maria Porter and Raquel Carrio's workshop are giving a demonstration and this is the Suzuki part. I am missing it, to wash some clothes and write this post - it's not possible to see and do everything at Transit, we have to miss some things when the programme packs 5 performances and several presentations into each day. We don't come to Transit to sleep, that's for sure - but we do have to wash our clothes and sometimes take a pause to try and digest everything before we can take more in.
As usual the performances have been diverse and rich, and the presentations thought-provoking and inspiring; the theme of "risk - crisis - invention" has resulted in many interesting discussions (and perhaps attracted a few crises as well!). There is a sense of urgency and often the work and presentations address protest, dissent, activism; we talk about the new feminism, human rights, evironmental issues, reproduction, rape, violence. Julia has dedicated the festival to Erica Ferrazza, a young Italian actress who was killed by her husband last year; on the day I arrive we learn of the death of Franca Rame, and a few days later we are shocked by the violent murder of the Brasilian actor Augusto Omolu. But there are also birthdays to be celebrated, and joyful reunions, and this year several children and babies are present. Life and death walk hand in hand, in theatre and in reality.
My little notebook is filling with scrawled notes:
Something simple (Gilly)
Nothing is possible (Cristina)
I can't drink this cool-aid anymore (Maria)
Helen - shake the people up
Julia is afraid that words will kill - "to invent is also to lie"
Dijana - continue because don't know anything else - not invention; opposite of invention? to be needed; art/theatre allows contradictions to live together
Patricia - culture is made from answers to crises
Jill - crisis a result of denial
Cristina - "I have more past than future"
During some of the talks I sit beside Patricia Ariza and as she listens, she absent-mindedly creates a small plait in her hair, then unweaves it with the fingers of one hand; I'm reminded of my mother's similar habit of repeatedly tying and untying a knot in her hair with the fingers of one hand - a quiet, constant, unconscious weaving and unweaving that always accompanied her reading. And I think of her mother, my grandmother, who would have so loved this gathering of strong women from all over the world to speak about the things that must be spoken about, that must be changed. Yet in the work I am part of this time at Transit, we are playing, experimenting, not trying to speak about something; here's another of those contradictions - it's important to use our work to speak about these things that must be spoken about, but it's also important to sometimes have the luxury of time to explore, of experimentation without the pressure of outcome ... time to wash our clothes and then stop, completely, and sit for a moment in the sun.