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A suffocating reality reflecting in the theater house -Thoughts on 5th EASTAP 2022 CONFERENCE-

Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying the 5th EASTAP conference! I am a student taking part in the project of Observatoire Critique. I am supposed to be here to observe….. but, you know, critically!

I was really excited that I would have the chance to listen to a number of great theater scholars and artists. I couldn’t wait to listen to people speak about THEATER! The new tendencies in theater, the mente teatrale, the authorship, the spectator and all these important things that worry theater people day in and day out.

Monday morning, as soon as I woke up, I rushed out for a good dose of coffee, (Wow, coffee’s so cheap in Italy!), and I started my first day of the Conference. I went to Teatro Grassi, a theater full of theatrical memories where we were so well received by Eastap’s group. After my registration, I took a seat in the front row. After the first introductions, I was really enthusiastic about what would happen for these 5 days. It was all perfect…. until a specific moment…

The moment that Richard Schechner entered the scene. I was so thrilled I was seeing such an important man on stage. I was waiting for him to open the conference with critical and challenging thoughts about theater and performance today.... Instead of this, Mr Schechner started to talk about the great game of war. I was surprised! He challenged us in a different way: In order to have a future, humanity should postpone the war and deal with climate change. NOW. He sounded so pessimistic.

No art, no theater, no stories in his speech. I was really puzzled by the subject of his presentation all day long. How theater can change the world? Now? What can we do as artists and researchers to stop the war? The destruction of the planet? My perspective of the conference has changed and his speech has been stuck in my mind since then.


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Last night I had the chance to see the play of Tiago Rodriguez, ‘’Dans la mesure d’Impossible’’. The first question of the play was if performance could change the world. The thoughts after Schechner’s speech came back in my mind. Actually they’ve never gone.

The play was based on testimonies of people that work in humanitarian organizations. The testimonies were really powerful and hard to hear. The images of the war, the wounded, and the savagery and brutallity) of the soldiers shocked me so much that I couldn’t stop my tears. I felt like I COULDN’T BREATHE.

When the play was finished, I went out of the theater. There was a DJ that was playing pop music on speakers. I was there, distant, looking those people drinking beers, discussing and laughing. I was still out of breath. In that moment I remembered the poetical phrase of Gianina Carbunariu that she needs to go out of the theater room to breathe. The air of reality. I realized that what was happening right then and there, was the contrary. Everyone went out of the theater to breathe, but to breathe the air of our reality, to return in our “possible’’, safe reality. Because the air in the theater room was suffocating.

Then I realized that maybe it is better when theater makes us out of breath.


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