Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rehearsing with the Roma

O Patrin, the Participation and Learning project for the Origins Festival, is in rehearsal, and starts touring schools next week. I went in to see them yesterday. Dan, from the Roma Company, has written and is directing the piece, and he's working with two Roma performers and one non-Roma who seems very knowledgeable! Gabrielle from Polygon is also in the room, and a movement director. One of the Roma performers, Sarah, is a very accomplished musician, so the piece is full of song and dance. Lovely to see that this work, like the pieces we create directly ourselves, follows our aesthetic of combining non-naturalistic theatre forms with the more "real" scenes.

The production is a response to the workshops which Dan and the company did with the visiting First Nations companies during the Festival. What's great is that the piece doesn't become didactic about this - the contributions are there in poetry, movement and music, making the Roma experience resonate with others, but they are not overtly stated. When Roma performers speak a piece of text by a Maori ("A spiritual thread binds us together"), then the resonance is so powerful that there is no need to explain it. In any case, the show will be followed by a workshop, so the schools' audience will be able to get directly involved in the debates, which makes it all the more exciting to work by stealth rather than statement.

On the Travellers' Times Blog, there is an article which points up the parallels between the indigenous Australian experience and that of Roma people in the UK. It's by the Roma journalist Jake Bowers, who has often pointed up these similarities of experience.

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