|Nicola Bonazzi and Dominique Jambert in the Cre-Actors workshop|
After seemingly endless Covid delays, and surrounded by vaccination certificates and antigen tests, we were finally able to hold the first workshop in the Cre-Actors project, run through our Irish company, in the last week of July. I couldn't have wished for a better return to the world of live theatre-making: not only were we able to gather in a large intercultural devising group, we were on the main stage of La Cartouchrie, working with actors from the great Théâtre du Soleil itself. In the image above, you can see Nicola Bonazzi, from the Teatro dell'Argine in Bologna, working in a costume from their legendary production of LES ATRIDES. We were able, quite literally, to cover ourselves with the great theatrical tradition of this remarkable troupe. It was deeply refreshing and restorative to reconnect with theatrical tradition, sensing a continuity and a dedication that has survived the rupture. It was, in the fullest sense, a week in the sun.
The Soleil is famously a company which bases its work in mask; in the traditional forms of Asian theatre and commedia, in which the mask is a sacred object that carries the spirit of a pre-existing character. While we made little use of actual masks in this workshop, there were costumes involved from the very beginning, as well as music in every improvisation, often used as the stimulus for the scenario. The workshop leaders, Dominique Jambert and Vincent Mangado, also made use of the framework from THE TEMPEST as a stimulus to creativity, and I suppose that was like another mask - another tradition of theatre to inform our creativity.
There will be other posts about this week on the Cre-Actors blog, and detailed discussions of the methodology in the project e-book next year. But at this point, I simply feel a desire to celebrate a return to theatre-making, and to express the joy of being part of the traditions that come together on the Cartoucherie stage. It is fun. It is holy. It is political. It is community.