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 TABOO
 

Description of the project:

This was the continuation/conclusion of the research-project between the 5 Nordic ASSITEJ centres and the Latin American centres. The Pilot project (KOMPO702-0744) in Caracas 2008 initiated research "branches" in Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Helsinki, Buenos Aires and Cuba.
Once we got the positive answer from KKnord we started to fit the activity to the resources: The artistic part was not changed but the number of Nordic participants had to be reduced The Brazilian host too had reduced resources.
As this was a continuation of the workshop in Caracas and it’s smaller branches, the Rio de Janeiro event united successfully the experience of the Caracas- family and new professionals from the field. The call was open but the Caracas -people was in priority: Cristina Gottfridsson, Vigdis Jakobsdottir and Anne Lihavainen were chosen first. Dirk Barker from Denmark had been in Cuba workshop, Vigdis Masdottir had been at the Reykjavik workshop, Zusan Soderstrom followed the work in Helsinki and Elisabeth Helland Larsen from Norway was the only newcomer. All the Nordic centres made an open call for theatre practitioners with experience in TYA theatre and sent a list to the coordinators who made the final choice in the frame of the budget. The decision on Nordic participants was discussed in the Nordic ASSITEJ meeting in Reykjavik in September.
The Latin members of Caracas family were Dewis Duran from Venezuela, Gabriel Maccio Pastorini from Uruguay, Solange Perrazzo and Carla Rodriguez from Argentina and Paolo Merisio from Brazil. Daniel Fermandez (Argentina) had been in the Cuba workshop. The other 10 Brazilians had interest and experience in the field. With leaders, hosts and coordinators there were 23 theatre people working in Rio de Janeiro during one week.

Working schedule in Rio5. -12.12.2010:
On Monday 6.12.there was the first meeting and in the afternoon a workshop with Brazilian teenagers who gave the themes and ideas for the working week.
On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the artists worked from 9.30 am to 6 pm at the University on how to stage these Taboo-themes. Every day the groups were mixed again and they developed or changed the scenes and techniques of the previous version.
On Wednesday evening there was an open forum at the University. Some 50 local theatre students and artists saw some scenes made in the workshop and then they’re as a short presentation of the background of the project and a vivid discussion about theatre and taboos and the real life of young people.
On Friday afternoon the young reference-group came to see the results of the workshop and gave critics and applause. On Saturday the artists had a final discussion about their feelings and new ideas from the workshop. General opinion was very positive: it had been a very fruitful experience, new ideas, confirmation of old ones, and biggest of all, meeting of new professional people with very different background. Unfortunately there were no interpreters to help; sometimes it took a longer time to understand the working ideas of others.

Copenhagen 25.5:
The project was presented in the ASSITEJ world congress (1500 theatre people from all around the world)
It was in the official ASSITEJ International Forum –program on 25.5.2011. Some 80 people attended the Forum on Taboos.
The presentation started with a scene about Death created in the first workshop in Caracas and it had travelled through many workshops and presentations in the project. It was performed by Anne Lihavainen, Jorge Padin (Caracas family) Vigdis Jakobsdottir and Robert Sjöblom.
Vigdis presented the whole project with the PowerPoint (annex) other participants of the project gave their impressions and memories: How children expressed in different ways the things they are not to say aloud? The public shared their views and experience and African and Asian participants were eager to know more about the future possibilities to participate. As ASSITEJ International shelters the workshop project it will continue to be present at the new ASSITEJ international meetings that will be organized every year.

How we succeeded:
The aims given in the application of this last project were they fulfilled?

a) To put together the experience of the previous - not totally, but the work goes on.
b) To practice with new participants the best methods created - YES
c) To get a Brazilian perspective about taboos working with schools as reference group. YES
d) To consolidate the international co-operation and launch work to be presented and discussed at the world congress of ASSITEJ International in Malmoe -Copenhagen (0511) YES.
But the most important we learned is to listen to the children and young people:

As a 6-year-old girl had said in a workshop: if you feel very dark inside, open your mouth and let the light in!

Use of the grant:
Rio de Janeiro:
We paid the fees and the travel costs of the artistic leaders of the workshop, Robert Sjöblom and Carlos de Urquiza. Also the flight tickets of the co-ordinators were paid.
One participant from each country got the flight ticket paid, the second ones had to pay part of the ticket themselves.
Copenhagen: we paid a per diem for four presentators of the project, who were not delegates at the congress. We also bought memory sticks for the main partners and saved photo and text material on them.

The publicity of the project:
The call for the workshop was announced to all ASSITEJ members in the Nordic countries. This time Norway participated too. The project was presented to ASSITEJ International at several occasions and the participants wrote reports to the National centres and the Nordic web pages. Anne Lihavainen´s report was published in the Finnish ASSITEJ News magazine that was given out at the Congress. The Caracas workshop initiated many new activities and it has interested many theatre people around the world. The results will be discussed in the European project that will present to the Culture program in autumn 2011. There are some plans of creating productions together with the Latin Americans in the frame of ASSITEJ. The support of KKnord has always been mentioned with appreciation.

The PowerPoint and some photos will be sent to KKnord
To finish with, here are some extracts of feedback from Rio:
The Nordic and Latin American artists worked well together. There was a feeling of concentration and joy of work. The ideas came up and were accepted and turned up to innumerable versions (KM) The teenagers appreciated most of the scenes and were very direct and straightforward in their different feedback about what they had seen.
My general opinion after watching the scenes and listening to what the audience said is, that we – as artists- can and should dare to be more explicit and not so afraid of doing artistic work about hidden and troublesome themes.
There were moments on stage that were really strong and magic and these moments conveyed that there are true artistic ways of approaching taboo themes and by doing that also give support to children and young people.
I think all of us could feel the impact (and difficulties) of exploring the taboo of the adolescents’ world.
Not only to understand younger persons ways of thinking but also discover our own taboos while working. It is a real challenge for a contemporary theatre to deal with these themes.
The keywords in this process should be: sincerity, knowledge, braveness, and a great portion of artistic skill and smartness. (RS)
Sammanfattningsvis kan sägas att de kulturella mötena är ytterst värdefulla. Vi har många gemensamma tabun – vi är överens om väldigt mycket – som att incest är tabu, döden, övergrepp i alla former, ämnen som är svåra att gestalta och svåra att sälja in på skolor och hos föräldrar. Men det är värt att notera vissa skillnader som är konsekvenser av hur vi förhåller oss till religionen i protestantiska, sekulariserade Skandinavien jämfört med de Ibero-amerikanska ländernas katolska värdegrund och kulturella bagage. (CG) Arbejdsmetoden var interessant, og skabte stærke scener og synsvinkler på temaet undervejs i forløbet – også selvom den ønskede udvikling af materialet ikke altid var givet. De unge var på sidste dagens fremvisning åbne og positive overfor resultatet af vores arbejde og mente generelt at stykkerne ville kunne vises både for deres jævnaldrende og i den brasilianske offentlighed. Der var dog nogen tvivl mht. et enkelt af stykkerne, det om religion og pædofili – en påmindelse om, at den katolske kirke stadig har en del magt og indflydelse i Brasilien! (DB)


Clearly the workshop encourages us to reflect about our own creation, and about the other ones and of course the children. What can we say, how can we say it, what is interesting for our audiences, what could hurt them, what about the self-censorship and about our own taboos? (MIF)


Many thanks to help us to make this all happen
Katariina Metsälampi

Bengt Andersson


 

ASSITEJ Sweden
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ASSITEJ Sweden, Kaplansbacken 2, 112 24 Stockholm/ Tel 08-659 86 33/ E-post: info@assitej.se