Wednesday, 24 April 2013 18:04

ETC Spring Tour, day 5: Of Driving Jails and Flying Ideas

Written by Ioana Burtea

When we saw the programme of the theatre tour – the eight cities, seven days deal – we started thinking about a deadline when everyone would explode. Most of us thought day three was a sensible day to explode on as it was the hardest: the group attended two plays in two different countries (Germany and Switzerland). However, we turned out to be unexpectedly disciplined and the exhaustion only took over on day five. And even then, we managed to turn it into something creative and positive. Here's what happened.

On the way to Maribor (Slovenia), two of our travel buddies staged a short play on the bus. Anne, who is a playwright in Berlin, wrote the script and Gina, an actress from Romania, performed as one of the characters. The moment was particularly inspiring because it was the first time that a part of the group came together to create something after witnessing all the big talks and seeing all the different plays. The topic of the play was borders and how they influence people's lives – especially when borders separate a family. This is something quite common nowadays in Europe, with free movement enabling people to go from one place to the other. However, what does this do to the individual? How does it influence his/her ties to family and origins in general? This is one of the social realities that European theatre could and should address. Everyone on the bus felt quite strongly that the moment Anne and Gina created was one of the most relevant and debate-prompting of the whole tour. Everyone was also left speechless for a number of minutes as we thought about what we should do or say next.

Photo: Ioana Burtea
What's it like to stage a play in a bus?

The answer came from Daniel, who is a videoartist in Dortmund. He suggested – and we all approved – that if we keep running around from one city to another and just focus on staying awake until the end, this tour would be a waste. We've been under an incredible amount of pressure and we've been trapped together in our Driving Jail for several days now, so it's been very difficult to sink in what we've been seeing on theatre stages or to clarify the questions we were left with after debates. We all had topics we wanted to discuss in more depth or questions that remained unanswered because of the lack of time.

The alternative Daniel proposed was to use the hours spent on the bus, driving from one city to another, to talk together as a group and address these issues. Furthermore, we agreed that since we've been lucky enough to be part of such a diverse and creative collective – poets, playwrights, journalists, theatre directors and actors – we should continue our collaboration after the tour ends. What we intend to do in these last days is to take some time to really think about what where we could start – Create a platform for collaboration in theatre? Make a project? Get involved in each other's existing projects? -, what key issues we want to tackle and how we can help each other achieve our professional goals. Maybe Anne and Gina could stage the play they began developing, Daniel could help with the visual arts, Ivor could help with the research and I could write a review of the final product or contribute with my writing skills in some way. We are convinced everyone has a part to play. The fact is, after this intense tour we will be the lucky possessors of certain knowledge about the state of the European theatre, the differences at a national level, the themes that are being addressed (and those which are ignored), so we will be able to create something from an unusually informed perspective. What is painfully clear is that if we don't act and continue what we've started here, our efforts on this tour will have been for nothing.

After making this very passionate decision to work together, we arrived in the picturesque city of Maribor in Slovenia, where we saw a performance of Dangerous Liaisons. The topic on everyone's minds was our earlier discussion on the bus, though. As we called it a night, we decided we would start thinking about options for us on the following morning, on the way to Bratislava. What followed and the course of action that we took will only be revealed to you if you keep an eye on E&M for the diary of day six.

Two more days of the ETC Spring Tour and our wonderful journey in the Driving Jail will come to an end. Hopefully, this hectic week will only be the beginning of several beautiful friendships.

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 18:39

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