These three days of residency have been incredibly dense, intense and revealing. Incredibly so.
After our first read through on Tuesday morning, we focused on improvisations to start grounding the emotional turning points of the text, and on costume, set and overall production concepts. The improvisation exercises all started on the basis of text quotes which I retained central to the understanding of the emotional understanding and exploration of the central character Cesca. We improvised indoors on finding her inner voice on Liz Swados’s exercises, with little ceramic stones to start playing on set and music elements, and outdoors in the middle of oaks and green grasses! Giovanna’s incredible dedication, openness and emotional and physical generosity with this text, together with the energy of La MaMa Umbria’s wonderful setting, has allowed to dig full figure into the complexities of Cesca: her restlessness, her rage, her need to stop at least this one man, her capacity to still recognize the human being in this person whom she hates… At the same time, Mia, Andrea and Giulia’s constant presence has given us a wonderful, constant support in our exploration, providing questions, answers, sounding boards, suggestions, conceptual translations.
It really feels like a true gift to be a part of such a present and committed company. It is a gift to be able to develop the human and the artistic maturity to confront myself with gifted and experienced artists. To have the opportunity to dive guts, head and body first into such a complex process, to try to articulate how the strength of such a powerful text can join hands with my personal philosophy of deep human beauty (and inner honesty) as antidote to the world’s desires….
Yesterday, in the morning, we pulled all of this work together during our second read through, which became much more of a first run through, in a way. That’s how deeply Giovanna dug into her emotional and physical journey. This second read through uncovered all of our reservations about the text, about its directedness and its possible unilateralism. Right after it, we started the biggest discussion we have had so far; it lasted pretty much all day, under different covers (company discussion, author-photographer discussion, costume designer-director explorations, costume designer-video artist-director skype conversations…), and has truly revealed our own grey zones and stereotypes about violence against women, gender roles, violence in general.
I believe that this is central to our work. Only through these discussions will we be able to truly construct meaningful work. Artistically, but most importantly, humanly. I feel confused, maybe a little lost – I am still looking for the dramatic articulation points of this piece and, surprisingly, I am not scared of saying it. I look forward to seeing how all of this unfolds. From risk, uncertainty and compromises.