International European Theatre Project which involves theatre companies from Spain, France, Deutschland, Ősterreich, Poland, Italy.
Conversation with Björn Potulski, Artistic Director and Project Manager.
(By Davide Crimi)
We meet Björn Potulski during the Sicilian round of the tour of the show Exodus, second step of a journey that began past week in Malta and which will continues with next steps in Wien, Munich and Warszawa. We meet him in the hall of the theatre, and he seems to be a bit worried for the delay of the date, that becomes necessary after the tempest between Malta and Sicily.
Mr. Potulski, your project seems to be interesting and ambitious and because of the simply pattern and the linear conception, really this statement seems to be well founded, with further possibility to develop the core idea. Would you explain us your concept of European Theatre Project?
Joint theatre project is really a theatre to build together. Our program got the sponsorship of several institution (Landeshauptstadt München – Kulturrenferat, Federal Ministry for European and International Affaire, Ambassade de France a Malte, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Valletta, Consolato Generale di Germania a Napoli, Ambasada Niemiec Warszawa, Embajada de Espana, Armed Forces of Malta, Ősterreiches Hospiz, Drama Centre Malta, Polnisches Institut Wien, Strickland Foundation, Alliance Française de Malte), and this allow us to get in a concrete perspective the idea of an European Theatre. So, Exodus, tell a story about life, through experience that comes form real people who are not actors but people who really lived the experience they tell on their skin and blood and bones.
This seems to be near the theatre conception that animated the idea to go beyond the barriers between actors and public, between difference in language and in culture. There are two question in this argument: the first one is: are you working in symbolic meaning of gestures, according to the anthropological tradition in theatre applications? The second one is: how do you apply the European motto “Unity in Diversity”?
About the last question, of course “Unity in Diversity” is a reference, a methodology for us.. You know, to work with different mentality, and culture, and languages, it takes a lot of energy. But the outcome rewards the strains. The other question is interesting. At the moment, we are not playing with symbols, but I understand this could be important in a further step of our work. At present time we are working up on facts.
Can we call this way to tell realism? Have you been inspired by the realism or neo-realism season in cinema and theatre of the ’50 and ’60?
Perhaps. But in a non-volunteer manner. I’m not interested in an aesthetical meaning of realism. I’m interested in real as a fact. It could be realism, but not because of a literary quotation, but because of its intimate choice to tell fact of real life. On stage there are four people that represent four different ethnical expression today living in Europe. They tell their story with passion. To communicate, of course we use subtitles, but they don’t read simply what you see on the wall: they say much more, and you discover that – even you don’t know their language, you understand over the words, you understand the meaning of what they are saying, because is true need to be hear.
The show is characterized also by a connective internet-link with a group (leaded by Maciej Adamczyk) who reports from Jerusalem. They appear through the computer video and talk to us. We would ask them about the strange line, the shifting of the wall. After 1989, when the wall was destroyed in Berlin, it re-appeared in Jerusalem in 2003.
When we talk about European Theatre Project, says Björn, we have to think if we are talking about an Europe of institution or about an Europe of citizens. The dichotomy is not but superficial, because the true fact is that institution doesn’t exist without citizens, as citizens can not reach their whole extension in freedom and emancipation without good work of institutions. The rule is that institutions have to serve citizens, not the contrary. About the shifting of the wall from Berlin to Jerusalem, as a German person, let me say that I’m for the break down of all walls, but history requires always wisdom, comprehension, awareness.
Further information about the show Exodus eand the project European Theatre: www.eurotheatre.eu.
Björn Potulski, Artistic director of the Eurotheatre project