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Letter to a Clone Manufacturer

BY GIGI GUIZADO.

Link to the event: click here.

The event on the 25th September 2021 was part of the official selection of the International Translation Day by the English PEN and the National Centre for Writing.

This is a short and semantically multi-layered play which tackles gender and power-issues in a situation set on the verge of the post Anthropocene world. In spite of the grim topic, the irony and the possible plot-twists will save us from immersing ourselves into dystopia.

The intrinsic complexity of the piece does not stop at simply tackling the stereotypes of our societies, but also mischievously plays with the possibilities of swapping roles, until the very end. The last couple of seconds are left open to the readers’/spectators’ interpretation as well.

We found it especially intriguing to have the piece translated from English into Hungarian and see how different cultures, languages, conceptions, ages, genders will affect this endless game of fascinatingly diverse interpretations.

Just a couple of questions that occurred during the English and Hungarian rehearsed readings and open discussions at the event:

  • What circumstances lead to de-humanisation?
  • How objectification reflects back on the perpetrator?
  • How our intelligence and emotional intelligence is shaped by our circumstances?
  • How AI might translate, interpret and react to our languages and feelings?
  • Will the present status quo be challenged at a certain point in the future? How? By whom?

For a full-rounded cultural and linguistic experience, we kindly advise you to watch both the Hungarian and English versions, and taste the exquisite palette of the re-framing and interpretation of the artists.

We are all looking forward to reserching further approaches, re-readings, interpretations, translations and designs of this piece.

Cast performing in English:

Daniela Cristo Mantilla and Angel Mendoza

Cast performing in Hungarian:

Éva Bandor and Ádám Tompa

Translation by: Rita Sebestyén.

Carta a un Fabricante de Clones

Following the positive responses of our International Translation Day event, also the manifold possible interpretations of the text, we managed to arrange a second event, where further gender, age, culture and language-related nuances came to the forefront.

This time we discussed how non-binary cast might affect the language and the socio-cultural representation and interpretation of the same text.

Spanish is a gendered language – along with many other Romance Languages -, where substantives and pronouns have defined binary expressions for centuries. As opposed to the English gender-neutral pronoun ‘they’, which is already existent in the language, in Spanish the ending X, with its different pronunciations, are new addenda to the common language and its use requires constant attention from the part of the speaker or writer.

We also observed how changing certain aspects and angles of the interpretation, such as cultural background, language, gender, age will always lead to certain dichotomies and power-unbalances. However, approaching the text, the situation and the characters from a more generic, non-hierarchal and de-colonial point of view, we see how any kind of othering leads to a new power-struggle, leading to a multiplication of the colonial structure. A new, all-encompassing socio-cultural structure would be needed to reframe these dichotomies into eye-level dialogues.

Cast performing in Spanish:

Adriana Chavez (she/her/they/them) and Cinthia Lilen (they/she)


Translation by: Gigi Guizado.

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if

What would you do if you could be reborn in any body at any place? What would you do if you could choose your gender? Your lifespan? From one minute to eternity? If you could choose your surroundings? Sea? Desert? Palm-trees? If you could pick the people around you? If you could build a community from scratch? What would you do with the given hardships in your society?

If you could move around four different stages of human existence – would you? If you could join us in a crossover between science, installation, performance lecture – would you? If you could save someone – would you? Whom? Yourself? Or somebody else?

IF is a cross-over genre: a participative performance using 4 interactive installations, which invite the audience into different levels of action and interaction, by choosing life-circumstances: gender, lifespan, friends, relations, society and future. A performer leads the whole game of existence, orientating the audience among the rules of the games, reacts and responds to their actions, and, at well-defined moments, acts out roles related to the 4 stages-installations-games. Participants can choose at each stage the level of their activity from watching to acting.

Duration: 90 mins.

Language: English.

TEAM:

Rita Sebestyen (RO/HU/DK): writer and director

Minni Katina Mertens (NO/DK): performer

Sara Vilardo (IT/BE/DK): performer

Ivan Wahren (SE): light and sound designer

Mira Nadina Mertens (NO/DK): dramaturge

Stine Ebbesen (DK): videos and documentation

Trine Heller (DK): graphic design 

music courtesy of Ya Tosiba

Premiere: Bådteatret (16-21 October 2017), and: Actor Training in a Globalized World (24 October 2017).

The performance is approved by the Danish Arts Fund (Statens Kunst Fond) for the communication and ticket sale scheme (billetkøbsordningen).

“As an audience member you are free to participate to the degree you wish; as such you can observe the action or take part in it by playing. It is a quirky analogy to the real world – I would, however, recommend that you, as far as possible, allow yourself to participate actively to make the most of the experience. (…) The performance is thought-provoking, exceptionally thought-provoking even. (…) I would readily recommend this little philosophical piece as it offers a great opportunity to reflect. I was entertained!” Original review in Danish by Sofie Herdorf Krøyer, scenekanten.com, 20 October, 2017.

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Research and performance details + technical rider.  By Stine Ebbesen.


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hybridspace: anthony

Anthony is a nomadic character: he travels through the texts and scenes of nine young artists, taking up different roles, adventures, genres and styles. Anthony as a common character is leading us across conceptions, settings, cultural and linguistic environments, and is weaving the nine different artistic worlds into one common, loose narrative.

The authors of the nine small stories and scenes are acting students of the special course of Creative Writing and Dramaturgy from the Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts. They represent various nationalities, cultural backgrounds, having Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Tanzanian, Danish, English, Hungarian, Serbian, Swiss, Slovenian roots. Each of them speak at least two languages, as they attend a professional acting school that uses English as a lingua franca and prepares actors for cross-cultural settings in the globalised, diverse artistic world. Through their writings and scenes they share their experiences of this cross-cultural setting, while using both English and sometimes their mother tongue to give voice to their artistic endeavours.

Those who follow the site launched for this project will take part in the experiment and joint experience that mingles creative writing for performing arts with new media.The class will share certain phases of their work: dialogues, ideas, pictures, videos on the site of this project. Also, they will be available real-time for certain given time-slots in order to connect, discuss, interact with their audience. This way, through the use of the Internet, this project creates a hybrid space that combines the real and the virtual space, and facilitates the immediacy of the experiment beyond geographical, cultural or language borders.

If you follow the page, you will be informed about the schedule of the real-time encounters with the creators, and also about the specific frames and channels they will use:

http://anthony.hoi-nielsen.com

During the TransArtation events the students will interact with the audience setting up a series of real-time experiences as follows:

  • In Scotland, between 31 March-8 April 2017 at the Byre Theatreof the University of St Andrews, the audience of the exhibition will be able to interact with them via Internet each day one hour, having the opportunity to share experiences and ideas related to the process.
  • In England, between 12 April l -6 May 2017, The Shoe Factory Social Club in Norwich, the audience will encounter the students through a site-specific conception where they will be asked to help perceiving the venue for those who cannot be present in real space.

The authors/actors:

Christopher Alexander

Fjölnir Gíslason

Henna Holländer

Daniel Høi-Nielsen

Una Kovac

Daniel Neil Ash

Giulia Rumasuglia

Sara Skei Fostvedt

Lia Tomat

Conception and lecturer: Rita Sebestyén.

 

The project is realized by:

othernessproject

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Actor training and supervision: Lars Henning, artistic director of CISPA.

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This project was launched in joint collaboration with:

TransArtation

 

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27 ways to be born

27 ways to be born is a collective drifting through stages of transition, in-between, passage.

Sensing communion and individuation, also transition states of natural/artificial, alive/lifeless, instinctual/reflective are explored together with the participants. The phase of start, initiation, and birth of a being or a process is experienced on a metaphorical level, throughout a series of mostly physical theatrical scenes that follow a simple, loose story line.

The performers invite the audience to take part in the performance according to their choice: from watching to moving, commenting, and sensing.

As an inspiration, we used birth stories collected from Africa, South-America, India, all over Europe, and always reach out and involve the local community. We speak the language of movements and senses, but also deliver shorter texts in English and some lines on the mother tongue of the performers and participants.

Trailer:

Special Thanks to:
Denis Muwanguzi (UG/SE)
Eva Perez Sanchez (ES/DK)
Ágnes Székely (RO)

Forsøgsstationen
Folketshus
Passagefestival

Photos by:
Halla Marín Hafþórsdóttir (IS/DK)

Video by:
Nefeli Kyriakidi (GR/DK)