Αυτοί οι 50 νέοι έδωσαν ένα δυνατό στίγμα με την παρουσία τους, αναγνώρισαν τη γενιά τους μέσα από τις εμπειρίες της νεότητας και από τα παγκοσμιοποιημένα ζητήματα που τους ενώνουν, μέσα από την γρήγορη και βαθιά διατύπωση της γλώσσας του θεάτρου. Μίλησαν για την καταπίεση, την αγωνία της κρίσης της Δύσης, την πιθανότητα της ευτυχίας και της προσωπικής ανάπτυξης ως μέσο αντίστασης. Όταν φύγαμε αντάλλαξαν τις social media επαφές τους και από όσο γνωρίζω, κάνουν ήδη δικτυακά σχέδια για να αλλάξουνε τον κόσμο, με επαφές, που, σε πείσμα των στερεότυπων απόψεων για την αποστασιοποίηση που δημιουργεί η ιντερνετική επαφή, είναι τόσο συχνές που συγκινούν.
Πολλοί πιστεύουν ότι το θαύμα δεν θα γίνει, ο κόσμος δεν θα αλλάξει. Δεν συμφωνώ. Σε μιαν ακρούλα μιας χώρας αλωμένης από τον αποικιοκρατία και από την αχόρταγη, ακόμα και τώρα μανία επιβολής, οι άνθρωποι συναντιούνται. Χωρίς τυμπανοκρουσίες, χωρίς δημόσιες αφηγήσεις, χωρίς να ευαγγελίζονται μια συνεχή πρωτοπορία καλούν συνέχεια και άλλους να βρούνε μια αφήγηση δική μας, νέα και κοινή. Περίπου στο μέτρο της ουτοπίας.
VISIBLY VOCAL OR YOUTH COMMUNICATION IN EUROPE
A new bridge to Utopia/ 500 words about youth theatre
We are in a small town, just an hour away from Dublin, at the edge of the main road, by the river (yes the river Liffey, so much admired by James Joyce), opposite a small park and a gothic bell tower, on the first floor of the local pub, in a building with lattice windows and a leaking roof. It is in this place that a large group of young people finds shelter from the tedium of provincial life through acting.
Kildare Youth Theatre, based in Crooked House Theatre Company, Newbridge , is located in a space which caters for itself – and is open 24 hours a day for projects, meetings, rehearsals and discussions. It offers a creative gateway and a profound artistic education to more than 200 young people aged 14 to 20 every year. Supported by the coordinating, altruistic and energetic presence of their director, Peter Hussey, these young actors appear on stage, perform plays in the schools of county Kildare, participate in the annual NT Connections festival (run by the National Theatre of Britain, during which, at the end of every school year, new and fresh theatre pieces, in which the leading actors are teenagers, are put on at the National Theatre). Kildare Youth Theatre has also presented the plays of renowned, legendary British ‘bad boys and girls, with an evident preference for Mark Ravenhill’ s plays for young performers. They also stage a Shakespearian play every year, and they write their own pieces of theatre – these pieces are devised in collaboration with artists and older members of the group who appear to have a generosity of spirit and a lack of possessiveness over the work. And every few months they find a way to turn their gaze towards other countries of Europe: this year to Norway, Greece and Spain, while Denmark, Austria and France are next. They continue to expand their network of European theatres who work well with young people. Most of the engagement with European theatres happens under the framework of the Erasmus Plus (the EU Commission’s programme Education, Training, Youth and Sport), using funding provided by the Mobility actions, particularly the Youth Exchange action. There is a good deal of beaurocracy associated with funding from this source but it nonetheless provides a huge variety of groups with opportunities to develop and learn.
It was during an exchange of this type that we met these amazing people. Our first meeting was in our beloved Kinitiras , in Easter 2017. It involved 15 Irish and another 15 Greek young people who came together to explore gender issues and issues related to personal and sexual identity as well as other crucial questions which arise as teenagers turn into adults.
A couple of days ago, our second meeting finished in the small town of Newbridge. During this second exchange, young people from Greece, Italy, Spain, Denmark, France and, of course, Ireland, met on an exchange called called “Visibly Vocal.” The project aimed to take advantage of this small community’s outdoor creative potential. In this programme, all the workshops were given by remarkable directors with a profound experience in site-specific performances. The resulting performances took place in public areas. The programme lasted a week and led to a two-hour public performance, which attracted both curious passers-by and the proud citizens – all of whom happily supported this small miracle which blossomed in their small town.
These 50 young people conveyed a strong message with their presence: they recognized the unique identity of their generation through all the youth experiences that they have; they expressed concern about global issues; and they developed skills by using the quick and deep language of theatre. Among the issues they talked about were oppression; the anxiety caused by the austerity crisis which the Western civilisation is facing; and they critiqued the ideas of individual pursuit of happiness and self-centredness.
Soon after the project finished, the participants became friends on the various social media and, as far as I know, they are already forging plans to change the world. Their contact online (despite the universal idea that virtual relationships lead to estrangement and alienation) is so frequent that the only reaction they can cause is emotion and sensation.
Many are those who are convinced that the miracle will never happen, that the world will never change. I don’t agree. At a small corner of a country, tortured by colonialism and an insatiable, even today, passion for imposition, people meet each other. Without any ‘noise’, any fanfare, or bragging, without boasting about innovation or novelty, these young people constantly call other people to join them, in search of our own, personal story, a story that will be new and common for all. That will, more or less, lead to Utopia.
(Translated by Antonis Kouvalakis)