a Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium Project for EU Caravan – Artists on the Road
A musical comic performance for families
Actors: Alberto Martinez Guinaldo, Giuseppe L. Bonifati, Isadora Pei, Marcelo Miguel
Assistant: Markus Karekallas
Director: Julia Varley
Tour organisation: Nathalie Jabalé
Thank you to Claudio Coloberti for the home-made bananas
The point of departure to develop this family performance was an article about emigration between Portugal and Uganda. Before people would emigrate from Africa to Europe in search of work while now the opposite happens: people leave Portugal for Uganda in search of opportunity and prospects. Prejudices are turned upside down, as the third world becomes first and vice-versa. As crisis pervades the so-called rich countries, it could be that the direction people take in search of homes and jobs might change. Hope, fighting spirit, social connection and empathy is what is needed for renaissance, which is to say to be born again. What values do we build upon?
The performance comes about within the European Caravan Project, Artists on the road, community theatre in places of crisis and renaissance. Workshops were held at Odin Teatret, Holstebro, Denmark, in North West Jutland, a region which is regarded to be on the outskirts, and where hospitals, schools and airports are being closed down. Here people make their living far away from the centres of power and economy. Together with the participants of the workshops, the actors – who come from Italy, Spain and Brazil – developed a scenario around the themes of crisis and renaissance, realising barters and interventions at schools, community centres and old people’s homes.
The performance which resulted from this period of research uses bananas to present the richness of an exotic country, the ‘Banana Land’, where people dress in vivid silk colours. Work, love, children, cultural values, education, national songs, sports, violence, borders, measurements, and meditation: all this happens in the name of bananas.
The story is one that we all know: an outsider arrives to the ‘Banana Land’. He has given up finding what he wants in other countries pervaded by crisis. He strives to be admitted and accepted. By chance he finds himself inside. Then he tries to seduce the locals exchanging his dance with theirs and by learning the musical language of the place. He is put to work, he is made fun of, and eventually given recognition and a medal. He experiences the death of a banana and its revival as part of his trials. Finally he will be able to transform his sober clothes to flashing red ones.
Renaissance takes the form of a happy song and a sweet taste: banana chocolates are shared with the spectators. And everybody will live happily ever after. But we should always remember that we can still slip on a banana skin.