Vila Real, , 1156 km from Turin, 4th-5th May
The unexpected stop.
Stop in Vila Real was not programmed, we had to go right to Albacete, but a journey becomes real only if you make detours, if your curiosity and passion drive you to modify your schedule. Mr Toni Valesa, our referring person in Castellon, told us that in that period an International Festival of Street Theatre in a nearby small town was interested in our project. After a call, that opportunity came true. Artistic director of the festival, Mr Pau Ayet, immediately invited us to take part in it when he learnt we were working on a project about crisis and difficulties in young people. That time the journey was shorter than the usual one, not much longer than 10 km. When we entered the small town, a funny subdivision among males and females predominated inside the caravan. Females were indifferent to the town, with a bit of disappointment they looked at this big village that apparently seemed insignificant. On the other side, males buzzed like a swarm of flying bees, mumbled excited. “Vila Real, of course, unbelievable, do you remember it… bzzz, bzzz, bzzz”. Soon the mystery is solved. Vila Real has one of the strongest football club in Spain and Europe. A celebrity totally based on men’s world.
25th International Festival of Street Theatre in Vila Real is amazing. The big village that looked insignificant was filled with lights and people. The organization was so perfect to not be perceived. Everything seemed to happen in the right place at the right time. High-level and experienced artists. We asked them to make interviews and they happily accepted it. Musicians, clowns, acrobats and audience proved to be interested and able to reply to all of our questions about the space for culture in time of crisis. The leading role of culture was concretely clear to everyone, with resolution and without rhetoric.
We were worried about the fact that “Precipito” probably wouldn’t have worked in a street theatre contest. “It will be a disaster” “Audience will leave us!” “It will leave us in the middle of the show and we will remain alone on the caravan, in an empty square!”, we thought. And what was more, that night Vila Real played against Seville and one of the two would be demoted to Liga 2. Let’s speak clearly, there was no way out: championship against theatre, championship wins! In that contest we believed that people would have expected to be impressed by us as they were impressed by aerial dance artists, who leapt out from the town hall creating acrobatic trajectory, or that the audience would like to be directly involved on the scene, as in the show of the Spanish clown: simply, poetic, captivating, suitable for all ages. And then, we went on stage… with a surprising effect. Children were caught by colours, scenic movements and small special effects, like EriKa’s belly that suddenly blew up. Adults were involved too, particularly by stories and characters they somewhat identify in. The tendency to ask people to become small holder of VAT number, also for those professions in which is not required, exists here too. In this way, the employer is relieved of liabilities, taxes, contributions creating working relationship poorly defended. That is called “False Self-Employment”. When Mr Fabio Biella raised this problem in one of the scene, the young-adults among the audience got excited, starting a discussion.
What we brought with us (Elena, organizer)
Many images of Vila Real I will carry with me: clowns, acrobats, people in the street, the ability in receiving us at the last minute in a programme that was already organized for months. The stop in Vila Real was a meeting, a comparison among artists. An enriching experience for everyone. Among all the images, in particular one stuck my mind: Mr Alberto Ibanez, Councilor for Culture. He is twenty years old (non-standard in Spain too) and he proudly spoke about his co-citizens. We asked Alberto the same questions made to the street artists. The Councilor was very friendly and professional. Vila Real, with its 50626 inhabitant (like Rho or Battipaglia in Italy) hosts many other dance, cinema and music festivals. Concreteness does not exclude ideals and Alberto simply said that culture is one of the few things that can change the world. He is satisfied with the cultural and artistic activities of his town, which he supports with all his strength, serenity and cleverness.
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