From Tom Walker Aug 24/2002
“Communicarlo” is the name of a ten minute street theater piece which was created and performed by a Living Theatre workshop led by Tom Walker, Christian Vollmer, Fausto Cerboni, and Mattias Kramer. The workshop lasted five days with daily five hour sessions, July 15 - 20, 2002, at the church of San Benedetto in Porto in Genova. It culminated with two performances at one pm and three pm in Piazza Alimonda during the observance of the anniversary of the killing of Carlo Giuliani in the piazza July 20, 2001 by a policeman in the disturbances which took place during the meeting of the G8 in Genova.
Living Theatre workshops often end with a performance and the company had already led performances in the culmination of workshops in Genova in May, 2001 and in July, 2001(at the time of the actual G8 meeting). In each of those workshops the company had begun with a clear plan and structure for the performance. This time an effort was made to find the structure for the performance during the workshop, itself.
Sessions were held in Kalarippayattu, an ancient Indian martial art, lead by Fausto Cerboni. Christian Vollmer led lengthy preparation sessions in sounds and movements, improvisations, and what he likes to call Theater of Ecstasy. Tom Walker led sound workshops derived from The Living Theatre's work with musician Alvin Currran. Classic Living Theatre exercises such as “Sound and Movement” and `The Mat Piece” were repeated several times. Work was done in slow motion technique, Dervish dancing, Gnaoua chanting, biomechanics, and several other disciplines. Discussions on collective creation, politics, and on what was to be said on occasion of the demonstrations called for July 20 took place daily.
Aside from the four leaders, the workshop consisted of eight people who had previously worked with The Living and five newcomers. Some people wanted to say nothing about Carlo Giuliani. Some wanted to de-emphasize violence of any kind, even as an image in the play. Christian felt firmly whatever we did should be no longer than ten minutes. The May 2001 play had been thirty minutes and the G8 play forty minutes. Several scenarios were put forth and rejected. The scenarios were written up for the most part by Tom. The final play was a result of our non-verbal sound circles and our physical improvisational work, and a truly collective spirit and tolerance.
We began the piece with four performers executing a Kalarippayattu etude, led by Fausto. They moved from four equally spaced positions, in a clockwise motion around the circumference of a circle with a diameter of eight meters, created by the rest of the performers. The etude has a slow steady meditative motion, stepping sideways, the body twisting so that at times one is stepping backward and then forward. Constant arm motion. The seated performers, all in informal self-chosen costume, make sound for the performers moving within the circle. We agreed that all sound would be vocal and non-verbal and would come from the performers, seated or kneeling around the circle. Performers within the circle executing movement would not make sound. The sound for the Kalarippayattu section was rhythmical, meditational, with breath exhalations. It was not too loud. Sound performers could make mudra-like or emotional gestures from their seated positions. The Kalarippayattu section lasted about two minutes.
At the two minute mark, Christian slowly rose and began a slow motion run across the circle, breaking the Kalarippayattu meditation. The Kalarippayattu performers slowly fell away in defeat, alienation, horror. The sound grew loud and menacing, long dissonant chords, sharp shrieks. Stefano slowly rose opposite Christian and began to execute a biomechanical etude of violent thrusting gestures, not unlike a policeman charging, culminating in a shaking, choking action, and then repeat. An actor on the perimeter made strong guttural, hissing sound in coordination with the motion. As Stefano approached Christian, his policeman was dissolved by Christian's ecstatic force. Christian was joined by three other slow motion runners following his actions precisely. Crescendo of sound. Stefano drags himself away to rejoin the perimeter. Christian and the three others link arms, back to back, in silent scream of horror and pain. All sound stops on the perimeter for five seconds.
Then, to use the vernacular, all hell breaks loose. A cacaphony of sound, always from the gesturing perimeter, a soundtrack for the action. Actors dash in and out of the circle, executing etudes, Living Theatre world actions, so called, repetitive actions. Quick entrances and exits. Only Christian, in his preparation-leader mode, was permitted to stay longer inside the circle, creating a counterpoint to the mass in/out motions. Actors could choose to do their own actions or to follow exactly what Christian was doing. The theme for this section was first: memory of the events of one year ago(July 20, 2001)-the violence, fear, alienation, and disorder; second: giving way gradually to present day concerns-alienation, banality or constructivism; and third: evolving to future hopes and desires. This section would take seven minutes. Sound ranged from hysterical to repetitive to melodic, to long chords, to snatches of garbled talk/sound. There were physical images of a slow motion fall, followed by violent rolls(a specific reference to how Carlo Giuliani was killed-a bullet to the head and then run over by a police jeep twice), of intense yogic breath exhalations, of alienation walks, of silent screams, of brushing one's teeth, of slow motion running, of dervish dances, of two men standing on their heads slowly moving their legs, of embraces. Toward what we thought was the seventh minute, Christian and four or five others began a slow rising and falling action, gently touching eachother with back, arms, legs, not hands. Heads rolling in slow dream-like pleasure(the Living Theatre Orgone movement). This would be the culmination of the seven minute in and out mass movement section. On a sign from Christian who executed it first, all the performers, those in the center at that moment, and those on the periphery, joined in a mass Zhzhzh. This action from “Mysteries And Smaller Pieces”, originally created by Steve Ben Israel, involves taking a deep breath and raising the arms over the head, rising on the toes, and then plunging down into a deep knee bend as the arms fly out to the sides. The exhalation at that moment is made with an intense zhzhzhzh sound, giving the face muscles free reign. The action is repeated seven times, each time more intense and each time a bit longer. It culminates in a reaching up up up and then a final exhale out and toward the audience with a gigantic pop sound. And that was how we finished the play.
This non-verbal collage piece of meditation, intense sound and movement with slight sculpting for individual accent, mixed with stylized, realistic, and ritual actions greatly impressed the hundreds watching both performances. The references to violence, Carlo Giuliani, present day challenges, and future hopes were all clearly made. The individual role, contrasted with the collective hopes and visions, created a powerful dynamic. The piece was called “Communicarlo”, “communicate it” in Italian. Remember Carlo, and go forward with strong peace.
hanon reznikov 17/6/01
Dear friends, here's what we've been up to lately
we miss you with love,hanon, judith and everyone.
Living through the G8
yesterday the potentates wrapped things up and left, the city bleeding in the
streets a long dream, full of moment and portent, our days as a part of the G8
scenario all of it happening in a city gripping a rocky riviera bay, climbing up
mountains topped by saracen-watchtowers, spilling down into a tangleof
medieval alleys - the mediterranean, the ligurian appenines, the summer sun -
the senses are full of it all - from its rise to world prominence a thousand
years ago, genoa has been known as 'la superba' but it means something closer
to 'the conceited' than to 'the superb' 700 groups are here - from argentinian
trotskyists to german transvestites.
we all seem cut from the same cloth - the people moved to travel far to make
known that there's another way - most seem to be young, tattooed, pierced and
dreadlocked - inspired, too, but hesitant about what is to come through the
the three days, we performed resist now!
a piece created for the occasion - we begin linking ourselves with each
other and the audience by means of red satin ribbon which eventually draws
everyone into a central spiral that grinds to a tightly-bound halt -
here we are, locked into the present situation - a voice cries â˜merz!'
(the schwitters dada word taken from â˜kommerzbank') and we free ourselves
to present a series of portraits of the problems we've all come together to
confront - violence, poverty and the like -
these build into a massive two-tier human machine-like structure that bears
down on the audience, consuming spectators as it advances while
chanting allen ginsberg's 'moloch' poem (moloch, the canaanitish god of
money) in the translation from our italian living passover haggadah - then
our own partisans of rocchetta ligure (1943-45), the heroes of resistance,
return and stir up the people to exorcise the violence inside themselves, to
lay down their arms and dismantle the machine, which breaks down and is
reborn as an organic, growing multi-form mass of humanity - finally, we sit
on the ground and listen to the warning sirens, our presence already an act
on the first day, july 19, we performed at the gathering point for the
arriving demonstrators, between the kitchens and the housing information
booths - it was sunset, and a mellow, communal atmosphere pervaded the
gathering on the next day, july 20, we struck at the heart of the matter,
performing in the central piazza dante, cut in half by the grotesque steel wall
of the red zone - much excitement, the play dissolving into assaults on the barrier
dividing the city, then resuming until all spontaneously moved from chanting
'free genoa! free genoa!' to chanting 'we are free! we are free!' - only
later in the day did the confrontation go miserably violent many say that the
black-masked goons with clubs who tragically call themselves anarchists
were police infiltrators - there may well have been infiltrators among them,
but there were many more than that - of the 100,000 demonstrators gathered,
there were perhaps as many as 2000 determined to respond to the police
presence with petrol bombs and such - and so the first day ended with
hideous street battles - police wantonly clubbing demonstrators, the black
brigades setting police vans afire - smoke and tear gas everywhere -
and before long, a 23-year-old body lying in a pool of blood, carlo giuliani,
shot by the police while hurling a fire extinguisher at them on july 21,
we joined the massive march of 700 protesting groups - perhaps
150,000 individuals that threaded their way through the city - a fine
showing of solidarity - a sea of red, black, green and rainbow flags
accompanied by drums, chants and song - we performed all the elements of
resist now! in oratorio-version while marching along with the endless crowds
- and as if the sun itself were powerless to help, the black brigades lodged
throughout the corteo took on the police and though no one else was killed,
many were injured and all felt a deep sense of the end of the road on july 22,
those remaining to pick up the pieces formed a chord circle at the workshop
site by the sea - there was the weight of news of a brutal police raid on the
Genoa Social Forum headquarters in the middle of the night - and yet, we
created new harmonies, and then each spoke, reaffirming her
commitment to go forward - we sang, exchanged addresses, imagined future
possibilities the next major movement events need to be organized around
other situations -
we don't need to put ourselves in the faces of the bigwigs at the big
meetings - we can create gatherings dedicated to education, exploration and
invention... invention... it isn't easy, but somebody's got to do it
Hanon Reznikov 23/7/01
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CREATING A PROJECT AROUND A SOLAR VERSION.
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