Constellations Summer Camp – 2019

@ Tiyatro Medresesi, Turkey

The Constellations Summer Camp, an encounter with an intense multidisciplinary program that will take place near the old Greek village of Şirince, in the region of Izmir, Turkey, from August 24th to September 16th, 2019, coordinated by Mario Biagini and the Open Program (of the Workcentre of jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards) in collaboration with the Tiyatro Medresesi, directed by Celal Mordeniz.

As time has settled, and my memories of the time have settled, the things that remain as the most precious and important experiences are:

~ the time and focus and beautiful spaces which I had to rehearse and continue to develop my own work, Catherine: The Body Politic.

This was very precious and important because it gave a central spine and focus to my presence at Constellations, and a way to be in a very productive and fruitful development period of my own technique, as well as a specific piece of theatre. I had the great privilege to work with Aga Kazimierska, a member of the Open Program, over the three weeks on Catherine, and so for me that provided a strong anchor or core to my experience, which, at my stage of professional life, is very valuable, and also important.

~ working/living/eating/doing chores with/playing/singing/talking with a group of people from all over the world of various ages, for three weeks was a truly fantastic experience. The form of Constellations: various workshops, rehearsals, Open Choir, the Hidden Sayings, meals etc, gave a way to interact with all these wonderful people in lots of different ways…which enables all sorts of different conversations, different types of interaction…some philosophical, some about life, some about career, some about work, some about politics…I enjoyed that a lot, and felt that I was able to richly connect with a number of people in deep, subtle and meaningful ways.

~ as far as the workshops/activities were concerned, I loved all of the ones I did, but I particularly loved the discussions led by Nesrin on Responsibility and Justice, and Magda’s talks on yoga, both because of the content, which in both cases was rich, stimulating and fascinating, and also because they both modelled a way of sharing knowledge and experience in a non-hierarchical way, in a non-linear way…it was much more about a group experience, an experience in the moment, with the teacher and with the group, working through the material together and arriving at a point, together, of some understanding.

I also really enjoyed the walking/motions in the mornings because it modelled and encouraged a connection, a deeper connection and understanding and awareness of the place in which we were living. The earth, the land, nature.

Also for me, doing MACAM and learning about it was very good, because it dovetailed so neatly into my own training and practice. It was not that it was so new, but it was like a refresher course, from a slightly different perspective, on a technique which I use already…perfect.

I repeat that I enjoyed all of the other activities I participated in, including of course the Open Choir and the Hidden Sayings, and was thankful that they were part of the program, but these were the ones that really stood out for me. In terms of what I wished I could have done and didn’t…I would have loved to have done some work with Pietro, on both his Contacts class and also Emboissement. Charles did Emboissement and from what he has told me, and from what I observed, this was a very very interesting and kind of radical idea and form…and I think about this often and find a lot of inspiration from it.

I would also have loved to have done some of the Listening Lab work, which was very popular and really inspired vey many participants and possibly contributed to some extent to the positive ecology of the whole of the Constellations Camp in general.

~ it was also very good for me to teach my own workshop: Performance Provocations. Even though the groups were small, and in some ways the class was compromised by all the other things that people had to do…nevertheless the small works that people made for my class were very beautiful, and particularly those who managed to do two rounds of the class, and make two works…they seemed to settle in a lot…and the second round of works was much richer. It was good to see this, and probably if I do this again, I will structure the work differently to encourage this. I think also I will give a little more theory and context next time, to guide the participants more clearly especially at the beginning. But I am pleased with what we did together, what I was able to communicate about performance, about ourselves as makers of art, and there were definitely some strong moments of insight amongst the group. That’s precious.

~ Also I would like to acknowledge what an incredible and wonderful job Erdem and Neslihan did at managing all the practicalities…and really all of the team at Tiyatro Medresesi. It is a huge task to look after and organise such a huge and diverse group, and they did a magnificent job, and this also contributed enormously to the harmonious nature of the experience.