TO PLAY: THEATER IN THE STREET

In the street, facing the unknown, people will decide to stop and “participate” according to the “cost of entry”. It represents difficulties encountered by passers-by, his/her efforts to enter into the event, the risks that he/she might be bored or feel ridiculous, compared to the benefits that he/she can expect: having fun, satisfy curiosity.

The lowest cost – and so the best accessibility- is definitely what make spectacle. First because the function is to distract and amuse people and because it leaves the pedestrian the choice to stay or not, to be involved or not.

The participants from OfficineCittadine and Sensibiliz’Action based on the street interaction methodology of GEAgora, developed two different play, one during the seminar and the other one during the youth exchange of the project “Street Views: Youth for Diversity”.

For the first play, the participants decided to illustrate the situation of the migrant workers in the field of tomatoes. Indeed, Diritti a Sud is mainly working to promote workers’ rights in agriculture and produce in an ethical way the tomato sauce “SfruttaZero” (zero exploitation). Participants imagined an artistic way to represent the exploitation faced by these migrant workers. At the end of the show, the actors presented the two possible recipes of a low cost sauce and SfruttaZero sauce and invite the public to choose between these two ways of production.

THE REAL STORY OF ROMEO AND JULIET

During the Youth Exchange, the participants decided to adapt the famous story of Romeo and Juliet: “Because everyone knows it, because it took place in Italy and because it showcases our topics (differences and interculturality)”.

They adapted the play to tackle the burning issues of diversity and racism. “We changed the plot of the actual story in order to highlight the diversity of the two lovers which indicated that we had to change the characters background stories Indeed, in the new version, Romeo is black, Juliet is white, he is Muslim, she is Christian, he is a worker, and her family is landowners… All these differences are creating troubles and conflicts between the two families.

They decided to use some board and write on it some sentences in English and Italian to explain the reasons why Romeo and Juliet would not be together. All performers  were wearing black on black clothes and only one costume element, a white collar, was represented the style of Shakespearian theatre.

They also used some board to physically delimitate and illustrate the gap between the two lovers that the differences were creating. Finally, they finished the play raising the question: Should they be enemy? And invite the public to give their voices.

“The first static image of the action was Romeo and Juliet stand close to each other and holding hands. Exactly behind them, there were 5 boards as steps that linked them to their fathers.

After the announcement the fathers calls the first reason why Romeo must step back from his Juliet and at the same time he hold the written banner. The narrator takes the banner and keep show it to the people. Then the narrator gives the turn to Juliet’s father and he calls the reason why Juliet must step back from her Romeo. At the end when both fathers hold the banner: “We are enemies”, Romeo and Juliet had already been divided. Then the narrator comes in with the final question; “Should they be enemies?” The narrator shows the banner to the audience and then approaches them asking what they think about it.