How do they laugh in Africa?
It seems easy to be supportive... #1Continue reading
How do they laugh in Africa? #2Continue reading
Simone, do you want to go to Mozambique? #3Continue reading
I am going to Mozambique! But to do what? #4Continue reading
The meetings #5Continue reading
Where do I start? #6Continue reading
Meeting withContinue reading
The first contacts with Mozambique #8Continue reading
Agenda first mission in Mozambique #9Continue reading
First mission: arrival in Maputo #1Continue reading
But where am I? #2Continue reading
Meeting with Alvim Cossa #3Continue reading
Teatro do Oprimido Show #4Continue reading
Meeting with the Machaka Association #5Continue reading
The Show by the Machaka Group #6Continue reading
Manuela Soeiro and the Avenida Theater #7Continue reading
Gonçalo Mabunda #8Continue reading
Meeting with the Luarte Association #9Continue reading
Luarte Show #10Continue reading
Maputo - Pemba Journey #11Continue reading
Vitor Raposo #12Continue reading
Pemba – Palma Trip #13Continue reading
Visit to the village of Quionga #14Continue reading
Visit to the village of Quirindi #15Continue reading
That wonderful beach! #16Continue reading
Visit to the village of Pundanhar #17Continue reading
The Mamãe Kit #18Continue reading
Visit to the hospital in Palma #19Continue reading
Return to Italy #20Continue reading
The project continues! #1Continue reading
How many meetings are we going to have?!? #2Continue reading
Agenda second mission in Mozambique #3Continue reading
Second mission in Mozambique, arrival at Pemba #4Continue reading
Felix Mambucho #5Continue reading
Performance Vitor Raposo and the Tambo Tambulani Tambo company #6Continue reading
Pemba – Palma Trip #7Continue reading
Performances at Palma, on with the casting! No, stop! #8Continue reading
Grupo do funzionarios #9Content Continue reading
Performances (and casting) in the village of Pundanhar #10Continue reading
Performances (and casting) in the village of Quionga #11Content Continue reading
Selecting the actors for the Italian stages #12Continue reading
Are you ready to come to Italy? #13Continue reading
The return to Italy and end of the second mission #14Continue reading
Preparing for the first training period at Alcatraz #1Continue reading
Arrival at the Libera Università di Alcatraz #2Continue reading
We begin! #3Continue reading
Mario Pirovano #4Continue reading
Acting with Mario Pirovano #5Continue reading
Arms going up on their own! #6Continue reading
A dive into the theatre #7Continue reading
Let’s tell a love story! #8Continue reading
Being an actor is hard work #9Continue reading
What days! #10Continue reading
O falso médico! #11Continue reading
We all go shopping! #12Continue reading
The performance takes shape #13Continue reading
We need an ultrasound! #14Continue reading
Rome has never been so beautiful! #15Continue reading
Second training session: the first day... #1Continue reading
The return of the Mozambicans #2Continue reading
A tragic day #3Continue reading
Memory tests with Mario Pirovano #4Continue reading
Rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals… and that script in 3 languages… #5Continue reading
First reading of the script in Swahili #6Continue reading
Just for a change, we rehearse... #7Continue reading
That damned video! #8Continue reading
In and around Perugia #9Continue reading
The last rehearsals #10Continue reading
Action! #11Continue reading
Changes to the show? Change the title?!? #1Continue reading
Confusion in Fatima’s House #2Continue reading
Preparation of the stage design #3Continue reading
Ready to go (again)? #1Continue reading
Arrival at Pemba #2Continue reading
At Palma under the palm trees (wet!) #3Continue reading
First day of the tour: Mute #4Continue reading
Second day of the tour: Pundanhar #5Continue reading
Third day of the tour: Quionga #6Continue reading
Fourth day of the tour: Palma #7Continue reading
Fifth day of the tour: Olumbe #8Continue reading
Thank you Mozambique, thank you so much! #9Continue reading
Wanting to do something useful for the people of developing countries we chose to focus on Africa both because we had the recorded experience of Simone Canova and his group in Burkina Faso, and because we had always been interested in Africa due to various vicissitudes.
In particular I wrote a book with Laura Malucelli: Schiave ribelli (Rebel Slaves) that tells the story of the resistance against supporters of slavery and the slave revolts in America. In addition, we have been running a study-group for a year now on the fights of the slaves in Brazil, incredible stories of which little is known, where tens of thousands of slaves manage to rout the Portuguese armies, they have been resisting in Benares for almost a century, defending a large territory and a town. But unlike what happens to other slave rebellions, eventually the Brazilian blacks are not exterminated. When they understand that they cannot resist any longer against the new European guns, they flee into the Amazon rainforest in which they literally disappear for two and a half centuries. Then they are “discovered” in the 50s by some anthropologists, still ready to fight because unaware of the end of slavery.
We still needed to decide what kind of project to attempt to achieve.
Considering our abilities and experiences that are especially related to all forms of communication and entertainment , we decided that it was appropriate to focus our work on two concurrent issues.
On the one hand we could be useful by gathering and diffusing information about methods tried out in the field of eco-technology by solidarity organizations. Via the New Committee Nobel for the Disabled Non-Profit Organization we consequently financed a workgroup that produced the book Ecotecnologie (a basso costo) per tutto il mondo (Eco-technologies (at low-cost) for the whole world) text that we are distributing for free to hundreds of non-profit organization and that we are translating into various languages (continuously extending it thanks to the indications we receive from many people).
On the other hand we decided to create a theater experiment of information with the aim of spreading some eco-technological solutions in the villages.
Obviously we immediately dropped the idea of being the ones to decide what to tell and of writing and performing the plays. It would not have made any sense. We do not have enough experience to decide which messages to propose, we do not know what stories may fascinate and involve, there is a large cultural gap that would invalidate any attempt in this direction, not to mention the language barrier: dialects are spoken in the most remote villages and in the best case swahili, a widespread Bantu language.
So we decided to put our experience at the service of local theater groups.
The first question we asked ourselves was: are there any theater groups in the most remote villages and do their narrative canons have any contact points with ours? The second question was: how do they laugh in Africa?
The first pieces of information on the subject were quite discouraging. We found videos and stories about many theater experiences, a means that is widely spread. But these are mainly educational shows, on canons of the Theater of the Oppressed. A very effective form of communication, based on dramatizations of emblematic situations. The actors, often in the streets, perform discussions and disagreements between husband and wife or between teachers and students, and they involve the public in the drama by asking people to take the place of the actors or suggest the development of the situations. Exceptional experiences in many aspects but far from what we are good at, the Art Theater works on other communication patterns, it needs narrative devices, humorous situations that lead typical scenarios to the extreme building parables and playing with reversals and amazement.
But investigating further, we found that even in Africa (as it had been assumed) there was a great tradition of comedy, rooted in the festivities of the most remote villages, where traditions resisted untainted. At weddings and other celebrations, comedy was always present and there was even a figure that was very similar to our Harlequin. So there was something to get our teeth into.
Decisions being made in general terms, there remained the problem of how and where to build up this experience from a practical point of view. We started to use the tam-tam of the network, to ask friends and readers of our sites, to spread the word and then, as it often happens when you manage to imagine a good project, a series of random events led us to Doctors with Africa CUAMM (Medici con l’Africa CUAMM) and Eni Foundation that works with this non-profit organization and finances it.
We asked for a meeting with Filippo Uberti and Stefano Cianca of Eni Foundation, described our project and saw that there was interest and willingness to support the cost of this enterprise. In particular in Mozambique, Eni Foundation and CUAMM run a health center in the area of Palma. This is an area where about 50 thousand people live in small villages of huts and face great difficulties every day. CUAMM offers free health services and medicine, runs two operating theaters with modern equipment and a house used by women who are about to give birth.
The doctors and the staff of CUAMM Eni Foundation explained to us that it would be very useful to help spread the culture of preventive health care. When we realized that that meant working in the north of Mozambique, it seemed like an auspicious coincidence. In the historical research that we carried out we often dealt with peoples that live right in that region, where the majority belong to the Makua ethnic group, a people of San descent. The same of which we wrote about when dealing with the resistance to the slave hunters and with black riots in Brazil (Mozambique was a Portuguese colony).
Then we find out that a black harlequin is known even among the Makua, mask through which the actors of the villages play with stereotypes, inventing characters and hilarious and symbolic situations.
This coincidence of the presence of the San ethnic group in the area where we had been suggested to work was just the beginning of a series of amusing cases. For example, when we first wrote on Facebook that we were looking for a Portuguese interpreter, Stefano, who worked two meters away from him, replied (also via FB) “Look, Isaac ‘s girlfriend speaks Portuguese.” And Isaac lives in Camperi, a few hundred meters from Simone’s house, four kilometers from Alcatraz! We invite Johara to lunch and find that she lived in Mozambique for years. Incredible! And when we say that we have to organize an expedition to Palma she says, “Palma! Fantastic! My brother lives in Palma. ” Well, there are all the auspicious coincidences. Now we get to work.
And then I really have to talk about it with Simone…