“Scenes of confinement”: drama texts contest to combat the burden
Estefanía Radnic

The Argentine playwright and theater director Mauricio Kartun published on his Facebook’s profile a call for a Theater Texting Contest: “Scenes of Confinement”. In this way, we found out this project  launched from Madrid as a strategy to stay active and open a space for reflection during the quarantine. The proposal of the Confined Organization had global repercussion and it quickly “went viral”.

We got in touch with the mentor of this experience, André Carreira, theater director and professor at the Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) who, from his confinement in Madrid, told us about this creative initiative to combat the burden and uncertainty that reign in this time of pandemic:

Memorial de Silêncios e Margaridas. Atuação: Narciso Telles. Direção: Mara Leal. © ph: Luana Magrela

¿How did the Confinement Scenes contest come about? What is the Confined Organization?  

“The idea came up during my quarantine in Madrid, because it occurred to me that it was necessary to think theatrically about what is happening to us at this time of confinement on account of the pandemic. But not only because of the condition of confinement, today things change with such speed. Beyond confinement, the political crisis opened circumstances that totally modify our lives. After that, I spoke with the actor Narciso Telles and the actress Vanessia Gomes and together we thought about the bases of the contest and we began to invite other people from the theater to form the group of readers. Immediately, many people from different countries who knew that we were organizing the Confined Scenes wrote to us offering collaboration in the process of reading the material and in the dissemination of the call. Our organization is completely informal and without financial resources. To answer the emails we are using the name Confined Organization because this is our situation. I am confined in Madrid, Narciso in Uberlândia (Brazil) and Vanéssia in Fortaleza (Brazil). ”

“Scenes of Confinement” is a project that crosses borders, people from all over the world participate in the organization. What is its dynamics like? 

“The dynamic is simple, after the deadline of April 27, the texts will be distributed among the readers according to a quantity that will be defined by the number of works received. The idea is that each text is read by at least two people. The criteria is broad and each reader will choose what they think is most interesting. We do not have a unified aesthetic orientation. The works to be published will be selected in this way. As this is an informal organization, the most important thing is the process of connection and common thought. The idea is to stimulate people to produce and generate a material that serves us collectively as a procedure to continue doing theater.  This was a project that quickly crossed borders, that is because we are artists that have some kind of creative connection, we know our respective works. On the other hand, they are people committed to theater as a collective and integrated practice. In other words, people which is concerned  and shocked by the situation we are living.

Can the theater heal and generate a space for reflection during a pandemic beyond the loss of the face-to-face dimension, the being-there inherent to the theater, in this moment of quarantine?

“I do not know if the theater can heal, but I think that the theater can generate spaces for reflection and encounter even if we do not have the immediate possibility of physical contact, and presentation spaces cannot be shared with the public. It is logical that being together in the same space is the nature of the theater. Although there are several scenic experiences that were tried with virtual forms, we know that the peculiarity of the theater is being together, and that is what ultimately makes the theater basically the co-presence in the same physical space. But, we are in an extreme situation, a planetary crisis, and nobody really knows how to deal with it. Pandemic and extreme unemployment, unfortunately, represents a situation in which we are all seeking to provide answers, not only as artists, but also as citizens in the face of an unexpected social and political situation.

The experience proposed by the Confined Scenes contest creates an alternative that stimulates us to be in connection with the theater and the people who make theater. At this time there are many actions, some with production of dramatic readings online, in Brazil a group of theater groups held an online scene event making fragments of their works public. And there must be an infinity of similar initiatives in all parts of the world. Many people are seeking to keep thinking and theater alive despite the limitations imposed by isolation. ”

Once the chosen texts are published, are you going to organize a performative stage of reading the texts or a virtual staging to be broadcast by the networks? 

“We started with the publication of an e-book because our initiative does not have any funding. The book will be published without problems, and for that we already have a team that will produce the publication. We surely hope that there will be a performative stage with the texts that circulate in the contest. Logical that staging requires much more resources, people and spaces. Still, I suppose it is possible that the contest will have an impact on some staging process. If that happens, it will be natural for the processes to be spread virtually. possible to think that some of the texts win a form of virtual staging. ”  

The materials must be sent in spanish or portuguese until April 27 at midnight to this e-mail: in a PDF file signed with an alias.

Cortejo de caretas, grupo Teatro de Caretas, dirección Vanéssia Gomes
58 Indicios sobre o corpo [versão brasil]. Concepção Emilio Garcia Wehbi. Uberlândia – MG, 2016. © ph: Yuji Kodato
Calada Estranha, dirección André Carreira
© ph Otten Severonoe
© Narciso Telles
Calada Estranha, dirección André Carreira
© ph: Otten Severonoe
Potestade. Atuação: Narciso Telles. Direção: André Carreira. © ph: Mara Leal
El Ángel Negro de Nelson Rodrigues, dirección André Carreira. Centro Cultural Rojas Buenos Aires © ph Otten Severonoe
Final de Tarde, grupo Teatro de Caretas, dirección André Carreira © ph Marina Cavalcante
Final de Tarde, grupo Teatro de Caretas, dirección André Carreira © ph Marina Cavalcante
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