Trasna Na Líne: Workshop in Warsaw

International manifesto – workshops in Warsaw  – November 12-13th 2019

Our joint work was scheduled for two workshop days. The subject of the meeting was inspired by the performance of Teatr 21: “Revolution That Never Was”, which we expanded to include an international context.

We wanted to take advantage of the potential of the presence of people from many different countries. We all have a similar thing on our minds (both in the theatre and in public life): the rights of people with disabilities, their quality of life, art as a space for self-fulfilment and theatre as a workplace.

Our goal was also to take the opportunity of a direct meeting. Thanks to this, we learned about the lives of adults with disabilities in other countries.

In the first phase of the workshop, we integrated our groups. We tried to ensure that the individual and collective voice and body were activated. We proposed a warm-up that would allow participants to step out of their groups, say hello to other participants and get in touch with each other.

We showed participants posters and banners from the show “Revolution that never was”. Then we divided into groups by country. Each group, on a large piece of paper, wrote their slogans that concerned proposals for change in favour of the lives of people with disabilities, in their country.

At the end of this part, each group presented their slogans. Thanks to this, we were able to learn about the situation of people with disabilities in all our countries. This part was extremely important to us. Talking with actors during theatre work, supporting their commitment to the topic we are working on is also of great importance to us.

We wanted to reinforce this situation with specific images and facts. Therefore, as part of the workshop work, Justyna Lipko Konieczna – dramaturg of Teatr 21 presented a lecture. The lecture, based mainly on the presentation of photos, introduced all participants to the context of the political presence of people with disabilities in public spaces. The material covered both the situation of a 40-day protest of people with disabilities and their guardians in the Polish Sejm (parliament), as well as protests of people with disabilities in the United States and Great Britain.

We showed the situations of street protests because we wanted to point out certain specific qualities that can be used in working with an actor on stage.This was both an understanding of the situation, combined with very specific emotions, gestures that accompany the protest situation, as well as paying attention to the form, the aesthetics of such events (e.g. the use of banners)

On the second day, we focused on the practical translation of selected slogans into gestures and body language. Every group speaks a different language, that’s why it was difficult to learn the slogans. The collective body that works in a common cause proved to be the way to express our joint manifesto.

Together, we created a manifesto lasting several minutes that combined the proposals of each group. All the time we tried to show how important the actor’s voice is in our work. Actors chose keywords that were important to them. It was the actors who decided and independently processed the keywords into body language. Participation  – and the conscious presence of actors in the creation of spectacle material  – became the axis of our workshop.

Workshops led by: Justyna Sobczyk, Justyna Wielgus, Justyna Lipko-Konieczna (Teatr 21)