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Playwrights Corner


Playwrights corner

Eric Assous
A critical eye | Alban Ketelbuters

« That's going to be my take on the playwriting residency in Barcelona, in partnership with the Sala Beckett and the Institute for Theatre and Dance. There were about ten participants. During our many activities we explored the entire city, from seeing Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui at the Greek Theatre to Coses que deiem avui by Neil Labute at the Sala Beckett and a performance at the National Theatre of Catalonia. Through our many different outings we got a real feeling for the city while exploring its gardens, parks and museums. We each wrote a short text about the residency, in answer to the question: "The 21st century. How was it for you?". A reading of my text, Socialistes, was staged at the Institute for Theatre and Dance by Victor Munoz, along with those of the other playwrights. Every evening we saw a play by a Turkish, Scottish, Polish, Spanish, French, Canadian, German, Uruguayan or English author, in front of audiences of about a hundred people. The texts were staged in a very relevant way, prompting me to work on my unfinished text and turn it into a real, full-length play. Being confronted with the stage – the first time for me – has been a fantastic exercise. All the more interesting because each playwright spent time with the artistic team, discussing aesthetic choices and acting styles. Simon Stephens, with whom we worked every day, used methods that were both athletic and problematic. It was a radical, instructive and unusual experience, with no equal footing or collective writing. But the results were fantastic. This English-style method consisted in "teaching writing." It was a huge cultural divide for me. Contrary to England and Canada, there are no French schools to train writers. It was a new method for me, with a unique vision involving English naturalism. No other aesthetic viewpoints were involved/allowed. With the English method you could position your writing within the European theater world. The question "what is the difference between writing for television and writing for the stage" was met with silence. Our main question remained '"what are the main aesthetic, poetic and political issues at stake." It was a necessary cultural confrontation that opened us up to other ways of writing and thinking about the theater, an indispensable encounter that forced each of us to take a stand, to state our views about the role of theater in a free-market world and clearly express how our relationship to writing. »

Alban Ketelbuters
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