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Playwrights Corner


Playwrights corner

Lancelot Hamelin
© Céline Nieszawer
Can't stop it, burnin' hole in your pocket | Frédéric Sonntag

« My first image of Barcelona (the way I remember the workshop at the Sala Beckett several months later, once the parade of faces has passed like so many cheerful encounters, if you were trying to recreate some kind of chronological order) is of a circle of European playwrights who have just barely met, sitting on the ground on a square in Barcelona at around midnight, drinking the only brand of beer we could find there (Estrella, in a red can) during our entire stay, which we never bought in any mini-markets but always from street hawkers - so the memory of that circle of European playwrights (oh, sorry, I was forgetting Agosto, so we weren`t all European), drinking beer on the Barcelona ground, and the memory of that question flashing through my mind at that moment: "What on earth am I doing here?" Then, not necessarily in this order: monologues written in ten minutes flat, based on a song structure: Silver Rocket by Sonic Youth; readings in Catalan, with everyone carefully following the English translation on their lap; volleyball games and beating world records in the end (try to figure that one out); writing exercices straight from an English playwright`s head which were like exotic curiosities to the French playwrights; museum visits at two am; marathon days and very short nights; performances in Italian with sur-titles in Catalan (one made us laugh at its expense, the other impressed us all) and performances in Catalan with no sur-titles at all; connecting with other playwrights (Jordi, I still remember our discussions about Vila-Matas and Bolaño), and it was particularly moving to find literary affinities at such a long distance away; a last barbecue and we proved that the French are not the last ones to get up and dance. From which you will hastily deduce that there was nothing serious in all this, and you will be wrong. Something did happen (though it would be hard to pinpoint it today) through being exposed to all these other processes and identities, by having one`s own ways questioned, and having them challenged and affirmed at the same time. »

Frédéric Sonntag,
November 2009
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