In a theatre, it is possible to conjure up another world, other worlds. Here is perhaps where this festival is at its most dreamy and yet also where the solutions it has already enacted are the most concrete. The other worlds are most obviously witnessed in the final products – in the fantasy scenes performed on stage, in the transformation of single actors into multiple characters by costume and lighting, in the interplay between real-life words and imagined sentences.
But what I am thinking of here goes back to process: in a city in a hurry, these naughty people insisted on taking up time, filling up hours, days, months—with meetings, workshops, conversations, movement, community walks, devising, rehearsing. In a culture uncomfortable with difference, these renegades held steady with diversity and disagreement – creating safe circles, playing games to diffuse tension, talking through uncomfortable feelings in small groups, giving each other feedback, relentlessly insisting on respect but also on honesty. In a society fixated on performance as measured by narrow criteria and static outcomes, the festival has focused on scaffolding – for continuous thinking, learning, interacting, challenging, being; the process is as important as the outcome. Radical, yet concrete. Sometimes when you want a different world, a better world, you have to begin occupying your current one as if you’re already living the dream.
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