Snapshot of Transit 7 (Part 2)

7 Jun.     There is much to say about the exchanges and performances today. I will try to say more in the morning but I have just come from a performance by German actress Gilla Cremer. A shocking story told by an exquisite actress. In this 75-minute performance she does not move for the first 30 minutes at least. A deliberate stuckness counterpointed by the torrent of language and underscored, punctuated and drowned out by the cellist who sits upstage right. She is telling the story of a very poor contemporary woman afflicted with anxiety who decides to treat her two sons (5 and 9) by taking them to the sea. It is not a happy story, and the telling moves inexorably, like the sea, towards its terrible conclusion. Stunning. Awful. Unforgettable.




I mentioned Gilla Cremer's performance last night before I fell into bed, but the day was packed with interesting exchanges, offerings, performances. For those who know nothing about Transit Festival or the Magdalena Project, I should explain that these festivals are dedicated to the exchange between artists. So while there is a program of public performance, there are also daily workshops, master-classes, forums, and short talks designed to profile the work of women who are masters of their craft - providing female references in our theatre genealogy. Yesterday the oldest living member of the Magdalena Project, Sofia Kalinska, arrived. Sofia is Polish and was a long-time member of Taduez Kantor's company. She has given master-classes in Australia (Adelaide and Melbourne) but now in her 80s she is here simply to enjoy the exchange and be honoured. Below is a picture of Sofia with Jill and Brigitte. And one of Gilla Cremer explaining her text to the Spanish speakers.



8 Jun.         As we move towards the festival conclusion time begins to compress. I want to remember the presentation yesterday of Paserale (Catwalk): the result of Patricia Ariza's (Colombia) workshop with international actresses and women form the local crisis centre. I want to remember 'Rymden Emellan' (Sweden) - a humorous, touching and hard-hitting piece about aging and dementia. Gilla Cremer's piece which I described last night was called 'By the Sea'. And I want to remeber the concert by Voix Polyphoniques with Helen Chadwick - such achingly beautiful songs/sounds.


Today, an incredible story from Ya Ling Peng (Tai Pei) about the very ordinary and seismic fights that can occur between husband and wife. A strong statement couched in craft and humour from Deb Hunt (NZ/Puerto Rico), a personal and professional history from Sofia Kalinska who, by her own admission, loved to play prostitutes and queens. Also a work in progress of delicious materiality from Italy (Donna Toussaint you would love it).


And international premiere of an international collaboration: Gilly Adams (Wales) and Maria Porter (USA), directed by Vanessa Gilbert (USA) (and with some input from Margaret Cameron (Australia) present "Dancing with Desire". Yum. I'm claiming front row!




Gilly and Maria: a great success. Smart, funny and intimate. With a bit of touching and beautiful thrown in. Here's how I saw them preparing yesterday (at a local Holstebro cafe, being accosted by Serbian fans) — with Zecica Jensen.




Every now and then one is given the opportunity to see something extraordinary. The Kamagata-Mai (traditional Japanese dance) performed last night by Keiin Yoshimura was stunning, prayerful, poetic. Her musician was also incredible. I felt time and place dissolve.


9 Jun.         Okay, it's our last evening. The festival ends with a 'Feast' at 1:30pm tomorrow. We have just watched Dah Theatre's 'Crossing The Line' - true stories from women who suffered on all sides in the Bosnian War. Someone commented afterward that they (Dah) are very brave to present this in Serbia where they imagine people will feel too raw to look at these issues (horrific, horrific statistics). But apparently, even though their government refused to give them money for this work (for that very reason) the Serbian audiences ARE ready for it and have expressed gratitude to Dah for talking about these things. ('Dah' means 'breath' in Serbian). Me and my friends had to drink a bottle or two over dinner while we thought about this, and many other things. Next is Parvathy Baul with a new work called 'Love Bitches' (title taken from a poem by Rumi) and then the beautiful Jana will give an arial performance based on Margaret Atwood's novella 'PaperDolls'. THEN the work starts for me as Brigitte Cirla and Deborah Hunt's workshop participants work through the night to prepare tomorrow's FEAST!


10 Jun.         I'm pretty speechless at this point. It's 10:20pm, the sky is still light and I can hear laughter bubbling up from the courtyard below. It has been an incredible festival. I will write more after sleeping, but a snapshot of today would include the 'poetic gaze' (Jill Greenhalgh, Violetta Luna); flame throwers used to roast fish & creme brulee (The Feast); thanking the volunteers (especially the improvisation between Parvathy Baul (India) and So (Japan); Julia Varley's smile; dancing like a mad woman to Latin American music (dancing with Brigitte); laying on Danish soil gazing at the sky; the conversation about a performance based on the book of Genesis and placed in 11th & 12th century churches; eating supper in the Odin library with remaining guests; sharing it all with you before I fall over and into bed.


11 Jun.         I couldn't post any of the workshop photos before the Feast as our masks and costumes were to be a complete surprise. Here's how I spent some of my time in Holstebro...