When last year’s edition came to an end, we started to imagine this XV edition as a rite/party of passage, a chance for wrapping up all these years, searching through the past and the present – that are actually the same, as the former echoes through the latter. We conceived the idea of an archive, a catalogue; not a plain catalogue but a chain of thoughts, a map in the making: talks like rivers, gazes like squares, ways of being together.
In the first months of the health and social emergency that characterised 2020, we thought we might have had to cancel this year’s festival and reinvent it, perhaps launching an edition “on paper” (the idea of the archive appeared again). This did not mean merely to renounce our live performances, but to stop and think and observe things in a different way.
Then the possibility of the festival actually taking place arose, we could recompose the community of artists, spectators and operators that constitute Short Theatre. So, complying with the safety measures required by the emergency, we devised a festival structured differently: with bigger locations and a sweeter, dreamlike atmosphere.
For the fifteenth time we’ll meet up to share words and ways to become real, find oneself and one other and imagine the next editions: in the near and in the distant future.
We’ll try to decipher our new present through the languages of performance, theatre, dance, conversations, music. Some old projects will have new forms, as the blend of Panorama Roma with Fabulamundi, the Resident Projects that will run throughout the festival, the music appointments of Controra, that this year will be more precious than ever as it will renounce its subversive and unifying character. The festival will open in the WeGil and then unfold with Tempo Libero and its workshops at Teatro India and then with the performances in programme at the Pelanda and Teatro Argentina.
The lines you are reading have been the first ones drafted for a catalogue that we thought could include all these intentions and deviations: firstly a chain of thoughts and conversations to retrace the first fifteen years of Short Theatre, secondly the attempt to decipher this unexpected present through the dialogue with the artists and all the people who experience the festival. We felt we needed to address the artists, to involve them in the storytelling of the festival: we asked them not only to take a stand through their works but also answering some questions that came up during the organisation of the festival. So a choir of voices and bodies will animate, embody and narrate the unfolding of the festival, starting a contagion – the only one we wish for! – of words and images.
One of the things we are fond of is the choice of a tagline. A sentence, a word able to represent the structure of the festival, the atmosphere we perceive in the final phase of the organisation. It isn’t a theme or a title but rather a track, a condensation of a collective act of creation and curation. The huge complexity of these days urges us to subtract, even when it comes to words. This year’s edition of Short Theatre won’t have a tagline, hoping that the reduction of signs – instead of a multiplication – will help new meanings come to the surface.
This catalogue contains conversations with artists, theorists, curators, activist, critics, some of whom we already knew and some we got to know for the first time. The presentations of the programme and the theoretical notes are the result of conversations – real or imagined, direct or indirect – with the group of people that made Short Theatre 2020. These conversations deal with time, the geography of love and space where our actions happen and with all those things, people, images, themes and thoughts that revolve around it and nurture it. Such conversations have always happened during the festival, and this year we will transform them into a guidebook.