The window of AstaroTheatro is blossoming.
This plant ‘starred’ two years ago in Monsieur Teste by Paul Valéry.
Impressive how this life managed to survive so long in its little vase. Apparently it feels at home in the window of Amsterdam’s smallest theatre, amidst the energy of so many other theatre practitioners around it.
As the blossoming of these bright colourful flowers provides a sense of inspiration and continuity, it’s also a reminder of what theatre is all about: tenacity, obstinacy, dedication, resurrection and eternal activism.
In these pandemic times where every aspect of social life, every human contact must be carefully and painfully reconsidered, theatre stands naked in front of huge challenges.
Theatre as we know it in AstaroTheatro is a community ritual.
It is assembly, it is presence, it is an unceasing flow of energy.
In AstaroTheatro, even in its spatial limits, theatre has always been the most collective, shared act imaginable with a high human density.
Moreover: what is the ethics of ‘producing theatre’ in covid-19 times?
How can we make theatre while the world is sick, people die, toxic capitalism grasps its chances to profit from the crisis and health workers fight daily between life and death after decades of being neglected by austerity policies? Shouldn’t we, the theatre practitioners, take a step back and stop in silent respect in the face of the ‘real’ tragedy of the disease?
At the same time, how to forget that theatre is also urgency, necessity? And given that theatre is presence, then it needs to be present not only ‘before’ but also right now. Theatre can be more real than reality… More necessary than reality itself.
The Hamletic dilemma of ‘to make or not to make theatre’ is somehow odious. And AstaroTheatro has decided to go beyond this dualism in the name of necessity and urgency. Also now we need artistic expression as ‘an affirmation of our human dignity and a call for political awareness’. The work that AstaroTheatro has done for years in creating a community, promoting awareness and participating to Our Footsteps Collective for making theatre with refugees and migrants will not stop because of the virus. Theatre is and will remain an act of protest against isolation and individualism. Right here right now.
Eternally grateful to this blossoming for this moment of reflexion
Picture by Tatjana Todorovic