Sat. Oct 19th, 2019

The Ulysses syndrome at the Avignon Festival | Babelia

In the program of Festival of Avignon, the great French appointment of the scenic arts that is celebrated until the 23 of July, there is nothing less than three Odysseys, a Aeneid and one Orestiada, in an edition focused on reexamining the founding myths of our civilization. "Europe must not forget that it is, above all, cultural. Born of culture and is the daughter of culture, "says the director of the French festival, Olivier Py, who has used the Greco-Roman heritage classics to illuminate the black current of the continent. "The Europe that lives blind to what happens in the Mediterranean is not the Europe of culture," says Py.

Every midday, in a public garden in the center of Avignon, the initiatory journey of Ulysses is recited by a group of actors of various origins, together with young people from the periphery of the city. The function is directed by the French Blandine Savetier, which summarizes the Homeric account in 13 episodes, as if it were a season of any successful series. Consequently, each delivery ends in cliffhanger and incites the binge watching, consisting of returning at the same time the next day. In the afternoon, the Brazilian Christiane Jatahy he takes over O agora that delay, second part of the diptych Our Odyssey, with which this director of Rio de Janeiro wants to question the legacy of the literary monument.

If in the previous work Jatahy compared the point of view of the protagonist with that of Penelope, proving that there was no passivity in his long wait, in this new chapter the director is going to look for "the Ulysses of today" that populate border areas and ghettos urban, forced to abandon their countries by wars as bloody as that of Troy. "What we live in today is tragic. That's why we resort to tragedy. The mythological stories help us understand our present, "says Jatahy. Your work talks about borders. The ones that separate us from our neighbors. Those that divide the present and the past. Those that divide the artistic languages.

The stage is dominated by a cinema screen where Jatahy shows the videos he shot in Palestine, Lebanon, Greece and South Africa with refugees who used to work as actors before embarking on their trips. Recite the original verses with grieving faces and endow them with that truth that only those who have lived in their flesh treasure. Inside the room, several spontaneous camouflaged ones among the public get up and react to what they see on the screen, like a Greek choir of the 21st century. None is a migrant, but they all carry family histories of exodus and uprooting. This applauded work, which will be seen in the autumn High Season festival (Girona), deactivates the political discourse that points to the foreigner as an intruder. Jatahy herself demonstrates this by taking the floor in the final section, when she leads us to the Amazon to reveal a family secret, while questioning the Kayapó peoples, exiles of themselves who live in Bolsonaro's Brazil. "It is also a work tinged with utopia: that of changing a future that, without our noticing, has just begun," concludes Jatahy.

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