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What a journey it has been: ­ Divina Commedia Theatre Project – a multi­cultural ­ project whose purpose has been to translate Dante’s ­ beautiful and powerful c­ lassic, Divina Commedia, into ­ theatre. I never could imagine in the beginning, how well the plan to make a theatrical journey through hell, purgatory and ­paradise, would write itself into real life of all the participants in it. Miira Sippola artis tic leader, theatre director and writer in Myllyteatteri, Finland

Divina Commedia Theatre Project 2011–12


A rtists in volved in th e core team

Director ’s a ssi stant in F inl and Mirva A nj ala (FIN )

A c tors Id a l otta Backman J a a k ko Kiljunen Ul l a Raitio Tu o mas Tulikorpi (FIN ) Yu k o Takeda (JAP ) Di a n a Niepce An d r é Salvador F á b i o Moreira S u sa na Nunes (POR ) Na n t ia Papatheodorou (GRE ) Ou t i Condit Ka t a riina Jumppanen J o n i Saarela M i i k ka Tuominen Pi l v i Hämäläinen Ii d a Rauhalamm i (FIN ) M a k sim Pavlenko (RU S) Ak v i le Ruzgyte (LTN ) S o fi a Ramos Ta n i a Chita Vi c e nte de Sá J o a o Bandeira (POR )

Director an d writer Miira Sippola (FIN )

Sc enogra pher Ai l i Oj alo (FIN ) Cos tume designer S a r a Machado da Graca (POR ) Lig h t designers An a í sa Guerreiro (POR ) M a t t i Jykylä (FIN ) Com p oser s & So und designer s Ru i Lima and S é r g io Martins (POR ) J o h a nna Storm Ti mo Muurinen (FIN ) Voi c e trainer Pi a S kibdahl (FIN ) Ch oreo gra phical assistan ce Pi i a Peltola (FIN ) Di a n a Bastos (POR )

Dramat ur gi st Maria K ilpi (FIN ) G iorgos K orm anos (GRE ) Writer s Marko Järvikallas I ira H alttunen O kko L eo P ips a L onka Jani Manninen Maria P eura Satu R as ila P aula Salm inen Miira Sippola Pro ducer s Jos é A lberto Ferreira I nes P inelas (POR ) T ia K alenius K atri Bj örklund O uti Salo (FIN ) Exe cuti ce pro ducer A rlinda R ibeiro Re si den cy an d pro duction a ssi stan ce O bras A rt / L udger van der E erden C arolien van der L aan Sti ll P hoto gra phs H eli Sorj onen (FIN ) Joana R icardo (POR ) Fi lm shootin g Jos é R icardo B arros o (POR ) T ia K alenius (FIN ) P R in Portuga l Joana R icardo

O rg ani zed by M y l l yteatteri (Fin) Co l e cção B, Ass ociação C ultural (P or) Ar t S yndicate (Gre) Partner F o u n dation Obras Su p p orted by EACEA Na t i onal Stage Art Counc il of Finland Na t i onal Art Council of Finland Ed u c ation and Culture Mi nis try Of Finland He l sinki City Culture Ce nter Go v e rno de Portugal, Sec retário de Es tado   d a Cultura, Direcção-G eral das A rtes Pa r c eria com Fundação Eu génio de A lm eida,  CHAIA da Universidade de É vora

FOR MORE INFORMATION w w w . my l l y t e a t t e r i . fi w w w . e sc r i t a n a p a i sa g e m. n e t w w w . a r t - sy n d i c a t e . o r g w w w . o b r a s- a r t . o r g w w w . fa b e b o o k . c o m/ M y l l y t e a t t e r i w w w . fa c e b o o k . c o m/ Esc r i t a n a p a i sa g e m w w w . y o u t u b e . c o m/ u se r / M y l l y t e a t t e r i


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Di v i n a Co mme d i a Th e a t r e Pr o je c t 2 0 1 1 – 1 2


Index 5 Preword 6 Description of the Project 8 The Workplan and its Development

The original workplan The actual workplan T h e c h a n g e s w e su g g e st e d t o o u r eacea o ffi c e r a n d g o t a p e r mi ssi o n fo r t h e m

14 The Outcomes

T h e i n i t i a l p r o je c t o b je c t i v e s A n o v e r v i e w o f t h e p r o je c t r e su l t s

22 Different Perspectives Along the Process 24  Diary of the Director of Myllyteatteri 46  Presentation of the Director of Escrita Na Paisagem -festival 50  Diary of an Actor 78 Advices

Editor Miira Sippola P hoto gra phs H eli Sorj onen (H S) A ntonia T avares (AT ) Joana R icardo (JR ) Y uko T akeda (YT ) I dalotta B ackm an (IB ) O uti Salo (O S) Miira Sippola (MS) Mário Matos R os a (MMR ) D iana B as tos (DB ) Gra phi c de si gn Jani P ulkka Printing adigi, H els inki 2013 2nd edition

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In d e x


Preword

W

e have finished The Divina Commedia Theatre Project 2011– 12 succesfully. From this experience, I would like to say: it is a bigger thing than You can imagine, to make an international theatre-cooperation. Each project is different and formed by its organizers but there are several things that in our view are good to take into consideration. We share here some insights to our Divina Commedia Theatre Project. We also have collected some advices here. We hope You can find in this booklet some inter­esting and useful points, to be used creatively­. We are happy yet tired after our work. The project has been demanding, yet giving. We are not the same after it. We wish good luck for Your project!

On b e h a l f o f t h e Pr o je c t , In Kr a k o w on Finland’s In d e p e n d e n c e Da y De c 6 t h , 2 0 1 2

MS

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M iira Sip p ol a Ar t i st i c d i r e c t o r Of M y l l y t e a t t e r i , Th e a t r e d i r e c t o r a n d Wr i t e r

Pr e w o r d


Description of the Project (as it was said in the application e-form)

‘T

he Divina Commedia Theatre Project is a joint project of thea­ tre artists from three EU border states – Finland, Greece and Portugal. The organisers of the Divina Project are Myllyteatteri, Art Syndicate and Colecção B, Associação Cultural. The project aims to develop a unique language of theatre and stage methodology by bring­ing together and building on the professional experience and knowledge of the participants in interesting geographical locations. In the Divina Project, Dante Alighieri’s work La Divina Commedia­ will be used to challenge the project group into a dialogue on ethical issues and visions arising from our common European heritage, and to view the work from today’s perspective. The artistic ideas and skills of the project group will be carefully assessed and developed in three workshops, a script brainstorming workshop in Finland, a kick-off work­shop in Greece, and a starting point workshop in Portugal, in which students of a Portuguese university are invited to join the Divina­ Project. - - -”

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De sc r i p t i o n o f t h e Pr o je c t

OS


The Workplan and its Development

D ivina C omm edia T heatre P roj ect 2 0 1 1 – 1 2

The original workplan Start date: 01/05/2011

Activity ( b r i e f d e s c r ip t i o n )

From – to

Co u n t r y a n d Lo c a t i o n

Name of coordinator/co-organiser/ partner in the eligible country responsible and involved

Script brain­ storming workshop

01/05/2011 05/05/2011

He l s i n k i , F i n l a n d

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry

2 Ki c k - o f f w o r ks h o p

09/06/2011 15/09/2010

Gr e e c e , At h e n s

Ar t S y n d i c a t e - Cu l t u r a l Ac t i v i t i e s

3 Scriptwriting

01/07/2011 31/07/2011

Vi r t u a l l y t h r o u g h t h e In t e r n e t

M y l l y t e a t t e r i - y h d i s t y s r y / Ar t S y n d i c a t e - Cu l t u r a l Ac t i v i t i e s / Co l e c ç ã o B, As s o c i a ç ã o Cu l t u r a l

4 S t a r t i n g - p o i nt workshop

01/08/2010 06/09/2010

Po r t u g a l , Es t r e m o z

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry

5 D a i l y r e h e a r s a l s

01/08/2011 19/09/2011

Po r t u g a l , Ev o r a , Ev o r a­m o n t e a n d Es t r e m o z

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry

6 Pe r f o r m a n c e s o f Divina Commedia as p a r t o f F e s t i va l E s c r i t a n a P a is a g e m

20/09/2011 26/09/2011

Po r t u g a l , Al e n t e j o

Co l e c ç ã o B, As s o c i a ç ã o Cu l t u r a l

7 D a i l y r e h e a r sa l s

05/10/2011 15/10/2011

F i n l a n d , He l s i n k i

Myllyteatteri ry

8 Pe r f o r m a n c e s o f D i v i n a C o m m e di a in Cable Factory

16/10/2011 30/10/2011

F i n l a n d , He l s i n k i

Myllyteatteri

9 In t e r i m w o r k s h o p

30/10/2011 31/10/2011

F i n l a n d , He l s i n k i

Myllyteatteri

1 0 Tr a i n i n g w o r k s h o p a n d p e r f o r m a nc e i n t h e N e t h e r ­l a n d s in the winter 2012

01/01/2012 31/03/2012

Ne t h e r l a n d s

M y l l y t e a t t e r i / Ar t S y n d i c a t e Cu l t u r a l Ac t i v i t i e s

1 1 Pu b l i c a t i o n a n d documentary

01/04/2012 30/04/2012

Finland

Myllyteatteri

1

0 8—— 0 9

En d d a t e : 3 0 / 0 4 / 2 0 1 2

Th e Wo r k p l a n a n d i t s De v e l o p me n t


The actual workplan

The changes we suggested to our EACEA officer and got a permission for them

Start date: 10/05/2011 End date: 31 / 1 2 / 2 0 1 2

A c t i vity ( b r i ef description) 1

2

S c r i pt writing

S c r i pt brain­ s t o r ming workshop

Name of coordinator/co-organiser/ partner in the eligible country responsible and involved

From – to

C ountry and L ocation

10/05/2011 31/07/2011

V irtually through the I nternet, at O bras A rt recidency P ortugal and in H elsinki Finland

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / ArtSyndicate - Cultural Activities / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

15/05/2011 19/05/2011

E vora, P ortugal

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / ArtSyndicate - Cultural Activities / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

3 Da i l y rehearsals, F i n l and

01/08/2011 11 /10/2011

H elsinki, Finland

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry

4 Pe r f ormances of Di v i na Commedia i n Ca ble Factory: S u v i lahti

12 /10/2011 05/11/2011

H elsinki, Finland

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry

5 In t e rim workshops v o l . 1 and vol.2

28/10/2011 31/10/2011

V irtually through the I nternet

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / ArtSyndicate - Cultural Activities / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

6 D r a m aturgic d e v e lopment o f t h e script

28/11/2011 15 /02/2012

H elsinki, Finland and E voramonte, P ortugal

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / ArtSyndicate - Cultural Activities / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

7 T r a n slating t h e s cript

16/02/2012 31 /03/2012

E spoo, Finland and L isbon, P ortugal

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / ArtSyndicate - Cultural Activities / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

8 K i c k Off -workshop i n At hens

18/02/2012 26 /02/2012

A thens, G reece

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / ArtSyndicate - Cultural Activities / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

9 In t e nsive product i o n summit (4 days)

01 /03/2012 25 /04/2012

E vora, E voramonte E stremoz, P ortugal

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

1 0 D i r e ction plan

18 /02/2012 01 /05/2012

Finland, P ortugal, G reece

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry

1 1 S t a r ting point ­w o r k shop vol 2

28/05/2012 02/06/2012

E vora, P ortugal

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / ArtSyndicate - Cultural Activities / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

1 2 D a i l y rehearsals, Po r t ugal

04 /06/2012 03 /07/2012

E vora, E voramonte E stremoz, P ortugal

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / ArtSyndicate - Cultural Activities / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

1 3 P e r f ormances of Di v i na Commedia as p a r t of Festival Es c r ita na Paisagem

04/07/2012 07/07/2012

A lentejo, P ortugal

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / ArtSyndicate - Cultural Activities / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

1 4 P r e p arations for c o n n ections to a r r a nge workshop a n d p erformances i n t h e Netherlands

01/11/2011 31/10/2012

Amsterdam, Netherlands H elsinki, Finland

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry

1 5 P u b l ication and d o c u mentation

10/05/2011 31/12/2012

Finland and P ortugal

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

1 6 A d m i nistration and p r o j ect management

10/05/2011 31/12/2012

Finland, P ortugal

Myllyteatteri-yhdistys ry / Colecção B, Associação Cultural

D ivina C omm edia T heatre P roj ect 2 0 1 1 – 1 2

B e f o r e s t a r t in g t h e w h o l e p r o j e c t , w e r e organized the order of our activities by making the workplan so that instead of making f i r s t t h e p e r f o r m a n c e i n Po r t u g a l a t a s i t e s p e c i f i c l o c at i o n , a n d t h e n b r i n g i n g i t t o Finland very soon after that, to be performed inside, we first will make the production in F i n l a n d i n s i de , t h e n a l l o w t i m e f o r f u r t h e r d e v e l o p m e n t , a n d t h e n g a t h e r i n Po r t u g a l t o make our final effort at the site specific i n t h e p r o j e c t . Th i s a l s o l e n g h t e n e d t h e p r o j e c t f r o m o n e y e a r t o 2 0 m o n t h s . Th i s w a s agreed by all organizers, the changes were m a d e i n t o t h e w o r k p l a n a n d w h e n signing the contract with EACEA , w e a l r e a d y h a d t h e n e w t i m e t a b l e f o r o u r activities. A c tiv ity 4 A d d e d : A S u z u k i Ac t i n g M e t h o d a n d V i e w p o i n t s - wo r k s h o p l e a d b y a c t o r El l e n L a u r e n f r o m U S A, w a s a r r a n g e d i n He l s i n k i 26.10.–31.10. 2012, with 20 participants + demonstration with 72 participants to see it.* The technical equipment rents re­l a t e d to the performances in Finland, are not included in this budget, but we rented them out f r o m t h e EU- b u d g e t . A c tiv ity 6 w a s a d d e d l a t e r a n d a c c e p t e d b y EACEA: Based on the experiences in Finland, we developed the script further; cut something; a d d e d s o m e t h in g ; a n d t h o u g h t w h a t t h e c h a n g e o f t h e c o n t e x t ( p e r f o r m i n g i n Po r ­t u ­g a l ) w i l l r e q u i r e f r o m Di v i n a Co m m e d i a - s c r i p t w e h a d so far. This lead to a whole new script put together by Miira Sippola for the summer 2012. The work took the whole spring, and was fini s h e d b e f o r e g a t h e r i n g t o g e t h e r i n Po r t u g a l in May 2012. This working period included a trip to Portugal in January-February 2012. A c tiv ity 7 T r a n s l a t i n g t h e s c r i p t ( i n En g ­ l i s h a s w e l l as i n Po r t u g e s e ) w a s d o n e i n May 2012. This activity was added later and a c c e p t e d b y EACEA . A c tiv ity 8 T h e a c t i v i t y w a s m o d e r a t e d s l i g h t l y d u e t o c h a n g e s w i t h t h e Gr e e k partner, and the changes were accepted by EACEA : T h i s ac t i v i t y w a s a w o r k s h o p f o r t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of Di v i n a Pr o j e c t . Th e a r t i s t i c director of the project travelled to meet

1 0—— 1 1

t h e Gr e e k p a r t i c i p a n t s a n d p l a n t h e s u m m e r ’ s p r o d u c t i o n . Na t i o n a l r a d i o c h a n e l i n t e r v i e w s w a s d o n e . Th e b u d g e t c h a n g e a c c e p t e d b y EACEA w a s d o n e : t r a v e l c o s t s w e r e s m a l l e r than planned: instead of 6 only 1 person t r a v e l l e d t o Gr e e c e f r o m F i n l a n d . A c tiv ity 9 In t e n s i v e Pr o d u c t i o n S u m m i t w a s a d d e d l a t e r a n d a c c e p t e d b y EACEA : i n t e n s i v e meeting of the director and visual designer f r o m F i n l a n d a n d l i g h t d e s i g n e r f r o m Po r ­ t u g a l , a d d e d w i t h m e e t i n g w i t h Po r t u g e s e a c t o r s a n d t h e w h o l e Po r t u g e s e f e s t i v a l o r g a n i z e r s ’ t e a m . Th e p u r p o s e o f t h i s s u m m i t was to share all the tecnical information a n d n e e d s f o r t h e Po r t u g a l p r o d u c t i o n t o b e realized succesfully in June–July 2012. Tr a v e l c o s t s o f t h e S u m m i t w e r e a d d e d t o t h e b u d g e t a n d a c c e p t e d b y EACEA . A c tiv ity 1 0 Di r e c t i n g p l a n f o r t h e f i n a l p r o d u c t i o n i n Po r t u g a l , a c t i v i t y w a s a d d e d l a t e r a n d a c c e p t e d b y EACEA . A c tiv ity 1 3 In o u r b u d g e t , t h e s h e e t 1 i , which is related to this activity (perform a n c e s i n Po r t u g a l ) , t h e t e c h i n a l e q u i p m e n t rent costs are bigger than in our estimated b u d g e t , b e c a u s e t h e b i l l o f t h e t e c h n i c a l­ renting company includes the technical staff, which we estimated separately for the sheet 1d. Th e r e w e r e a d d i t i o n a l a c t i v i t i e s w h i c h a r e n o t i n t h e Wo r k Pr o g r a m : • We p r e s e n t e d Di v i n a Co m m e d i a i n 4 S h o w c a s e s i n Au g u s t 2 0 1 2 : i n t w o s h o w c a s e - h a p p e n i n g a t Ta m p e r e Th e a t r e f e s t i v a l , a n d i n t w o S h o w c a s e s i n He l s i n k i . • We p e r f o r m e d Di v i n a Co m m e d i a i n ­M a c e d o n i a , S k o p j e , a t S k u p i ITF ­f e s t i v a l , w h e r e w e a l s o w o n t h e Gr a n d Pr i x Pr i z e o f t h e f e s tival. • Pr e s s c o n f e r e n c e s a n d m e e t i n g s a r e n o t mentioned separately in the activities b u t w e r e s e v e r a l o f t h e m : 1 0 . 1 0 . 2 0 1 1 i n He l s i n k i , b e f o r e t h e p e r f o r m a n c e s i n He l s i n k i , 3 1 . 1 0 . 2 0 1 1 i n He l s i n k i a t t h e S u z u k i Wo r k s h o p De m o n s t r a t i o n , In At h e n s 2 4 . 2 . 2 0 1 2 , In Ev o r a 1 4 . 6 . 2 0 1 2 , In Vi l a ­V i c o s a 6 . 7 . 2 0 1 2

Th e Wo r k p l a n a n d i t s De v e l o p me n t


yt

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Di v i n a Co mme d i a Th e a t r e Pr o je c t 2 0 1 1 – 1 2


The Outcomes

“What were the initial project objectives and how have they been achieved?”

T

he main objective of the Divina Project was, by bringing togeth­ er and building on the professional experience and knowledge of the participants from different parts of Europe, to develop a unique language of theatre and stage methodology and perform a theatrical adaptation of Dante’s Divina Commedia, in interesting geo­ graphical locations. In relation to this aim, The Divina Project aimed to study the different dimensions and timelessness of Dante’s classic in the context of present-day Europe, and to create discussion and theatre­ based on the work. During nearly 2 years’ time we wrestled with the European classic and its themes with the Pan-European team, having workshops on the themes and theatre technics, resulting methodolog­ical learning and de­ velopment of the theatre makers involved. All this work created a good bottom for the final working period, which happened in the summer 2012 in the intensive collaboration of Greeks, Portuguese and Finnish members in a 7-week working period in Portugal. The final result was seen at a site specific, a beautiful marble quarry in Portugal, where the artistic results were celebrated by full audiences at the Portuguese Escrita Na Paisagem -festival. The economical crisis in Europe, and especially in Greece and Portugal, developed and deepened hand in hand with The Divina Project. This caused even deeper discussion and concrete facing of the human issues of crisis and its reasons, than we ever could imagine when starting the project. The performance with all its multi-cultural efforts was one big happening in the Alentejo-district in Portugal which was also suffering the results of the economical crisis. The artistic result was unique and something new artistically was found through it and in it. The Divina Project also wanted to study the way in which theatre work changes and develops by time, is enriched and acquires new forms

(as it was said in the final report)

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Th e Ou t c o me s


when implemented internationally. The final result could not have been possible without all the work and experience that the team had developed and achieved during the course of the project from its beginning in May 2011. We did the first performance in Finland as the first imple­ mentation and work-in-progress, shared it with audiences, had a reevaluation and developed the work further. This development was necessary for the artistic results which were seen at the final performance in Portugal. The development lead the team with the director, into a whole new script and direction which was then done in Portugal. The different characters of the multi-cultural team, their different backgrounds and talents enriched the artistic results enormously. The choice of post-industrial locations where the both performances were performed, served the artistic goals and also coincided with EU strategies on sustainable rural development. In Finland the first version of the Divina Commedia -performance was performed in a former­ factory, and in Portugal we performed at the abandoned marble quarry, and turned the old industrial area into totally new use, where it was seen as the ground for dealing with deep human issues, troubles, sorrows and joys. Our plan was to tour the final performance of the project to other locations in Europe. We toured in Macedonia at an international theatre festival. Our performance was announced the “best performance” and we wan the “Grand Prix Prize” of the Skupi-festival 2012.

“Please provide an overview of the project results”

T

he main result of the project is the artistic development and creation of a unique theatrical language, gained professional knowledge and an international theatre collective which was established due to the good artistic results and atmosphere among the whole Pan-European team, and the future plans that have been seeded for future collaborations between the artists of the Divina Project team. As the performance is based on Dante’s structure of hell, purgatory and paradise, and it is a theatrical translation of the great piece of literature, the artistic founding’s, which were done from the common cultural background, were somehow familiar to everyone. An important result is the bridge being built from the former European thinking and culture to the contemporary one. We created a story in theatrical form, which can be related to Euro­ pean crisis and collaborative project in the political level also. In Portu­ gal we did it in rural areas and created a good energy to our surroundings through our work. The Project has resulted good European level co­operation, which has shone to people around the core team.

M YLLYTEATTERI

Jumalainen näytelmä

Esitykset 12.10. - 5.11.2011 Suvilahden Tiivistämö, Kaasutehtaankatu 1, Helsinki

HS

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JR

Th e Ou t c o me s

DB


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Di v i n a Co mme d i a Th e a t r e Pr o je c t 2 0 1 1 – 1 2


mr m

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Di v i n a Co mme d i a Th e a t r e Pr o je c t 2 0 1 1 – 1 2


MS

os

OS

OS

ms

MS

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Different Perspectives along the Process

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Di ffe r e n t Pe r sp e c t i v e s a l o n g t h e Pr o c e ss


Spring, Summer and Autumn 2010

Diary of the Director of Myllyteatteri

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he planning of the project started in the spring 2010. I had just recently directed a big Easter play, Via Crucis in Helsinki and I had with my team of 70 people transformed the streets and buildings of Helsinki downtown area into site specific stage. I had got a taste of working with a big crew on big outside space. Right after this work I had a work-in-residency in Portugal, at Ob­ ras Art residency to which I had applied for a writing work earlier. One Sunday morning the keeper of the residency took me to visit a marble quarry nearby. He had a dream to turn it into an art park and his excite­ ment about the place was clear to me before going there. And when I saw this gorgeaus place formed by nature and man, white stone walls and the lake in the middle, an old idea stopped me. It was an idea which had been hidden in my mind since a theatre workshop some years earlier, when I was studying a very rigorous Suzuki Acting Method in the United States, and the text we were using, were the first lines from Dan­ te’s Commedia: Midways in our lives’ journey / I found myself in dark woods / the right road lost. / To tell about those woods is har / so tangled and rough and savade / that thinking of it now / I feel the old fear sturring. / Death is hardly more bitter. I had spoken those lines in all possible physical positions; I was able to speak them whispering and loud. I had decided that one day I will look at them more carefully and work with them to make Divina Commedia into theatre. When I was standing on the edge of the cliff at the marble quarry, the lines started to be whispered in my mind, and the old decision to take Divina Commedia for the basis of a theatrical project started to tremble my body. The next day I made the first draft of a plan which was to become the Divina Commedia Theatre Project. I began to shoot the director of a site specific –oriented festival in the area with this draft of the plan. The festival he leads is called “Escri­ ta na paisagem” – “Written In The Landscape”. I proposed him to start

Miira Si ppo la artis tic leader, theatre director and writer in Myllyteatteri, Finland

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the project together. Finally around Midsummer I reached him. He had read the plan, he liked it and promised to come along. Through the common theatre studies I found another organization from, a cultural organization and theatre company, Art Syndicate, lead by Giorgos. During the autumn 2010 we planned forward. I did quite a work with the producer of my Helsinki-based theatre group and all the time we were in Skype and email-contact with the partners. It took us more than 350 hours to do the EU application for the Culture Program 2007– 2013. But we posted it on time on the first of October 2010. Also we applied national financies. And posted them. Winter 2010 – Spring 2011

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hile waiting for the answers to the applications, I started to read Divina Commedia carefully, and think hard how to realize a script from the basis of it. This thinking was well on the way, when in February 2011 we got the answer: the application got through in EACEA! The plan is going to become true! A performance­ to the marble quarry, a performance also in Finland – we indeed have financies now for this!! The people mentioned in the plan, are going to get paid. I am also going to get paid! Which is not always the case in an independent theatre group where the director in employ­ing many, but often has to give up the own salary. I have no words to tell how beautiful it was to watch a budget, not a huge one but based on realism, and it is not a fiction as always a budget is when applying money in the national level. This one we would be able to realize as writ­ten! We can work from the basis of these amounts like a real professional theatre always should work. I was about to blow up of joy! At the same time with the news of the EU-decision, we got the first news in Europe about the economical crisis in Greece. Our Pan-European project which on the level of the story begins with a crisis and ends in light, has from its starting moments gone forward with the deepening­ economical crisis in Greece and later in Portugal. Also many reasons of the crisis has somewhat become obvious along the way.

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”We have not gotten anything. Our minister is very bad… ” In the autumn Giorgos leaves Athens and later the whole Greece and moves to Germany, because there is no work at the moment in Greece. For those who have, have been taken 60% of their salaries. The college of Giorgos, Emmanoui, promises to take the lead. I travel to Athens. We visit the culture ministry. There is three guards at the door smoking. ”You see, this is why the country is in crisis. They hire people to do nothing, they have no money for culture but they have 3 guys watching this door.” The office is a small room with four working tables and four chairs. Emmanouil shouts at the secretary of the ministry. I can see that the woman is trying to explain: There is a certain net site and you have to sign to it. There are clear dead lines by which you must apply money for your activities.” “You have never supported us…”, my partner yells. And when we go out, he teaches me: ”Sometimes you must be tough; Greeks are such Arabs; you must speak tough to them. I would not speak like this to all women.” I don’t ask why they are not signed in at the website and why they have not applied on time – we trusted you, we told you all along that you must have your own financing as well all do. We diminish the part of the Greek partner in the project. EACEA accepts the arrangement. Emmanoui arranges me a showcase of actors. For the Portuguese production I choose Nadja who has a gorgeous voice. She will be the Beatrice of our performance.

Inferno Autumn 2011 – Winter 2012

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umalainen näytelmä – Divina Commedia in Finnish – was made and seen in Helsinki in the autumn 2011. It was a process with a lot of written material of Finnish playwrights based on Dante’s Commedia, the material of the actors, and my directorial ideas. It was too much material to make the kind of bright journey of the human mind which Dan­te’s Commedia is. It lead me as director to the dark woods and also my group. However, we succeeded in making a touching, visual play out of all the vast bank of material we had. That was our work-in-process of Divina Commedia Theatre Project, performed in Helsinki on Oct 12 – Nov 5. After this process, and after some travelling in the Netherlands to meet possible future partners in performing the coming final product of the Proj­ect, I concentrated in the deepening of the material and the whole stage work. I started to write a whole new script from the bottom­ of Divina Commedia, and I started to find the form which I thought was needed to follow the ideas of Dante: the symphonic approach to theatre. This is something I had always been looking for in theate anyways. Together with the artistic work, the practical arrangements were continued. Here are some notes form them: An e-mail from Giorgos: “When are we getting our 12,000 euros?” The 12,000 euros, which was the amount of the Greek own financing. I together with the producer of Myllyteatteri and coordinator of the whole project, explained once again: All partners must arrange at least half of their budget from own financing. Your EU support is half. 12,000 is the amount of the money you have promised with the mandate to put to the Project yourselves. “But we don’t have any 12,000 euros.” “You don’t have any own financing. But in the mandate you have promised…”

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Spring 2012

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also travel in Portugal, In January and again in April. I climb at the quarry to check routes for actors there. The director of the festival, José, has arranged me a meeting with the Portuguese actors. I meet Diana, who is an acrobat, and actors André and Fabio. José also worriedly explains to me about the financial situation in the country and in their festival. He himself has been taken out 40% of his salary at the university where he teaches, without thw work dimin-

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ishing. I am emphatic but ask strictly: ”But you are responsible of the production of the performance. Can you still take care of everything that has been promised? We will have an outdoor stage of 120 × 70 m and 14 actors in different corners of this vast space. It is going to be a visual­ performance, and we are going to need all the lights, sound system and everything.” I get a positive answer. We go together to the quarry. We see it from different angles with the scenographer and light designer. I promise to send the new script to everyone, as soon as it has been translated into Portuguese and English.

people takes Obras Art residency as its home for the next seven weeks to come. Each one has a big, shared room with a kitchen and a bathroom. Around us there are fields with sheep, chicken on the ground, and two horses on the field near the house. June 2012

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t is our first rehearsal day at the quarry. The road grows hay like a jungle. The Sun is hot, it’s about 32 degrees. I’m taking my team to the platform from where we have planned the audience to watch the performance. Everyone says that the place is gorgeous. Amazing. And very rough. That’s what it is. I point every actor their own platform around the lake. And so the first day goes: actors cutting grass and cleaning their platforms for them to be safe to move around. Loose stones fall to the lake. We find a boat and row with it along the lake to explore the possible hidden rocks in the lake for no one to hurt themselves. I phone José and ask for the boats we have ordered. From this moment on, I realize that the production with quite small staff is having hard time in keeping up with the rhythm of the work at the quarry. During the days we usually work in the studio of the residency. We test scenes there, keep up with the movement language of each character and form scenes from all this. In the afternoon after the lunch break, and when the Sun is not at the highest point, we drive to the quarry. We test the scenes there first on the audience platform. The actors row, swim or climb to the different sides of the quarry to their own places, and we start rehearsing everything in the actual places. There is always the same note: nothing seems to be enough in this place. The energy level must be high and movements clear and big. We are learning the aesthetics of the big outdoor space, yet not forgetting the detailed work we are wanting for the performance. The rehearsals at the quarry last usually not later than half past nine in the evening. Then we drive home to our residency and start cooking­.

Purgatory May 2012

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e have our new starting workshop in Evora. When I walk in front of the team, I burst in tears. I have waited this moment for so long. I have worked for this for 2 years and changed roles and positions from artistic director, to writer, and now finally I can start to do the actual work as director of the performance. I now have under me the script which I fully trust to function as a good bottom for the work: to make the dada that I see in Dante, through the most classical structure: a journey to the underworld and back. I can feel the kind of symphonic theatre burning as a possibility inside me, to start being realized with real people in real space and time. Everyone has read the script in their own languages. I know that actors know more than they realize themselves. We begin right away to create the characters of the performance. Already after the first day I know that they have been found and seed have been created. And after the intensive week of the workshop we can conclude that we have made a draft of every scene already. I prepare everyone of the outside place at the marble quarry where we will move after this week. And during the weekend out team of 20

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It is always past midnight, or after one, or two, when the place gets silent again. The stars are shining bright, an owl is shouting, a horse is moving to the other side of the house. And when the morning arises, we are awaken by the bells of running sheep, when they change their grassy field. I wake up every day before 7 to plan the day. At half past ten or eleven o’clock we begin again the rehearsals. There is no difference whether the person comes from Portugal or Finland or Greece – some are always on time, some always late. But Yuko from Japan is always early. After one week of rehearsals, José send us an angel from Heaven. She is Arlinda, a local manager. She puts all arrangements forward, and creates peace just with her great presence. She brings us the boats we have waited, and in some time the men from the municipality come to smoothen the road to the quarry and cut some more grass. Than evening we have our first run-through at the quarry. The acrobat Diana who is dressed in a tutu and acts the Child, swims in the lake and climbs around the quarry, as a guide to the Dante-figure whom we have named Joao played by Tuomas Tulikorpi. The Saturday is a free day to all but myself, the scenographer Aili, Diana and Arlinda spend the day at the quarry with rope guys who have come from Lisbon, to set up ropes and a slide to be used in the performance. They climb like mountain goose in all the places at the quarry, drill holes to the stone walls and set ropes. We look at them with horror and awe, for they have no security ropes or belts. “This would never be done like this in Finland”, Aili says. “In Finland such experts are kings. These experts get 70 euros a day for this. The men promise a full guarantee for their work.

and we sing from these different spots: the group finds the common sound even with the distance of over 100 meters. After the lunch we start the second half of the day. Around half past eight I make a decision that we will end the day sooner. One more take, from a song; after which Diana will slide approximately 30 meters to the other platform; then the beginning of the scene there and we go home. I have my arm up to be the sign for Diana to go. The song finishes, I put my arm down, and Diana leaves the cliff in the height of about 6 meters, for the slide. Her hand slips right in the beginning. Instantly I think: no one can slide in such speed with one arm only. Then the other hand slips. Diana falls from six meters down to the rocks. I yell. Many yell. This is it. This is crazy. God. Why do we do this. Please let her live. Diana lies on the stones. She is breathing, she is conscious, and she tells orders like a trainer­ or coach: ”Breath, one two three, everyone breaths now, one two three. My left side hurts. Do not panic. Do not touch my left side. Lift me. One two three NOW.” Someone cries, someone is laughing in panic, the third is pale. Dia­ na gives orders, how she must be lifted to the boat, from the boat, to the audience platform. My hands are shaking. Diana must not get wounded nor die. ”Sing, sing, sing,” she shouts. Everyone looks at each other­ with awe: what does she mean? I get it and start to sing the first melody­ that comes to my mind, the song I used to sing to my child in the even­ ings when she was little. Everyone smoothens Diana, who is lying on the stone platform in her bikini, her left arm loose but alive. We put all the clothes we can find on her. I sing until the ambulance men come. Dia­ na says to them strictly, with her lips blue: ”I am an acro­batic dancer”. After the first aid, the ambulance starts bringing Diana to the hospital of Evora. I’m thinking that no one can cover from such a fall. The inner organs of the poor girl might be damaged. Her spine might have hurt. It is good that she breaths and speaks. Now we can only take it a minute by minute, and pray for the best.

The third rehearsal week

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n Monday we go to the quarry already in the morning. We sing on the audience platform and listen to the sound of the quarry. Then the actors row or climb to their own platforms

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At home in the residency we all gather to dine together. We go through the day, speak about the accident and the situation over and over again. Then at half past twelve o’clock the phone rings. Diana calls. She is coming home. Three doctors have checked her and the diagnosis is: ”The wrist is broken, there are scraches in the hips. The wrist is put in a cast and the scratches will be cured by time. She is free to go home. This is how it works in Portugal.” It does not matter that I am insisting they should keep her in control­ in the hospital tonight. Diana comes, after one at night. Her hand is in a cast and she has broozes in her body, but she comes laughing and euphoric, smoking. That night everyone is awake in the residency almost all night. Like one of the actors say: “You must celebrate a miracle.” The third rehearsal week continues

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e face the situation of going to the quarry already the next evening. Except Diana who is resting at home. During the day I have tried to think ways to continue the rehearsals. I ask Susana to take the role of the guide. We start rehearsing the play from the beginning. In the middle of the work Arlinda comes to me and says: ”Diana has phoned three times now. She is really angry and afraid she is going to be kicked out of the production. You must design her a new role, she must stay.” I have had no intention to kick Diana out. But I have no idea of her condition and I cannot ask her to play any role where she is going around at the quarry with her hand broken. I’m thinking and thinking new a solution for her and for the whole play. At the same time we are waiting for the important scenographic elements, a wooden platform to be put in the middle of the lake, and another one to the shore. Arlinda has found a good deal from Lisbon. She

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has fixed an excavator with which the platform is going to be put into its place. But everything takes time. The light designer Anaísa and sound designer Sergio work full days. Like everyone. But especially Anaísa has taken the responsibility to com­ pete the technical companies, to be sure that all the needed technical equipments will be hired. Susana rehearses intensively her new role as the guide. So does Tuo­ mas, whose route has changed with a new counter actor. Diana contin­ ues to play the Child. But her place is now taken to the front platform. While all the others are far away in their own platforms, she is literally “a forgotten child”, and it is not easy for an ambitious acrobatic to accept the more minimalistic role after the extreme rope route. The fourth week, the last final rehearsing week

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n Monday I am told that the technical budget has been cut. Anaísa explains to me worriedly: “If we don’t take the whole package, the company will not come at all.” I phone José, the festival director, and he explains: ”The municipalities­ who had to pay their share for the festival, are in crisis and they cannot pay the festival the promised money. If we are cut, we must cut. You tell me what to do.” I know that we must work on the sounds. I would have no time to think of productional issues. We work forward with the sounds. But in the back of my mind I’m thinking like crazy. In the evening I am in contact to the producer of Myllyteatteri in Finland: We need to support them. I will give up my salary from the autumn. We need the lights. The week is the most intensive of all. We rehearse the details and go once more through the whoe new dramaturgy of the performance. The days we rehearse in the studio and the evenings we are at the quarry. In the middle of all this Portuguese football team has their challenge in the European Cup which must be taken into consideration in the time table of the rehearsals. But the performance is getting brighter every hour we spend with it and also outside of it.

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The light and sound designers build through the Friday night. I have been told to sleep well that night, because we are to program lights all next night. But I do not sleep. I move around in the bed and am full of anger. All of the sudden a shot of the feeling of being betrayed has come to me: why must I be the saving anchor to the whole production? Have not the frames of the production been built to carry everyone, also my artistic process, and the job to lead this group towards a performance which has been promised to perform for the audience at the festival. I am angry at the production, angry at the residency keepers for letting me know about their suspicion that the performance will be too elitistic; I am angry at the economical crisis in Europe, and I am simply angry that sleep is running away from me right at this night when I must stay awake the next one.

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I stay so until I realize that this group of people is supporting each other. This group is even supporting me, as their director. For I know that as director one may sometimes be left alone with the responsibility. With this group of people I have not experienced this at all. I can trust everyone and they trust me. I sleep then for two hours, from 7 to 9. But when on Saturday evening, after the rehearsals we must begin the programming with Anaísa, the long working days for weeks, the leading the group over the shock of the accident, deciding the new solutions for the play to continue, and the previous night stayed awake, have made me exhausted of tireness. I realize that I have no power whatsoever to have energy and sharpness to program all next night. ”If you say so,” Anaísa says. I wonder, where the Portuguese get the strength to work all nights… The next day we program until three o’clock at night. On Monday we are going to finish the rest of the lights. It is insane, that when it has been said from the beginning, that the visual approach means so much in this performance: from the movement language of the actors to the symphonic orchestration with the costumes and lights, we are so very late with such an important element of the show. But is because of the money: in our original plan we would have build more than a week before the premier: we had to take the tightest possible plan with the technical equipments. And because of me we lost one night. And then, in the calc lines of th rehearsals and light programming, we must pay for the heavy responsibility that the light designer Anaísa had carried when besides her artistic plans she has taken care of the budgets of the technicals. Arlinda comes to me and says: “I will take Anaísa to the hospital now.” I don’t understand a thing: Arlinda doesn’t tell hat is wrong but obviously something is. The light designer Sergio comes to me now: ”Don’t worry about it now. Let’s continue the work.” And we continue. Through the night. Aili and Sara, the costume designer, play actors on their platforms, and for he first time of my life, I am programming lights. I have the connection through head phones to the technical table up the cliff, and we go through the light situation until five o’clock in the morning.

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Later the next day we hear that Anaísa has a stress stomach and it has gotten bad now. We have no real run through before the premier. It is crazy but the situation is that the lights are still not correct, and we will have no more nights after this one to fix them. So I need to stop the performance several times in the last run through and general rehearsal. My last words for the actors before the premier are: ”You know this play. Just act it and enjoy.” I don’t lie; I know they know it. At the same time I also know, that we would have needed one real run through with the lights, or two.

Nadja sings. I look at the actors who climb along the rope ladders to the audience platform, and I know that the performance is going to their hearts. The audience stands up to applause. Oh my God, it is a standing ova­tion and they are not stopping clapping in a long time. I don’t run to the bows, for it’s a long way down there. Instead, I hug my dear tecnician who has saved the performance. He says: “But you must be here beside me tomorrow too. I’m quick to learn but I don’t know this play yet, I just came here on Friday.” We have the last meeting with this group who has come so close, before the last performance during the day. Everyone has free word. And everyone speak freely. This has been an amazing process and project, a full bit of life which we have lived together many kinds of phases, accident, illnesses, jungles and troubles. But during this time we have solved everything with cooperation and common responsibility. Everyone has carried the responsibility of their own part, and th common work. No one has complained for nothing although there has been reasons for complained; no one has played big egos, everyone has concentrated on making the performance with all the artistry and will that we have for this work. Anaísa, who in the last performance get to go behind the light table to run the lights she has designed, says that after all she is happy that she fought for the lights and set the lights. Diana says that she has lived in hell but also has had the paradise around. I promise everyone to do all there is in my ability and power, to work in order us to meet and work together again. Our last performance in the Escrita na paisagem –festival is again a big success. With tears we all leave Obras Art residency, our home for seven divine weeks.

Paradiso Performances at Escrita na paisagem -festival 4.–7.7.2012

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here is half more audience than there is seats. It is rather weird to see after all the climbing and swimming in the lake, that there are two divers ready in their diving suits, standing on the edge of the audience platform through the performance, ready to dive if something happens. The accident has been in the news and after some other twisted angles and virus infection there are rumors and excitement over the quarry, and not all of it is because of the performance. But when the show which we have built for these people, who now are sitting on theirs seats on the audience platform, or standing when there is not enough seats for everyone – when the show begins, it wraps around everyone. I see it and I feel it, although I am sitting behind the light table with the technician. In the end of the performance the actors jump off from their stone prisons, swim to the bridge on the lake and everything finally quiets down. Everyone looks at Diana at the audience platform, The Child in her tutu and cast around her arm. The step to the water and swim to her: The Paradise.

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Presentation of the Director of Escrita Na Paisagem -festival

Divina Commedia in the Stage of Gradinha’s Quarry

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he structure of this show is the same that Dante used in Divina­ Comédia, the 14th century classic. There is a Hell, a Purgatory and a Paradise, and the same timeless questions raised by Dan­ te: What’s the meaning of life? What is in the core of every person? Dante’s work is focused on the epic journey of a character in crisis, and this show is built around the same existential dilemma, adapting its message to the theater of inner life. A character tries to escape from prison, from this Hell represented by his interpretation of family bonds, all in the mind’s stage. To accom­ plish that, this character will face the Purgatory’s quests and try hard to escape from it, to find the place where he fits in the world, to find Pa­ra­dise. In a moment where there is so much talking about crisis, it is important to rethink about these themes from a different and updated point of view. Divina Commedia is a theater performance, interpreted by a multidisciplinary international group, arriving from different corners of Europe and even further. Created and interpreted by a group of theater artists from Finland, Greece, Portugal and Japan, Divina Commedia­ is the result of an ongoing process between these countries. In this jour­ ney, we are led by a choir, by music and acting, just like in old Greek trag­edies, but with additional influences of Portuguese Fado music and local poets (like Florbela Espanca). In the abandoned marble quarry in Vila Viçosa, there are no boundaries for acting, for language or cultural­ barriers, therefore we can dive into this stage of the mind and its artis­ tic representations. Just like Dante’s work was written in a local dialect, Tuscan, which later developed into current Italian language, this work also intends to update how we capture different approaches, cultures and artistic languages as comprehension tools, providing us with new eyes to see the world and talk about life as Paradise for all.

T he text written by the f es tival director Jo sé Alberto Ferreira to the hand program of the perf orm ance at the m arble s ite

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May 27th, 2012 (Sun)

Diary of an Actor

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o, this is the start of a new journey of Jumalainen Näytelmä (Divine Comedy). This time we are in Portugal. Miira wrote a whole new script with a whole new story. The only things that remain from the previous script are the names of some characters. The actors. There are five of us from Finland: Jaakko, Tuomas, Ulla­, Idalotta, and me. One from Greece, and eight from Portugal. Fourteen total.

Y uko Ta ke da actress f rom Japan, writes about the process

May 28th, 2012 (Mon)

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he heat of intense presence is what makes theatre transformative. Forms, gesture, and styles are just the outcome of it. That kind of presence is generated by actors. That’s why I think it is crucial to deepen the art of acting. Presence is an invisible thing that makes everything else visible. It’s very important that one develop higher sensitivity to “see” that fact. May 29th, 2012 (Tue)

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oday’s rehearsal was spent mostly on character exploration. Every actor physically showed his/her ideas about the character, walking in a short track the director set on the stage. I was admiring other actors’ rich and radical imagination for their own characters. I, on the other hand, didn’t have much in my head to explore my character, who is a poetess who commits suicide. So, what I did was just walk as simply as I could manage. I didn’t want to “muddle” my character with my poor imagination. Rather, since she is similar to me in many ways, I thought it would be better for me to “not do anything” at all and just to be. She is obsessed with love. She is obsessed with the past, memories. She believes that she is “the one” to tell the world what

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needs to be told. Her poetry is direct and simple. Almost a naïve cry for love. Oh isn’t this what I do all the time in my writings, too? I do not know whether I’m acting a character or digging deeper into my past wounds inflicted by unrequited love. Sometimes I do feel that I have lost my mind already. What kind of reality am I living in right now? At the end of the rehearsal, we watched a documentary of Kantor. It was a painful, beautiful film. Kantor’s loneliness, pain, struggle, vigor, and passion were something that resonated with me profoundly. When something cuts deep into the soul, silence prevails. Tears are not necessarily the indicator of the profundity and the violence of human loneliness. I didn’t cry, watching the film. But my soul was deeply­ cut by it. May 30th, 2012 (Wed)

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had the morning free. Went grocery shopping. Trying to memorize my lines. … Just trying to be productive. Today’s rehearsal involved music. Some of us brought the songs that we felt represent or express our characters somehow. As we listened to each song, Miira started creating an improvisational structure in which some characters could explore their “range,” what the charac­ ters might be able to do with the music. Mine was Nina Simon’s “I Put a Spell on You.” Miira told me to sing my text and move along with the song. Of course I looked and sounded ridiculous, but I knew that it was necessary for me to be foolish at least for once in rehearsal. I always have a very strong sense of form and structure about my character. The tendency and danger is that I get stuck in it and forget to play within it or outside it. Music is a good tool to break that habit. During the lunch break, Idalotta and I went for a walk around the town. It was blazing hot outside. The sunlight felt intense and heavy on my skin. After a while we decided to go into the Chapel of Bones. Literally it was a chapel made of human bones. What a sight to see. Staring at the skulls on the walls, I was in awe. Something about the emp-

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tiness of the skulls evoked an overwhelming amount of fear and comfort at the same time. Death - - - it’s the common destiny we share. That’s the only certainty in life.

hearts. Why is that? Are we just afraid? Because there isn’t any “word” to describe it or to analyze it? The words may quench the thirst of the logical mind, but they never fill the void in one’s meaningless life. Unless we figure out how to live with one another in harmony and in deep intimacy, there won’t be any true happiness that happens organically, naturally just like a flower blooming under the sun. There isn’t such thing as individual happiness. You are never happy on somebody else’s expense. In the same way, there isn’t any “meaning of life” that makes sense only in one’s mind. You never find anything meaningful without being in relation with others.

May 31st, 2012 (Thu)

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need to move onto the next challenge. I need to make my character­ an expression, not my personal rehabilitation exercise. My charac­ ter is a poetess who embraces love and loving. “I want to love, to love heedlessly,” she says. What is she in relation to all the other charac­ ters? It’s time to have some dialogue with my colleagues and Miira. My head needs a lot of organizing. Stick with what’s in front of me and important. Life never gets easier. It only gets more and more intense and awesome.

June 2nd, 2012 (Sat)

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he residency place sits on a grassy field spreading far and wide. You see patches of cork trees in the distance. The sky above feels a bit lower than Helsinki and much, much wider. The smell of the air is almost the same as what I used to smell in the countryside of Japan. That rich scent of the earth and the green. Memories travel with me and sometimes they find their new home in a foreign country.

June 1st, 2012 (Fri)

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he last day in Evora. We only had the morning rehearsal from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Then the lunch break. Afterwards, we packed our stuff at the convent and drove first to the oldest stone hedge site, then to a supermarket, and then to our residency place. A long, full day. After arriving at the residency, the host and the hostess of the place welcomed us with a wonderful dinner. We ate, drank good wine, talked, and laughed a lot. Even after the host and the hostess retired to bed around 11 pm, we remained at the dinner table, playing games, discussing global, serious issues, drinking some more wine or tea. At the dinner table, Tuomas said something on the subject of the corrupt societal systems. “The real problem, I think, is that we don’t know the meaning of life. We don’t feel any meaning, pretty empty.” Underneath all the intelligent, sensible analyses of the problems in our society, there is always this one sentiment that rings true louder than anything else. Emptiness. We can discuss, convince, or persuade endlessly, but we never deal with a concrete reality called emptiness in our

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June 3rd, 2012 (Sun)

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t’s been just a week since I arrived at Portugal. I already feel as if I’ve been here for months. Maybe my familiarity with the countryside, or simply the power of nature makes me feel “at home.” Also, the summer is my favorite time of year. So many things about being here are exciting and relaxing at the same time. Before going to bed, Ulla and I worked on our lines in the play. She was having trouble pronouncing some medical terms in English. So I helped her a bit on that. She, in return, helped me memorize my poems, which are often repetitive and metaphorically similar… so a bit tricky to distinguish each. Three of the Portuguese actors arrived past midnight. Tomorrow we’ll start rehearsing.

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the poetess ended her life because I thought it would help me deepen my character. But the movie just said at the very end, “She died from sadness.”

June 4th, 2012 (Mon)

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e had the morning rehearsal from 10:30 am to 3 pm at a big hall made of stone at OBRAS. Everyone was sweating because of the trapped heat inside. The outside was already blazing hot. Everyone’s water bottle was 1.5 l big, and they were drinking it fast. I, on the other hand, didn’t even feel it was hot, and I didn’t even have a water bottle of my own. After the lunch break, we drove to Vila Viçosa to explore our performing place, the real stage. The place is about 20–25 minutes car ride away from OBRAS. An abandoned marble quarry. With a big green water pond in the middle, the walls by and on top of which we act are almost all perpendicular. But there is also a spacious, flat, beautiful marble plane as the auditorium with a great view of all “the stage.” A stunning space, no doubt. I don’t think anyone has ever done a theatre performance in a place like this before. The first time of anything is always exciting. We have to make our own path both metaphorically and literally. Since the quarry has been abandoned for such a long time, there are thick bushes of wild plants everywhere making it hard for us to navigate around the space. Some rocks are easy to fall off, therefore very dangerous to step on. When we got there around 5:30 pm, we first cleared out some paths by cutting grass, cleaning dirt off the rocks, etc., so that we could be safely placed. My place was on the edge of a steep cliff, overlooking the entire quarry. Looking down at the pond, I couldn’t help feeling a bit dizzy. It was quite high up. What a magnificent feeling, to be afraid and exhilarated at the same moment. I love it. In a very big outdoor space like this, it is very crucial to be able to be “still” because physically big gestures tend to look “small.” So it’s better to stir the audience’s imagination with absolute internal focus. Something I’ve always wanted to practice. We ended the evening rehearsal around 8:30 pm. Idalotta, Sara the costume designer, and I went to see a movie about the poetess Florabela. It was playing at a local theatre in Estramoz. I wanted to know how

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June 5th, 2012 (Tue)

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e had the morning and the afternoon free. The rehearsal at the marble quarry from 5:30 pm till 9:30 pm. The time flows very slowly and leisurely here. The heat also slows the body rhythm down. People are in no hurry, taking their own time. The long afternoon nap called siesta makes so much sense once you get used to the blazing heat in the daytime. You are much wiser to go with the flow of nature. The rehearsal at the quarry is interesting. Since I stand still on the edge of a cliff for the most part of the play, there isn’t much I can do other than working on my lines and some minimalistic gestures that go with the lines during rehearsal. Others have to be constantly moving, to contrast my character. So, the rehearsal usually goes something like this: I remain still in the corner, while others run around, sweating profusely. But, I always feel exhausted after rehearsal. I’m beginning to understand that there is so much more to being still on the stage than it initially appears and feels to the actor. It’s the ultimate expression of “Ma,” the great emptiness where the performer controls everything and becomes nothing at the same time. It’s the most exquisite performance if executed well. The depth of it leaves an undeniable impression on the spectator’s heart. I hope to achieve that in this play. Today at the quarry, I was trying to clean my spot on the cliff by scraping off sand and small marble pieces. The wind was strong, so I often got sand in my eyes while sweeping it off the cliff. I also got a tiny­ puncture, going through a thorny bush. Cutting the thorny branches, I thought to myself, “This is a metaphor of my life. Making my own path in the thorny bush. It’s not easy, but I have my own scissors.” We got back to the residency around 10 pm. I took a shower immediately to wash off the dirt.

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June 6th, 2012 (Wed)

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oday was Aili’s our scenic designer’s birthday. Before rehearsal, we had a surprise gathering for her. She looked very happy. The birthday cake the hostess made was delicious. I think I had three big pieces. It was a slow day in rehearsal. We took it easy. We sketched a couple­ of scenes, and that was all we did. We didn’t go to the quarry since Mii­ ra felt that there wasn’t enough material to work with at the space yet. The marble quarry where we will be performing is quite a unique space. How to blend in and make the space theatrical or magical depends on the actor’s ability to be present. This goes with any space, but the ability becomes a survival skill especially in an outdoor theatre where nature paints such fascinating scenery. As my martial arts teacher says, “Grab the audience” by your presence. Sounds simple enough, but when you’re in an empty yet complex space like an abandoned marble quarry, the tendency is to do something interesting with the surroundings. You want to make “interesting pictures” with them. But, one can look at such pictures for a little while and usually lose interest. What makes the pictures not only stunning visual images but something that has depth, almost spiritual quality is the actor’s presence. And the most profound presence hides in stillness. This is also my martial arts teacher’s advice to me: “Listen as if your whole body is an ear, and do not move.” Simple, simple, simple. Clear, clear, clear. And yet, it is always the most difficult thing for an actor to do on the stage.

June 7th, 2012 (Thu)

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e rehearsed at the marble quarry all day from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm with a lunch break in between. The forecast said that it would be cloudy and occasionally rain today, but it never rained. I was wearing a tank top and a cowboy hat. By the end of the day, my shoulders were burned red while my face was fine. I guess I need to put more sun block next time.

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The heat wears everyone down and makes us somewhat irritable than usual. It’s always hard for Miira to get everyone’s attention at once. Some people are putting sun lotion on their skin, some are drinking water, some are trying to find shade, and some are talking amongst themselves. Plus, there are many of us, close to 20. It takes incredible focus and concentration to work with many and in a harsh outdoor environment. Miira uses a megaphone to be heard and save her vocal energy to direct. She is also tired from the heat and all the organizational­stuff she has to supervise. She does need a good assistant. I wish I could help her more, but my primary task is to act well. And I have to stand still on a lonely cliff most of the time as my character. “Oh Yuko, you have such a lonely spot out there,” Tuomas said to me as we were finishing up the rehearsal for the day. “Yes, I do. Maybe I should bring a radio next time so that I wouldn’t feel so alone,” I laughed. His remark was in many ways symbolic of my entire life. Not only in theatre, but in real life, I’ve been cast as someone who is alone or lonely or too unique to fit in… a loner, an outsider, and an outcast. That’s my “type,” I suppose.

recting attention is a skill in itself. You have to constantly practice it. Every second of your life is practice. The second half of the rehearsal went rather quickly. I think it was because I finally got something to say. There is a climactic scene where my character recites her final poems and dies. It’s almost a classic grandeur of theatre; I stand on the edge of the highest cliff and open my arms wide towards the others below… and speak passionately of love. Exhilaration in the moment is beyond description. A situation like that makes me want to live and die onstage over and over again. June 10th, 2012 (Sun)

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y martial arts teacher sent me an email, giving me feedback on the rehearsal photos of me. He said that I only looked deeply in thought without really looking at anything. “Because you were only thinking,” he wrote. “Also, your body didn’t tell any emotional movement. No dynamism. Try to put tension in your abdomen and to tuck in your belly more.” His feedback cut through like a knife, but it was so true and honest that I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I was seeking compliments once again by posting the photos… “Wow!” “You look amazing!” “Great!” etc., etc. What have I been working on really? On my character? Or on getting attention from others? No matter how much I’d like to think the former is true, what I actually­ did was the latter. Once again, I’m facing the fact that I don’t know what to do with my character. I do not know what I should do to make her more alive and active in the play. I try to think in First Person so that it’s more personal: “What am I?” “Where am I?” “How do I fit into the play?” “What do I want out of all this performing my poetry?” My mind has been numb and sickened by longing. I cannot find the trigger to my “passion.” Speaking of passion, my teacher wrote an essay about what it takes to perform on the stage: presence. In order to have presence on the stage, you need pouring passion. Passion is something nobody can teach you how to bring about. Either you have it or don’t. It’s not enough that

June 8th, 2012 (Fri)

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ehearsal at the quarry from 11:30 am to 7 pm. I spent the good part of the rehearsal waiting and observing my colleagues work. There was strong wind blowing at me constantly on the cliff. Because of the wind, I didn’t feel as roasted as I did on the previous days. I even got goose bumps although the sun was very bright. The rehearsal at the quarry is all about patience and listening. When you are physically far away from others, it’s easy to lose focus on what is going on and to start to mind your own business. Miira often has to repeat the direction at least five times just to get everyone on the same page. I try to listen carefully so that my inattention wouldn’t stop the working process for everyone else. I think the 90% of the actor’s work is just paying attention. What some people might overlook is that di-

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you like performing in order to be expressive. It’s not enough to just “think about” your action on stage in order to actually act. You need to be the action itself. You need to become your character itself. His words are hitting me straight in the head right now because I’m not being able to tap into my passion. All I’m doing is thinking. And I do not know how to stop it. June 11th, 2012 (Mon)

Today’s rehearsal was held at OBRAS all day. June 12th, 2012 (Tue)

Rehearsal at the quarry from 11:00–17:30 with a lunch break. June 15th, 2012 (Fri)

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e had the morning rehearsal at OBRAS from 11 am to 3 pm. Then the lunch break. I was given the permission to speak the Portuguese poem. My hands were shaking as I shouted­ the foreign words out to the vastness of the space. I still have much to work on, but my colleagues told me that I’d made some improvement on the accent. A tiny hope is still there. I felt that the run-through went better than expected despite all the technical difficulties. Some of my colleagues were frustrated about the confusion they felt during the run-through. But overall, there was a sense of mutual support for each other. I think that that’s all that matter in the times of crisis. The helping hand extended towards one another.

June 16th, 2012 (Sat)

For dinner, my Portuguese colleagues made some traditional Portuguese meal for us. It was tasty.

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June 17th, 2012 (Sun)

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oday was a very weary day. I tried to memorize a new Portuguese poem “To a Dying Man” by Florbela, but the words somehow kept putting me in a contemplative state of mind. So, I ended up thinking on the words more than speaking the words at loud to memorize them. I went to the poolside to change scenery and to refresh my mind a little bit. But no such luck. The sun felt harsh, and my head was getting dizzier and dizzier. “I want to love, to love heedlessly; to love for the sake of loving; here, there, this one, that other, and everyone! To love, to love, and love no one!” – Florbela

June 18th, 2012 (Mon)

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e had a terrible accident during rehearsal today at the quarry. One of my colleagues, Diana, slipped from the rope slide and fell down to the shallow water full of rocks. It happened at the end of the evening rehearsal when everyone was tired and somewhat frustrated. Diana perhaps was the most tired and irritated one at the time. I was looking at the slide from above when the accident occurred. Shortly after she jumped off the cliff, she was off the rope, straight down to the water. I heard Miira screaming “Diana!!!” and then Tuomas, yelling “Ambulance!!!” Everybody was in panic except a few and Diana herself. When I ran down to see her lying on the water surrounded by people trying to take care of her, she was the one giving them instructions as to what to do to help her. She seemed to be in tremendous pain, but very much conscious of what was happening. The moment I heard her talking, I felt relieved and knew that she would be ok. No serious damage to her brain at least. The ambulance team arrived promptly and told us to wait until they made a quick diagnose of her condition. By that time, I was much calmer, instinctively knowing that she just broke a couple of bones. Miira was still in shock, trying to calm herself down. Tuomas looked haunt-

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ed by the image of her falling off; he was smoking, and his eyes absently­ fixed at one point in space. Ulla was standing helplessly. Jaakko looked scared and sad. Fabio was crying and terrified for the worst. Andre was silent, pacing a little. Aili looked very distressed and somber. Susana remained calm and patient through all this. She also seemed to know that panic wouldn’t help anything or anyone in the situation like this. Vicente was by Diana’s side almost all the time. Idalotta was holding Diana’s hat and shoes to her heart as if she was praying. Sophia, Tanja,­ and Joao were anxiously waiting. Finally the ambulance staff told us that she did indeed break her bones, but nothing more serious. They took her to the hospital in Evora for immediate care and a possible surgery. The rest of us got back to the OBRAS around 10 pm. We had a shared dinner, reassuring one another that she would be fine and supporting those who were in distress still. I don’t know what was running through Miira’s mind, but she seemed to be going through a ton of emotions and thoughts and overwhelmed by them all. Many of us were in deep thought and exhausted from the panic. This waiting… being helpless, being empty, being sad was such a pregnant moment though it was of a painful kind. Ulla and I went to sleep around 1am. Miira sent me a text message around 3 am telling that Diana just broke her wrist and that she was released from the hospital and now at OBRAS. What a sobering experience.

The evening rehearsal at the quarry felt somewhat careful. It was understandably so, considering what had happened yesterday. Every­ one was a little more cautious than usual. June 20th, 2012 (Wed)

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ehearsal at OBRAS from 11:30–15:00. The atmosphere was somewhat subdued probably because Diana was in the room. She was apparently depressed about the fact that she wasn’t as involved as before in rehearsal. There was also a sense of apprehension. Miira herself didn’t seem to know how to fix the main story line of the play in a way that still includes Diana as some character in it. She just told us that we would be searching for it as we rehearse. So, the crucial issue was evaded. I started thinking about the possible alternative stories that might work without changing so much of what we’ve been creating. During the evening rehearsal at the quarry from 17:30–21:00, one possible storyline came to my mind. It started to excite me more and more as I told it to my colleagues. Just a little change in a relationship could simplify a lot of things and make the whole story clearer. The rehearsal itself was very slow and confusing most of the time. Diana was even more depressed than in the afternoon. When I told her my idea about the story, she was still sad, but willing to listen. By the time I told Miira, many people had supported my new story. So I was comfortably confident to make a presentation to her. Overall, she bought the idea. I just hope that it would clarify unnecessary confusion and anxiety so that we could really focus on what excites us: telling a story. I don’t know where I got this burst to passion all of a sudden. But I know that there was a question I asked of myself that triggered the chain of inspiration: “What would be good for the production and for us?”

June 19th, 2012 (Tue)

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o, in the middle of the night I got a text message from Miira about Diana’s condition. She just broke her wrist. Nothing serious. It was indeed a miracle that she didn’t get any more broken bones. To everyone’s relief, she came back to OBRAS late at night, high from the painkiller. We had the morning and the afternoon off.

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June 21st, 2012 (Thu)

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ather a quiet day. Miira was at the quarry, working with Tuomas, Susana, and Diana while the rest stayed at OBRAS for the morning rehearsal. After the lunch break, we left for the quarry. When I got to the quarry, I sensed immediately that Diana was once again in distress. Miira decided to go with the new storyline I told her, but she didn’t seem to be able to figure out what to do with Diana’s character in the new context. Consequently, Diana felt lost and started to wander about in sadness. After a couple of hours, she left the quarry with a couple of others. But the new story line felt clearer to many people. Especially for the main characters: Tuomas and Susana. They started to make the journey alive. That certainly is a positive sign. Right now no clear decisions are being made to save the play. There are certain things that need to be worked on collaboratively. And there are certain things that need to be initiated and determined by the director promptly to move everyone else along. Now there are many things that need a clear vision to develop. June 22nd, 2012 (Fri)

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ehearsal at OBRAS from noon to 16:00. It was half discussion and half creating new dialogue. Many of us felt the original script was hard to comprehend. I never really read the whole script because for some reason I knew that it would change drastically­ at some point in the process. The text is basically a collection of random­ passages: recipes, the descriptions of various diseases, stock market charts, poems, and philosophical mumblings. Some of them were written by Miira, but most of them are taken from somewhere else. It certainly is an interesting mixture of different tones, moods, meanings. I can understand how Miira wanted to create an orchestration of text like jazz music, but there needs to be a clear theme that holds all the elements together. Calculated randomness is no randomness.

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June 23rd, 2012 (Sat)

June 27th, 2012 (Wed)

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fter the lunch break, we headed for the quarry. There were several audience members for the run-through. The only thing I was nervous about was my Portuguese poems. I would feel embarrassed if they sounded funny to the native speakers. But it’s not my primary goal to sound like a native speaker. My goal is to speak the poems as a poetess. Of course, I need to work on proper intonation and pronunciation more to be intelligible. But, it always helps to have a bigger objective than speaking “right” in acting in a foreign language. The run-through went with lots of bumps and awkward silences. For me, it was good to know the entirety of the play in real time. Then I could really start constructing my character in relation to other things. I didn’t know exactly how others felt about the run, but it was apparent that they were not at all satisfied with the flow of the play as it went.

he rehearsal at the quarry was long. It lasted till 1:30 am. My head was spinning, and I felt like being drunk towards the end. I ran to my bed as soon as we got back to OBRAS.

June 28th, 2012 (Thu)

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very long day at the quarry. It was close to 2 am when I finally got back to my apartment. It was hot and humid in the afternoon, but it got quite cold and windy in the evening and late at night. I was standing on the edge of a cliff for so long in the cold weather that my head started to ache a little­. Everyone was also freezing. I am so tired that I cannot write much longer or clearer. I want to rest well.

June 24th, 2012 (Sun) June 29th, 2012 (Fri)

A day off. I did some household chores. And tried to relax a little. But for some reason, I was feeling a little uneasy.

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day off. Around 6:30 pm, Ulla and I started walking towards the castle on a hill nearby. Ludger gave us a map to get there. So, we set out on our journey, excited. The path was smooth and pleasant in the beginning. But as we got closer to the castle, it became narrow and sometimes even indistinguishable from weeds and trees around it. Climbing up the circumference of the hill was hard. We were running out of breath, but we made it to the top around 8:10pm. The view from the hilltop was worth the effort of walking up there. The sun was setting in the farthest horizon. There was a hawk circling in the sky. Because there was such strong wind, every once in a while it hovered in the air like a still picture. Such an amazing sight. We certainly felt as if we had accomplished something beautiful. We had a little break at a small restaurant near the castle and watched the sun setting from the patio. It was a good day off.

June 26th, 2012 (Tue)

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very hot day. We didn’t leave for the quarry until 7 pm. The entire afternoon was spent at OBRAS for some individual scene work. The director asked me to work with several people to clean up and sharpen their physical movement. At the quarry the rehearsal went rather lethargically. Everyone was more or less worn out by the heat. I was exhausted by the time I got back from the quarry around midnight. Couldn’t really eat or talk. So I went to sleep earlier than anyone.

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there was such a limited amount of time in the evening for us to actually do anything at the quarry. The tech always takes a lot of time and patience. This production was no exception. There were many unexpected problems and difficulties regarding the technical elements at the quarry. The light designer Anaísa got ill a few days before the premiere due to stress and couldn’t come back to the production until the final day of the performance on July 7th. Miira had to step in as the lighting board operator for the first three performances. And we couldn’t do a complete run-through with lights after all. So, the premiere on July 4th was technically our first complete run through with the audience. I felt as if we were in hell both literally and metaphorically. Our perseverance and worth ethics were seriously tested. Despite everyone’s worry, the premiere and the rest of the run went incredibly well. On the final day of the performance, we had a completely sold-out house with many extra seats to fit everyone in. The audience loved it, and the curtain call was filled with passionate, endless applause and “bravo!”s. We made it. We made it to the “paradise.” The long, difficult journey was well worth it. … “I feel sad… empty,” one of my colleagues said after the show was over. The intensity and greatness of the whole process left almost everyone in the same sentiment. I felt the same way. On a personal note, however, I was also grateful­ that through trial and errors in the creation of a theatre work about a human in crises, I got to know that it was possible to transform all the private memories and heartaches of an individual into something universal. I don’t feel so much alone in my struggle to let go of some painful past and to live the current uncertainty anymore. We are all in the “Divina Commedia” together, making our life-long journeys to Paradise. The realization of such camaraderie is the biggest reward I got as an actor in this project. The journey continues.

June 30th, 2012 (Sat)

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e didn’t go to the quarry at all due to the setting up of the lights and sounds. Because of the previous day’s hard work, everyone looked drained out of energy. The rehearsal was held at OBRAS instead. Miira was also exhausted and slightly zoned out because of lack of sleep. We discussed the scenes that didn’t work well during the run-through. Then we worked scene by scene. Although I wasn’t in any of the scenes Miira wanted to fix, she asked me to stay with her most of the time to give her feedback. She also had me work with the chorus members. The rehearsal ended around 21:00. Some of us rushed to a supermarket to get some groceries afterwards. Then the collective dinner…. Miira asked me to massage her for a short while after dinner so that she could rest well. She really was stressed and at the end of her rope. When I touched her head, she immediately felt relief. I hope she sleeps well tonight. Today has been a very strange day in many ways. One of my colleagues got really sad and cried a lot. She said that she needed to let her emotions flow out. She later explained to me that being here reminded her of her childhood and all the things she used to have but not anymore. Sometimes beautiful things hurt. I felt her melancholy very deeply. I also became a little depressed today. My heart started to ache, and my thoughts became heavier and more somber. It’s the sadness of being an outsider to the lives of the people I deeply care about. I reach out, but my hands never seem to touch them. July 1st, 2012 (Sun) through July 7th, 2012 (Sat)

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he final week was so hectic and intense that I couldn’t keep up with my diary. The last few days of rehearsal were mainly spent for the technical run-throughs. Due to the severely hot weather during the daytime­,

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Advices for anyone starting an international project

Advice for Organizers Before leaving the application

□□ Take time for you to get to know each other. Create a work­shop where you need to define some common words, what is understood by what. Discuss so long that everyone understands the rules given by EACEA as well as the mutual arrengements and responsibilities between the orzanizers. □□ Spare time and money for meeting face to face. It is often thought that things can be spoken in the Skype and emails. They can, to certain extend, but meeting face to face in the same room is cruicial in a common project for the understanding of the common goals and different implementations of each phase of the project.

H ere are s om e advices , f or any theatre m aker who wis hes to m ake an international EU -proj ect

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If the former has not done before the application, do after the application has been accepted. And in addition to this:

□□ Keep in contact. Even a word from time to time, when nothing special is happening, is good, to create the understanding of the common project. □□ Depending on the work, make sure you have the insurance ­issues agreed well, so that if something happens, there is a full understanding who is responsible of what. □□ Go towards the goals together! Define the goals and speak about them together in discussions.

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Advice for any Theatre Group for a theatre project to be successfull, for if one of them is missing, it is not going to be so good

□□ The production frames are built and arranged well □□ The production is up-to-date all the time so that the production can support the artistic work □□ The dramaturgy of the performance is strong □□ The director knows what s/he wants from the performance □□ Every member of the crew carries its responsibility, not falling into the sin of blaming but supports each other □□ The artistic level is kept high and everyone takes care of it from their part □□ The security rules are respected □□ Everyone supports the common goal with their professionality and no body is left alone. Not director, a producer, nor any member of the group.

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