Flora Lauten (Cuba) - LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
Iben Nagel Rasmussen (Denmark) - FRAGMENTS OF
AN ACTOR'S DIARY
Cristina Lastra (Argentina) - WHAT HAVE YOU
BEEN DOING, DEAR?
Sanjukta Panigrahi (India) - IF I LIVED AGAIN I
WOULD STILL DANCE
Geddy Aniksdal (Norway) - SUNFLOWERS ARE YELLOW
AND DARK BROWN
Patricia Alves (Brazil) - ABOUT A WOMAN - NITIS
Lis Hughes Jones (Wales) - SAND AND MILK,
Laura Mariani (Italy) - ACTRESSES BETWEEN
THEATRE AND WRITING
Anna Furse (Britain) - WRITTEN ON MY BODY
Janne Risum (Denmark) - THE DELICATE TOUCH OF
BLUE FLUTED CHINA
Kozana Lucca (Argentina) - DOES HAIR EXORCISE
Deborah Levy (Britain) - TALKING CANDY
Donatella Massimilla (Italy) - THEATRE AND
Kjerstin Norén (Denmark) - FOR EVER To Ryszard
Silvia Ricciardelli (Italy) - SURVIVAL
Patricia Ariza (Colombia) - TEN BROKEN
Maria Pia Battaglia (Italy) - THEATRE IS THE
Julia Varley (Britain) - ACROSS THE
Beatriz Seibel (Argentina) - TRINIDAD
The Open Page - OPEN NEWS
Lives - During Raw Visions, a Magdalena
Festival with workshops, in July 1993, Susan Bassnett gave a
lecture on biography and autobiography concluding with a poem about
Sarajevo's Romeo and Juliet read and interpreted first from a
historical perspective and then from a personal point of view. At
the Magdalena Festival in 1994 women from different countries spoke
publicly about their beginnings in theatre. We have seen many
performances and characters which directly relate to the actors'
and directors' personal lives, or talk about other known and
unknown women's lives. Workshops on dramaturgy teach how to start
from women's personal life stories so as to transform them for a
theatrical use. The theme for the second issue of The Open
Page can be understood as biography, autobiography, personal
stories, historical representations and daily experiences; the
articles range from historical testimonies to the story of one day
in a theatre-woman's life, from sharing experiences in creating
characters and performances built on different women's existences
to telling of the processes which transform personal experiences
into objective stage material.
Reading-through all the articles what strikes me is the passion
with which all the women relate to theatre. Reading becomes like a
passage through life itself, starting with Flora Lauten still in
her mother's womb and finishing with the death of Trinidad Guevara,
an actress whose memory Beatriz Seibel tries to resurrect. It is
probably not by chance that the presence of Latin American women is
so strong in this issue: Lives as a theme
immediately connects to the question of identity and the artists'
precarious condition, so strongly felt in that continent. Who am I?
The woman, the actress, the character? None of them? All of them?
How can I achieve my artistic ambitions and survive economically?
How can daily life and stage life adapt to each other?
Lives presented to the spectator and lives
which remain protected within the private sphere are confronted
differently in the articles. Mostly women do not divide the
professional and private spheres, for them theatre is life and life
is theatre. But it is difficult, if not impossible, to find the
words which explain what has to remain a mystery life. Laura
Mariani touches on this inhibition felt by actresses trying to
re-present their world in writing while Donatella Massimilla
recognises the importance of women's lives to create roles in a new
dramaturgy. Kjerstin Noren, Geddy Aniksdal and myself choose to let
the- details speak while Cristina Lastra concentrates on a single
day and Kozana Lucca on her hair. Janne Risum, Maria Pia Battaglia,
Patricia Alves, Anna Furse and Sanjukta Panigrahi span over whole
existences. For Patricia Ariza, Iben Nagel Rasmussen and Silvia
Ricciardelli theatre is the technique, inspiration and obstacle
with which to present themselves. Lis Hughes Jones points out how
beginnings in life also contain an ending. The central issue of
motherhood is often present, because - as Deborah Levy says -
"unfortunately women can't afford to be silent, and mothers
especially cannot afford to be silent". It is the closeness of the
private and professional spheres so particular to women that give
all the articles a special touch and interest, emphasised by the
diversity of themes and by the context of this issue as a whole.
Finally, Open News - a new section of the journal which we
hope will be developed in the next issue - contains shorter pieces
of information regarding current work in relation to Women -
Theatre - Lives.
We live in a time when unemployment, delinquency, child abuse,
immigration, religious fanaticism give rise to problems which
indicate that life in general is losing sense and value. Some react
yet again by proposing solutions such as fundamentalism,
traditional family structures, capital punishment and curfew laws
for teenagers. Others search for solutions in opposite directions.
Both as women and as theatre practitioners and scholars we need to
join in. In our work, in our lives we find sense and value. We need
to share our experience, without the illusion - but with the hope
that our voices can change something.
Holstebro, March 1997
no. 2 - March 1997
Geddy Aniksdal, Maggie Gale, Julia Varley
With special thanks to: