What happens when you take people from more cultures, take them to a hotel and give them means to know each other? It would have been hard to answer, had we not been there to witness it ourselves. But now, because we have reached the end of this intercultural trip, we think we have a proper answer to a question that would seem hard, even rhetorical.
ad to be done. By the advice of a Youth Leader, we created tickets with a different shapes that we drew before each meal and thus, we mingled during lunch and dinner, socializing and getting to know each other much better (even though Mostafa always got the square). The results were seen immediately.
With a number of non-formal activities, the group became stronger, cohesive, united and overall more open-minded, leading to its preparation for the next type of activities: artistic workshops, including African dance and social theatre.
For those who had never seen a piece of choreography from an African dance, the moves would appear very strange, unnatural, even impossible and you start to wonder what kind of devil invented those moves. But as you get into knowing the moves, following Soraia for almost five hours, you recognize patterns from modern dances (and that’s not because African dance copies modern dance, but it’s the other way around), you realize that the moves come naturally, they are imprinted in our instincts and follow the body physics. Thus, what seemed strange and different to us became something we did and do with pleasure and after a while, we will remember these moments with pleasure.
Just as the African dance would seem strange for dancers, social theatre would seem strange for usual actors and that is just because this type of theatre addresses a different type of problems. What matters is not the performance itself, but rather the process of getting to do the performance and even more, show the spectators what we’ve been doing for the past 10 days exactly the way it happened.
And the way it happened was an unusual way. The moves and feelings it arose were rather weird and somewhat unnatural, just like the African dance. The technique was used to uncover our deepest feelings, feelings that came out just like lava comes out of Etna. It gave us a better knowledge of each other, giving us the ability to work together as a team and consider ourselves a single being, an entity with more bodies and only one brain. Because of this, non-verbal communication became easier and despite the great differences of culture, language and even the way of living, we overcame this and started to speak the one, simple, international language of the body.
Since we all had this ‘’burning’’ desire to see an active volcano, the mother of the European volcanos, we went to Etna. As the path unfolded before our eyes, we could see the volcanic rocks used as a pavement under our feet, the vegetation among the ashes, the hundreds of craters that punctured the surface of the tormented earth. But the thing that impressed us the most was the Ox Valley. It is hard to describe, because it was not a desert and it was not a jungle. It was a plateau covered in ash, with no life on its surface, with clouds only a few meters above it, like overseers of the volcano. It was silent, not even the wind was blowing and it felt desolate, but had a certain beauty that we will all remember.
After these daily adventures, we had the nights free. And these nights, we tasted the pieces of each other’s cultures by the means of an International Night, every one showing a national dance, or bringing some food, such as Romanian zacusca, the Sicilian cannoli, but also the stick dance from Egypt, a traditional dance of Burundi, a piece of the Greeks talent of theatre and the malhao-malhao dance of the Portugese. But on other nights, everyone just gathered around a guitar and djembe and just let themselves go, while singing and having a good time. Each person was encouraged to unleash their creativity, some of them, like Tony and Andre, with the drums, some of them, like Cesare with the guitar, some of them, like Alex, with the piano, but everyone offered their little contribution for the entertainment of the group.
However, the crown of our efforts will be the performance in Nicolosi, when we are going to do a big show of social theatre, to show the people how in 10 days we managed to overcome the differences between us, to tear down the barriers of language and vocal communication. Some of us feel anxious, some of us feel happy, some of us feel the adrenaline, some of feel sad because we are going home, but all of us feel everything and nothing at the same time, because only then you can be able to do a proper show.
On the behalf of ‘La commedia dell’interculturalita’ we wish you to feel just a little of what we felt and join the effort to make the world a better place for everyone.