Venice, Italy

By Taylor, Nicole Estvanik | American Theatre, March 2011 | Go to article overview

Venice, Italy


Taylor, Nicole Estvanik, American Theatre


LA BIENNIALE DI VENEZIA: Since last October, if Venetian theatregoers have kept their eyes peeled, opportunities for celebrity encounters have been rife. A parade of daring contemporary directors has passed through the canal-threaded city: Romeo Castellucci, Rodrigo Garcia, Jan Lauwers, Ricardo Bartis, Thomas Ostermeier, Calixto Bieito. And theatre-geeks-about-town this month can hope to find themselves at the espresso counter next to Flemish auteur Jan Fabre. While the main public event of the Bienniale's theatre program, the International Festival of Theatre, is still half a year away, the heart of its activities is the creative encounter among artists at the International Workshop of Performing Arts, now coming to a close.

The Catalan head of the Bienniale, Alex Rigola, gave each of these directors approximately a week, a group of some 20 performers, and space inside one of two restored venues at the Teatro Piccolo Arsenale and the Sala delle Colonne di Ca' Giustinian. According to Rigola, the flexibility of these spaces, newly liberated from their proscenium configuration, is a must for the creation of contemporary theatre. As for the high actor headcount, Rigola explains, "These workshops have one principal goal, and that is to give young artists from around the world the chance to see a great artist work and participate in a laboratory with him. Two minutes of conversation can often affect an artist's career more than hundreds of hours of classes."

Fabre takes residence in Ca' Giustinian March 21-25 with outlaws on the brain. "The gangster's transgression stimulates our imagination, while his condemnation is our catharsis," Fabre writes in his pre-workshop notes. …

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