Montag, 27. Februar 2017

Goodbye Kathmandu (for the first time)

We concluded our last rehearsals tonight, just a few hours before we have to leave for Morang in the morning. At 6am... a ridiculously early hour, but we're all looking forward to it - after all, we haven't seen much of Kathmandu, not to mention, Nepal, so the time is easily compensated by the excitement of travel.

Yuba had a last minute surprise for us: he strained his back during practice yesterday, and could barely walk for the rest of the day. Although he planned he'd be up and about in no time, we pushed ourselves to think of ways of doing a four person show with three people. We actually found a way, so that even though Yuba was able to do a run-through today, we are safe in the knowledge that we can still perform even if his back gets worse again.

So, as I was saying, we head to Morang in the morning. The trip that will last at least nine hours, then, on the 1st of March, we continue our tour with a three day workshop and about twelve shows over the following week. The new location is in the lowlands, plagued by mosquitos and heated by a temperate sun. It will be nice to get away from the dust of the city!

Apart from the dust, we also say goodbye for now to the students of Shilpee, leaving them with the task to prepare a clown show until we return. We'll direct it during a stopover on the way to Kabre, in around ten days time. Despite the difficulty of the task, they still liked us enough to cook a special Nepali meal for us and laugh heartily as we tried our hand at making their deep fried desert, sel. We'll miss them!

Under the following link, you'll find photos from the crew of the Shilpee theatre.

Freitag, 24. Februar 2017

Workshop's end

There's a man in a cap behind the counter of the cantine at which we eat. He stands there every day, his hands crossed in front of his black leather jacket, smiling at us beneath  his traditional hat. He barely speaks, but his smile is welcoming each time.

Just around the corner, in the roadside café between the theatre and the cantine, a small woman serves tea with bright, cheerful energy, occasionally sitting down beside us while a friend translates to her where we come from and why we are here. The metalic smell of the welder who burns unrecognisable machine parts at the door, sometimes drift into the dimly lit rooms and joins the conversation.

Between giving our workshop and rehearsing, our world has shrunk to this tiny landscape of two side streets strung together via a dusty main artery; the man who sits crouched low, a scale to measure our weight at his feet, the pile of construction shingle strewn halfway into the road, the broken paving before and after, they have become as familiar to us as our own hallways at home.

But, once work is over, there has been a few hours to see some of Kathmandu. Last night, shortly before midnight, we made it to the Pashupati temple for the opening evening of the Shiva ratri festival that happens today. The area was a cramned with life, both young and old, shouting, singing, laughing, the temple glowing golden in the heart of it. Today, traffic has gone into hibernation around Shilpee, where the streets have been closed to allow the celebrations. Magically, for the first time during our stay, the dust is minimal.

The celebrations haven't effected our workshop, though. Our entire class worked with extreme concentration and joy throughout the morning, exploring the corners and unique perspectives of their clown. How wonderfully they interpreted their characters, managing to bring each one to life. It was sad to finish, but some consolation that we will be back to work on their clown show in two weeks. We are certain that they'll make something beautiful and funny!

Which is also what we are doing our best to do every day. The work with Yubaraj had been productive - the final show is around half way there. After an initial finding process, we are now clear concerning our characters and motivations. We have another couple of days before heading to the schools. Let's see what they bring!

Montag, 20. Februar 2017

Workshop time

Today began both our workshop and rehearsals. As I mentioned before, we're working and staying at the Shilpee Theatre; a wonderful collective of creative people whose goal it is to educate, emancipate and entertain. We sleep in bunk beds on either side of the stage, and in the mornings we can hear them begin rehearsals at 7am, singing, clapping, rolling on the floor.

The interest in our workshop was overwhelming - 28 participants, all adept performers capable of sharing their knowledge once we're gone. Their performance level was impressive, and by the end of the first day, we were already laughing heartily!

A quick lunch break, and we headed back into the theatre for several hours of clown rehearsals with Yuba. We finished after sunset, soon after to be treated to a rare rain shower that rolled over Kathmandu, hopefully settling some of the dust that hangs on clouds above the streets.

Freitag, 17. Februar 2017

Arriving in Kathmandu

It felt like three days, but the reality was merely eleven hours between the neat tiles of Zurich airport, and the dusty yellow of Kathmandu. We saw the mountains first - the Himalayas crashed like a wave out of the haze that covered the city, and just like that, all three of us had our (not red) noses pressed against the window and our mouths open like drowning fish. What a sight!

Apart from Mount Everest, a proper welcoming committee awaited us at the airport from the crew of the Shilpee Theatre, and we immediately set to work fitting four people and the same amount of bags into a car that felt just large enough to squish a spider.

The theatre itself is a beautiful, half improvised, half precisely organised complex of red-brick housing. A large portion of the theatre company gathered around us as we drove in, joyfully showing us the place, the beautiful main stage where we will give four days of workshops, the dorms for the actors studying there, their office space and their tea-brewing skills. They immediately caught on to the fact that the double Anitas would cause trouble, so Anita Fricker was renamed Sunita. I think we all immediately realised that this will certainly be a wonderful crew to work with!

Heman und Pabitra took us into the centre to change money, the excitement of the new location easily defeating our lack of sleep.

The city was ramshackle, knitted together by masses of humanity on every street corner. The smell of fumes, the thrown up dust, the constant roar of engines, was our steady companion throughout the day: that and an explosion of sights, sounds and smells. With eager, gentle kindness, our guides found us the currency exchange, dinner then helped us navigate through a gradually darkening city toward our new home and sleep.

Mittwoch, 15. Februar 2017

Last rehearsals

Last rehearsals before leaving

For those of you who don't know us, I suppose a quick introduction might be in order: Anita Bertolami, Anita Fricker and Shiva Grings. Our forth and final member, Yubaraj Ghimire, a theatre director from Nepal, will meet us in Kathmandu.

It's Wednesday afternoon, and our little team is finally ready for our flight. Our enthusiasm kicked us outside for rehearsals, and thanks to a mild day, we only stopped feeling our fingers after an hour...

One last evening to ponder what can all be squeezed into a backpack before the journey begins tomorrow evening.

Mittwoch, 1. Februar 2017

Ende vorm nächsten Anfang....

Die kleine Restmannschaft ist also auch wohlbehalten wieder zuhause angekommen, nach 16 Shows für ca 2200 große und kleine Menschen und einem Workshop für 40 Teilnehmer/Innen.
Nochmal ein Riesendank an alle, vor allem:
Solmaz, Reza, Mali, Mona, Behnam, Siavash, Rahman, Hr. Gradl, dem UNHCR und allen Familienmitgliedern, die großzügig die Clowns ausgeliehen haben. Dank an all die unsichtbaren Kräfte, die uns gut beschützt wie auf fliegenden Samtteppichen von einem Wunder zum nächsten haben reisen lassen.
Die Fortsetzung wird nicht lange auf sich warten lassen, der/die Reisebericht/e, 
und dann natürlich: DER FILM......
Khoda Hafez und Kheili Mersi!

Dienstag, 31. Januar 2017

Kheili mersi

Der Tag beginnt lustig mit einer gewonnenen freien Stunde dank Verplanung der Girls: erst 10.45 Uhr ist Abfahrt, nicht 9.45 Uhr. Da kann man sich nochmal auf einen Chai zu den Boys in die Küche setzen. Es geht heiter weiter im Health Ministry: Wir folgen brav dem gelben Streifen, der uns zu unserer Verabredung führen soll, ohne Erfolg. Wir versuchen es mit dem blauen und Allez hop, wir stehen im Büro von Dr. Behesht… Wir haben ein intensives Gespräch über die Wirkung unserer Arbeit und die weitere hoffentlich  gemeinsame Zukunft…. Wir verlassen ziemlich geflashed den 14. Stock des Ministeriums und eilen weiter zur Raad Universität. Dort erwartet uns erstmal das Fernsehen mit Interviews, wieder ein köstliches Mittagessen, dann unsere letzte Show, ein fröhliches, ausgedehntes Abschiednehmen, weiter in ein Café für ein letztes  Zeitungsinterview. Zuhause wartet Walter geduldig auf uns, um vor  dem Abendessen sein großes Interview mit Reza zu führen. Währenddessen packen wir, Reza und Moni machen die Endabrechnung, dann bleiben vielleicht noch ein paar Minuten um zusammen innezuhalten. Das Taxi ist bestellt. Ob das überfließende Herz noch genug Platz fürs Gepäck lässt???? Oder vielleicht brauchen wir doch mindestens 3 LKWs…
Eine unglaubliche Reise geht wieder einmal zu Ende, bzw. fängt gerade wieder an…

Voraussichtlich sind wir in weniger als 12 Stunden wieder auf deutschem Boden, heute/jetzt ist kein Platz mehr für mehr, da ist nur noch Dankbarkeit, Dankbarkeit und Dankbarkeit an diese wunderbaren Menschen in diesem wunderbaren Land und an alle, die dies ermöglicht haben!!!!!
Kheili mersi und khoda hafez!