KASPAR Machine. Awareness-raising and participation in the performing arts for social inclusion. The project stems from a concern to connect modern theatre to the serious social and economic issues that beset the contemporary European societies; it represents an effort to develop innovative art products, based on both artistic principles and research, leading to a result that is sensitive and relevant to a wide audience, with a clear educational and awareness-raising target. The project is supported by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme and is led by the Greek theatre company LabIllusions, with partners from Italy (Teatro dei Venti), Poland (Teatr Biuro Podrozy) and Romania (Fusion of Arts). The project started on November 1st, 2019 and will end on October 31st, 2021.
The project aims to contribute to the revival of the European heritage of street theatre, which has been strong in many European countries since the mediaeval era. It also aims to provide an artistic space for professional actors, students and amateur actors to try different forms of performing outside the conventional theatre genres, incorporating improvisation and street theatre techniques into the design of a performance.
It also aims to transcend a social message to audiences, turning the flashlights on communities that face social exclusion and marginalisation, such as people with disabilities, immigrants/refugees, the homeless or prisoners and ex-prisoners.
The Kaspar Machine play
The central product of the project is τhe “Kaspar Machine” play, designed to be shown in an outdoor public space, such as old deserted industrial buildings, quarries, harbour piers, refugee camps or rugged landscapes. The play exploits Peter Handke’s text “Cries for Help” as well as excerpts from his plays “Kaspar” and “Offending the Audience”, intercepted by real stories of individuals experiencing social exclusion, gathered through field research. The play is staged in a multi-media performance, including members of excluded communities alongside professional actors, to share their frustrations with the wider community, build hope and test the principles of participatory theatre. The “Kaspar Machine” play is scheduled to be shown in two performances in Athens in 2020 and later in Modena, Italy and Poznan, Poland.
Firstly, a review of the historical development of Street Theatre in Europe from the middle ages onward will be carried out, with special reference to Greece, Italy, Poland and Romania, aiming to learn especially about the use of improvisation and audience participation in performances for public spaces.
Secondly, field research will be conducted by interviewing 20 interviews held with individuals experiencing social exclusion in Greece, Italy, Poland and Romania. The interviews aim to collect personal “stories” to include in the scenario of the “Kaspar Machine” play and in the art exhibition.
The exhibition “Cries for Help” highlights the symbolism of the “Kaspar Machine” play as perceived by artists, stimulating a dialogue between the stories collected through the field research and selected works of art, complemented by audio-visual material from the performances of the play. The exhibition is enhanced by several events, aiming to create a deeper understanding of its theme by visitors, such as lectures, guided tours, art workshops for children, school visits and acting, dance or music happenings. The exhibition will be shown in Athens, Modena, Poznan and Lugoj.
Education and awareness-raising package for schools
The package aims to create among children and youth a culture of respect and appreciation for both the European heritage of street theatre and issues of social exclusion. A hands-on methodology is used, complemented by audio-visual material from the different project activities. A collective game of physically constructing the symbolic Kaspar puppet out of recyclable materials forms a central reference point.
The project closes with an international workshop in Romania, complemented by an event to present excerpts from the Kaspar Machine show and visual material to depict all the other project activities.
The making of...
The “story” of how the project activities have come through, step by step in all its stages and for all its products is being videoed and will be shown in a documentary-style film.
Contact: Nikos Chatzipapas, Art Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Yperidou 9, Nea Smyrni, Athens 17124, Greece
Teatr Biuro Podrozy
Contact: Marta Strzalko, Chairwoman email@example.com
Madalinskiego 4/12, Poznan 61-511, Poland
Teatro dei Venti A.P.S.
Contact: Stefano Te, Art Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Via San Giovanni Bosco 150, Modena 41121, Italy
PRISMA- Centre for Development Studies
Contact: Fouli Papageorgiou, Managing Director email@example.com
17 Empedocleous Str., Athens 11635, Greece
Association Fusion of Arts
Contact: Flavia Rosana Capraru, President firstname.lastname@example.org
Street Bucegi nr.21 ap.2 Lugoj 305500, Romania