To freely inhabit the public space is a right acquired over time within democratic societies, and which, particularly in Europe, was taken for granted. The shock that the pandemic crisis brought to the free movement of people between countries, and the various periods of mandatory but necessary confinement to contain the spread of the virus, alert us to the privilege that we all have a responsibility to maintain and care for: free thought in public space, whether artistic or political? if it is possible to dissociate them.
The recent war in Europe deepens the discussion. In Ukraine, women and children are fleeing in haste to seek shelter in other countries, men, forced to stay and face the invader. The streets are no longer a safe place to circulate and are now the stage for constant bombings and hand-to-hand confrontations in a war as absurd as any other. In Russia, anti-war protesters are arrested for speaking out against the government’s narrative. The same country that ten years ago (2012), arrested, tried, and sent to a prison in Siberia a feminist punk rock collective – Pussy Riot – for singing in the street. We repeat: for singing in the street.
This is not, by the way, as we know, a reality exclusive to the current war in Europe. Freedom of movement in the public space is forbidden every day to people all over the world, be it due to war, to authoritarian policies of oppressive regimes, or to the insecurity that turns the streets into a place that is not recommended.
For all these reasons, thinking about the programming of a festival in a public space takes on an added responsibility. The privilege of being able to freely coexist in the streets and thus share ideas and collectively imagine social, political and artistic utopias should make us think about the practices and discourses to be taken into account when we think about the programming of our cities, and, in this particular case, a festival that has the public space as its privileged stage. It was from this principle of great responsibility that we developed a program that this year emphasizes wandering, through artistic works that will make the audience wander through the urban perimeter of the cities, but also, between them, through paths, shortcuts and alleys that connect the cities of Barcelos, Braga, Famalicão and Guimarães. The French company Collectif Protocole, through its project, Kilometer 97,1, will set out on a four-day performance journey, connecting the territories in a long performance that will take place simultaneously in the urban space of the cities, but also on the paths that connect them with a series of interventions throughout the day, calling for the unusual encounter of this collective of French jugglers with the passers-by of the cities, towns and villages of the four municipalities that host the Festival.
Alongside this great drift, we have summoned for this eighth edition of Vaudeville Rendez-Vous, the absurd comedy of clowns. These characters who humorously comment on our daily lives and make us laugh at our own tragedy, observing the world with a biting irony, putting our social organization and power relations into perspective. This is the case with the show MDR – mort de riure, by the Catalan company Los Galindos, where three clowns face an unexpected conflict: a spectator died laughing in the previous session. It will be necessary to find out the responsibility and the clown guilty for this crime. A show that questions the arbitrariness of justice, through an intelligent and caustic humor.
In this year’s edition we continue the Festival’s commitment to support creation, fundamental to the progressive structuring and sustainability of circus in Portugal, to which Vaudeville Rendez-Vous has strongly contributed since its inception. We co-produced the creations of the artists Alan Sencades, with his Do ferro à ferrugem; and the most recent creation of the Oliveira&Bachtler company – Cir-k. Also of note among the national productions are Silêncio do Corpo, by the company Erva Daninha and directed by João Paulo Santos; the show Vinil by the company Quando sais à rua, and the new creation of Portuguese clown Rui Paixão – Kinski.
Over four days we will have a total of 29 performances of the 11 scheduled shows, of which – 5 are national premieres and 2 co-productions. As in the previous edition, the Festival will start with four creative workshops aimed at specific audiences in each city and will extend throughout the program, with a conference for students, professionals, or simply curious about the performing arts, led by Los Galindos, about their creative process.
This will be an edition to return to inhabit and create freely in the public space. To be surprised by the different look that others have of the territory we daily inhabit. Let’s also deconfine the look.
Bruno Martins and Cláudia Berkeley
direction and programming of
International Festival Vaudeville Rendez-Vous
Artistic Direction Bruno Martins
Programming & Direction Bruno Martins e Cláudia Berkeley
Production Direction Eduardo Maltez e Marta Lima
Technical Direction Valter Alves
Mediation program Vera Santos
Production Assistant Raquel Passos
Communication Anaïs Proença
Graphic Design Rui Verde
Video Os Fredericos
Photography Susana Chicó
Press Central de Informação
Organization Teatro da Didascália
Co-production Teatro da Didascália, Município de Barcelos, Município de Braga, Município de Guimarães e Município de Vila Nova de Famalicão