Athens, March 27th, 2021 | World Theater Day | Second Act Notes
The idea to create an online theatre magazine was born at a time of theatrical absence. For a year now, artists have been facing deprivation, not of creative ideas, but of the relationship with the auditorium. Because theatre is founded on the encounter. On the conversation. This art seems to be impossible without the presence of its audience. The voice of theatrical people cannot exist independently of the voice of the city. Their tools are tools of democracy.
Eight people met last fall on a video conferencing platform, guided by a common need that has evolved into a guiding principle: to create an online magazine that will give the floor to artists active in the field of performing arts, to the ‘front line’ people who remain for months in silence. To formulate what they wanted to pronounce through a work that was cancelled, a performance that wasn’t staged, a rehearsal that was left pending.
We met in a condition of dynamic stillness, far from our natural space, that of rehearsals and practice runs. We decided to test ourselves in a new field. We formed the second principle: to create an online space that will give prominence to theatre discussion. Which will allow what a theatrical rehearsal allows: dialogue, polyphony, and -why not?- disagreement. Between us but also with the audience. A conversation that will be renewed, consolidated, and broadened every two months. To rediscover the relationship with the auditorium.
We met at a time when we were unable to travel. We had all worked across borders. This temporary pause could give rise to ‘intro-version’, which we tried to avoid. We formed the third principle: to insist, against the times, on ‘extro-version’, on the conversation with the international theatre scene. The bilingual edition of the magazine mainly responds to this request.
We imagined a name that would mean the need to turn the page in the theatrical field: ACT II. Act two. Words that brought us directly faced with questions. What was the first act that just closed? What role did we play? What is going to happen to an Athens of two thousand performances per season? What is going to happen with the theatre artists, who claimed, in a coordinated way, through the metoo movement, a new reality for their work -and not only. What does it mean to pair the digital with the live? Where exactly are we? What do we dream about the moment we meet again?
In this new reality, we non-negotiably support all young women and men, all individuals who claim the re-appropriation of a life they deserve. We admire them for their determination, we envy them for their drive. Today we must play the second act in a different way.
In ACT II the role of editor-in-chief will be played in rotation. Theatre people will leave space. They will ponder on whether they should stay or leave, whether they are finally anything more than narcissists, whether they need hierarchical structures. They will talk about theatre but not about their performances -after all, the performances do not belong to them- about ideas but not about faces. They will sketch, they will write. They will not be photographed, they will not be ‘wearing their Sunday best’. They will challenge, cut, and correct. Those who have been part of a theatrical group are well aware that the most difficult moment is that of deletion. Of strikethrough.
I cordially thank Angeliki, Evangelia, Io, Katerina, Nada, Alexandros, Andreas, Giorgos, Greg, Manolis, Prodromos, Sakis, Thodoris.
ACT II is the offspring of collective work.