MESCHINO is a performance project by Italian interdisciplinary art group Fagarazzi Zuffellato that involves communities of homeless immigrants and refugees from Africa and Arab countries within the area of Veneto region, Italy.
MESCHINO (from the arab miskīn: poor, destitute) is a project that will develop through workshops, a theater performance, a visual installation, a conference at the CCD Symposium 2016 in Singapore.
[...] We used to escape from the Identification and Expulsion Center to go towards the head of Lampedusa to watch the boats arrive, to see if any other of us was arriving and warn the families if their son had got ashore. From Tunisia we were asked if a certain boat had arrived and we would calculate, in these journeys, 48 hours is the maximum a person can survive in the sea. [...]
excerpt text from performance Action 1 / BOUTITI, DOUADI, MUSTAPHA by Fagarazzi Zuffellato
NOTES FROM THE CREATORS
''when we started the project, back in the summer 2013, we felt as if we were capturing a wave of human urgency. Now that wave is even more present, moving deeper than before and in need to be spoken out loud. In us, everyday, grows stronger the importance to realize the project MESCHINO''.
Fagarazzi Zuffellato are active since 2005, developing cross categories works, from hybrid installations to live performance or public involving devices.
They have been awarded Dimora Fragile 2008 – Terni Festival Terni (IT), the 3rd Prize at EXTRA – segnali dalla nuova scena italiana 07/08, final nomination in Madrid for the international Culturas – Awards & Exhibition for the Intercultural Dialogue 2008, Moving_Movimento 2009 in Fabbrica Europa Firenze, React! Festival Santarcangelo 2009-2011, Premio Città Impresa delle Venezie 2013, special mention at Indipendents05 in ArtVerona Fair 2014. Their productions have been presented in Europe and Asia.
The artistic activity of Fagarazzi Zuffellato is transverse and multidisciplinary and through the years their path have been marked also by few experiences with Veneto local realities of social exclusion.
''We use theater as a medium to create dialogue and awareness regarding the current situation of immigration, from poorer and war countries to Europe, in response to the reaction some governments and European populations have towards the phenomenon of immigration and terrorism.
This project wants to artistically convey the realities and lives that are behind these phenomenons, acknowledging that the new comers are witnesses and bearers of an act of change already existing inside our communities, ever changing societies.''
MESCHINO follows the pilot project Action 1/Boutiti, Douadi, Mustapha that in 2013 involved the local association for homeless of the city of Schio, and had 3 performers from Algeria and Tunisia on stage for a 30 minutes performance that resulted from an extended period of research workshops, and one last period of creative process of 2 weeks.
Mustapha and Douadi are Algerians, live in Italy since 20 years, have arrived with regular working permit and have worked till the economical crises started in Italy and stayed, as many Italians too, out of work ever since. Boutiti, Tunisian, got ashore in Lampedusa in 2011. All three of them lived in Schio (VI-Italy) and never had any performative experience before, nor had ever been to the theatre, nevertheless they enthusiastically accepted to work with us for 2 weeks during an artistic residency at La Conigliera, Castelfranco (TV-Italy). One of the three performers, Mustapha Benouar will assist us during the follow up project Meschino in order to help us bond closely with the communities and pass on his experience with us.
This first phase of work was presented on the 5th September 2013 at the festival “di che carne sono fatto?” at La Conigliera in Castelfranco Veneto, a month before the umptheenth tragic shipwreck that witnessed the death of 350 immigrants in the waters offshore Lampedusa (Italy).
As we already know, since than the political situation has not improved and for this reason we feel even more the urgency to continue our research.
WORK PHASES (12 months)
- PARTNERS OUTSIDE ITALY. We want to find at least 2 (or more) partners in Europe that can join the project in its nature. The partners should come from any institutions or associations that deal with interdisciplinary cultural fields, helping in leading contact with their local communities, discussing the actual emergency of movement of people from one country into another to which they are not native, the possibilities to generate dialogue and build new strategies of living.
- CONTACT the organizers of the local associations that hosts immigrants and refugees, present the project purpouse and objectives in order to involve the social workers in understanding and supporting the project not as a recreative activity but as another way to knowledge and integration.
- WORKSHOP. Organizing 10 short workshops of 2 days each, involving immigrants from the contacted communities. The workshops will be a blending of physical and vocal practises with some performative group and single exercises. The workshops will be led by Andrea Fagarazzi and I-Chen Zuffellato, assisted by Mustapha Benouar.
- PERFORMANCE CREATION.
We will choose 2 or 3 people from the workshops to create the performance Meschino, starting from the performative material created for the pilot performance Action1/ Boutiti, Douadi, Mustapha (see video excerpts). From the original cast we will work with Mustapha, who will also help us as a mediator with the people from the communities. The performers will be hired and compensated for their work.
- PERFORMANCE TOUR. tour the performance in order to reach the largest number of audience and relate to the way other European countries engage with the same issues.
- MESCHINO INSTALLATION. the installation will document the workshops and stories of people we met during the process. The istallation can accompany the performance tour but also can be installed independently at other events.
- SYMPOSIUM. present the work in Singapore at CCD Symposium 2016: the art of anti-exclusion.
We will share our experience with a public of Singaporean artists, art students, governmental and non-governmental organizations.
- pass on to the public the stories and personal experiences of immigrants involved in the project in order to make the public aware of the reality of the current state of things regarding the phenomenon of immigration to Europe and open up to new point of views and perspectives. Putting into question the collective immagination of the foreigner, in particular of the Muslims, stereotypes and preconceptions.
- involve local associations, immigrants of the local region of Veneto to participate to theatre workshop activity and art projects, in order to give them a voice, a place to speak and be listened, find their own way to approach the local communities and learn new skills.
- pass on the idea that theater/art can also be a possible working opportunity
- give work to 2/3 people, chosen from the workshops, as performers in the new theater piece “Meschino” by Fagarazzi Zuffellato
- have a confrontation between different artists and countries in dealing with the same thematic
idea, workshops direction, performance direction, light design, sound live mix : Fagarazzi Zuffellato
assistant: (to be defined)
technical assistance: local technician
performers: Mustapha Benouar + 2/3 performers
organization in Italy: Teatro Stabile del Veneto - Teatro Nazionale
Working period: 2016