Vivi Tellas is one of the most celebrated of Argentina’s experimental theatre directors. Her work has for many years been about putting theatre in contact with other worlds, and tracing theatrical elements (repetition, presence, the situation, the other’s gaze, the ritual, the text) in lives, situations or disciplines outside the theatre. More akin to documentary, her theatre is not an art of representation, but instead a presentation of ‘cases’. The first of these, My Mother and My Aunt (2003-2004) was a form of live portraiture based on the stories heard, always told the same way, since Tellas was a child. The performers were Tellas’ mother and aunt – the real ones – who unfolded family history in public. This was the beginning of The Archive Project. Based on this piece Tellas developed a workshop to share the experience.
In a bold departure from normal ‘theatre workshop’ methods, participants can actually invite and involve their own family members to help build upon the “great theatrical themes” in family history: deception, appearance, secrets, betrayal, love, and death. Is one’s own family the first theatre we go to? Is it the first theatre we perform in? Do family members behave the same way inside and outside the family? Is this acting? Why do members of the same family have different versions about what happened? Is the truth always lost?
The exploration will centre on canonical family stories, photographic archives, contradictory evocations, domestic knowledge or skills, personal relationships between different family members and all sort of materials the participant may consider as ‘evidence’. Participants should be artists, performers or directors and be prepared to bring one to three family members to perform on the final showing of the workshop. Limited to 15 places.
It will not be necessary for family members to participate in the workshop every day, but for that things need to be fairly flexible. At the end of the workshop there will be an informal presentation of the work with as many of the ‘subjects’ present as possible. If the participants don’t have available family members, the piece can be performed by the participant alone who would stage the evidence. Vivi Tellas’ website (in Spanish) www.archivotellas.com.ar