Meanwhile, in Venice

La Biennale, within the Biennale di Teatro program, has started Laboratorio Internazionale del Teatro [International Theatre Lab]: Mediterraneo, a festival of artistic exploration, which makes Venice look like whoa from 27 October to 29 November this year.

Based all around the idea of that beautiful space called the Mediterranean [umbilicus mundi], Maurizio Scaparro has started a series of labs which will coagulate into the 40. International Theatre Festival, around the Carnival in February 2009. Mediterranean, says Ian Chambers, luogo complesso di incontri e correnti, che implica lo spostamento di popolazioni, storie e culture, che sottolinea il senso continuo della trasformazione storica e della tradizione culturale che lo rende un luogo di transito continuo.

Or, roughly, complex space of currents and encounters, implying a circulation of peoples, stories and cultures, underlined by a continuous sense of historical transformation, and of a cultural tradition that makes it a space of constant transit.

In the series of workshops and laboratories (have a look) commanding attention, the one that grabs my eye the most is The Laboratory of Critical Writing, done in collaboration with IUAV's Faculty of Design and Arts, and the course of Methodology of the Performance Critique. Exploring performance criticism as it relates to judgement, memory and aesthetics, it plans to refer most heavily to two great thinkers of the theatre and the Mediterranean: Albert Camus and Pier Paolo Pasolini. The process will be documented on Giornale di bordo, the official papers of the Lab.

It looks, quite frankly, like something I would come up with I was showered with money. The intersection of space, theatre and thought. How apt.

Among the more general themes, there are Found Myths, Sans Papiers, The lingua franca of the Mediterranean ports; among the less general activities, an hommage to Pasolini, a dramaturgical workshop with Biljana Srbljanovic, a laboratory of performance photography, round tables. Some closed, some open to the public.

I am not even going to try to relate such a spectacle of intelligent creative exploration with anything going on in this city at the moment, except to make a little note that The Age may want to consider sending some of their arts commentators to the workshops. Perhaps next year.