“VOYAGE EN COBARGIE”

Original creation by Aurelia Monfort performed the 20th of April at the Cobargo School Of Art Hall

Stage manager : Connor Ross

Set up and lights : Alfredo Lacaprara

Script-writing assistant : Sarah Breakey

Village artist project coordinator : Suzy McKinnon

"Guest" performers : Marco, the " Quaama ecstatic dancers" (Ben, Trish and Brogeo), the "workshop group" (Sarah, Jaime, Dipak and Jane), the "Bermi choir singers" (Paul, Carolyne, Sarah, Ruth and Ali).

Videos and photos of the performance : Roger Stuart, Marie-Claude Ravenel et Martin Gash.

“Something happens, and from the moment it begins to happen, nothing can ever be the same again.”

“Quelque chose se passe, et du moment que cela a commencé, rien ne sera plus pareil”.

PAUL AUSTER

IDENTITY – PART I (video)

Monday the 5th of February - Day 1

My English is very bad but I'm very lucky to be here with very good conditions to work.

I really don't know what will happen. So many things are possible.

I've to main goals :

  • take a photo of this “supernatural” meeting :

  • see in live this amazing wombat's dexterity :

Ice cream and passion fruit for desert. Maybe I just have to calm down and see.

Saturday the 10th of February - Day 6

Waking up with the sun.

Eagles, wombat, lizards.

Big pots of barbecue sauce in the supermarket.

I must sustain myself and allow change in this new rhythm.

I'm so far but I still feel very close to people in France.

Ice cream and passion fruit.

“When big spiders come inside, the rain is coming.”

“A LITTLE OF AUSTRALIA” (photos and text about the “Cobargo Show”)

Monday the 19th of February - Day 15

Black cockatoos and wallabies' breakfast on the deck.

Brain wash in the waves and resourcing days-end light.

It's impossible to describe well what's happening here.

I've written the different ideas for the project. I'm very enthusiastic!

I'm trying to find a good balance between preparing what I can bring here and how to let things happen naturally.

How is it possible to work with my own fears and doubts?

My link with France is moving. First tears of loneliness.

Ice cream and passion fruit.

I'm well.

Thursday the 22nd of February - Day 18

Invitations for lunches and dinners. So many different stories.

Sometimes I forget that I'm speaking in English.

I walked in the bush. First, I had the feeling that I can see nothing.

After a moment, everything appeared so well organised, in such a complex structure, around the eternal cycle of life and death and life.

Human place here is not the same. In Europe, my connection to the land is a more intellectual idea, here I can feel in my body that I have to be very respectful of the land.

(I put of my shoes)

“MARCO'S BUSH WALK” (video and live music by Marco)

Visited “Songlines” exhibition in Canberra. This paintings are not only paintings but maps, stories, connection to the land. Something about real beauty, about truth. Something about how to replace your fear by a deeper joy. A door open to the sublime.

I cried a lot.

Thursday the 1st of March - Day 25

I have a new design in my dreams and little routine at home.

I have performed for the first time in English and written an article for the blog, in English first, in French after. An other language is definitely an other way to approach the world.

I'm still looking for what my job has to be here... I'm so free and however I'm so afraid that people expect something from me that I can't give.

Maybe my role is just to drink cuppas with a lot of people!

So why is it so difficult to go to the stranger?

Ice cream and passion fruit.

I learn that is not possible to escape from myself.

I have now to face myself. And hopefully trees are here to help me.

(I put of my coat)

“DANCING WITH THE TREES” (music by Connor Ross and improvisation dance with friends)

IDENTITY – PART II (video)

Saturday the 3rd of March - Day 27

Suzy has made a list for me of 26 groups and organisations in Cobargo.

I learned that here volunteers do a lot, that it's the only way to keep villages alive in the country.

Cobargo is a multicultural community maybe in life styles rather than origins of the people who live here.

I don't know how it'll be possible to catch it.

The folk festival has already begun. So well organised compared to the mess in French festivals!

Tree days to sing, dance, talk, enjoy music and paint!

“WHERE THE MUSIC TAKES ME” (video)

Friday the 9th of March - Day 33

I've the felling that the project “remains on ice”.

I arrived in my bubble, with my “Europeans ideas”. My bubble has burst.

I'm now trying to really understand people and create something else.

And first, trying to slow down and to stop running away!

I'm not here to produce something in a capitalist term, I'm here maybe just to be me in all my identities (artist, French, friend, hyperactive, dark eyes, philosopher...)

and just observe what happens for me and for the others -

We never make time for that - Ice cream and almonds from the garden.

Wednesday the 14th of March - Day 38

Kangaroos fighting behind my window.

It's still really hard to make people understand what I'm trying to do here.

I'm not a visual artist, I'm a stage director but I don't want to create a theatre play, I'm interested in the stories of people but I'm not a writer or a documentary maker...

Finally, a little group of people came for the workshop. And it was such a good surprise to realise what is possible to share about us in such a short time.

“SOMETHING ABOUT US” (theatre performance by the people who did the workshop)

IDENTITY - PART III (video)

Friday the 16th of March - Day 40

Echidna crossing the road, pelican in the sunset and kangaroo waiting at the bus stop.

Walking, swimming, thinking.

Because what we call “nature” is so powerful here, I continue to struggle about the role of Art. The question is not to reproduce or to try to do better than the “perfection”...

Because Art is the human expression of our connection to our environment, the Art I make in France can't be the same one here.

(I put of my shirt)

Sometimes to cross the gap you have to go down deep in the creek and dig through the roots.

Ice cream and passion fruit.

Sunday the 18th of March - Day 42

The hot wind blows stronger.

The bush fires reminded us how we are so little and what really matters.

(I put of my pant and let appear an indian dress)

Friday the 23rd of March - Day 47

The big spider, my roomate of several days, left.

I feel nude, in the middle of the creek.

To get closer to the people here, I left behind a part of myself and I'm not yet someone else.

When things get dark, fear comes from the idea that life will stay like this.

So I think about the cycle of life and death and life and I remember that everything is just a passage.

And I sing

“LET IT GO” (song with friends)

Monday the 26th of March - Day 50

Playing music, drinking beers and laughing about life.

Ice cream and passion fruit.

It's good to be sometimes just a friend.

Saturday the 31st of March - Day 55

Snake, dolphins and lyrebirds.

I've understood that during this month people said to me “yeah yeah” when I talked, even if they understood nothing of what I said and actually, I did the same!

So I've learned to recognise when they don't understand

and I've also learned to say “what's this word mean? Can you spell it please?”

Even if I can understand the body-language,

the most difficult thing is to understand the “sous-entendus”, all the things behind the words...

the immersed part of the iceberg, most of time unknown by the persons themselves!

Ice cream and passion fruit.

“TOGETHER WE CHAT” (video)

Saturday the 7th of April - Day 62

Light at the end of the day makes me cry with happiness.

There is no truth, only point of view.

Things are like we think they are so when we want to change something maybe we have first to change how we look at it...

The “Crossfire evening” was great. Thirty people went to listen to parts of this strong and beautiful play and discuss the questions of conflicts and identities.

Of course it's not enough but it's maybe a beginning.

Ice cream and native lime.

Friday the 13th of April - Day 68

Talking under the Figtree, Charlie said that he read something about the fact that you don't really know a place until you've been lost there.

After a moment of silence, I said :

“I've made a short film last year in Moscow called

“GET LOST TO BE FOUND” (video)

Friday the 20th of April - Day 75

It's not possible to talk about all that's happened and it's also not possible to talk about all the experiences I didn't do, the people I haven't met, the stories I haven't heard.

It's important for me to say that the huge aspect I missed is my contact with the first nation people, living on their land. Like a lot of people here, I'm still looking for answers.

Nevertheless, here I found a new freedom working in an other language.

I've experimented with how to trust. Trust the time, trust people, trust myself.

I learned in three months maybe more that I learned in twenty five years at school.

I'm sure that this experience will echo in my professional and personal life for many years.

“Voyage en Cobargie” was my little gift for you but it's nothing compare to the gift you offered me.

Quelque chose se passe, et du moment que cela a commencé, rien ne sera plus pareil”.

“Something happens, and from the moment it begins to happen, nothing can ever be the same again.”

Thanks to Connor, Alf, Sarah and all the wonderful performers.

Thanks to all the people who answered to my questions, recorded the "identity definitions" and all those who invited me and shared something about their "Cobargo's life".

Thanks to the people who made the project possible : the Bowerbird Community Op Shop, the Cobargo Creators Centre, the Well Thumbed Books.

Thanks to Suzy McKinnon and Steve Ross who made a dream come true.

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