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Welcome to the Show

ANTALYA: don't think, act!

March 20, 2018

 

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

I know the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul as I know the back of my palm. I've been there in international & domestic flights, at least 8 times. I've kissed friends good-bye on Christmas Eve there, I hugged dear ones waiting for me, I've tested all the coffee places and pistachio cakes, I've been through the never ending pass-port queues, stormed the Victoria's Secret store, and I've had the bitter taste, trough the thick and thin of over-control on luggage due to security threats. I've launched myself in Istanbul via the metro lines underneath and I successfully passed the luggage test, after buying the plastic coins so I can get in and actually use the tube. But this time, while going to Antalya, it was different. Do you know that gut feeling you have, when your stomach cringes a little and says "mmm...no no, something is up..not necessarily bad, but more like the thrill of the adventure, the taste of the unknown" ?

 

                                 Photo (c): Nomaddeea

 

Well... the thrill of the adventure started with the cutest traditional Turkish grandmother while waiting with my friend Roxana, in the domestic part of Ataturk, to catch our flight for Antalya. I had taken my sandals off to relax my feet, and technically is not very polite to do that in Turkey. The grandmother kept looking and smiling. I kept repeating to Roxana: she's gonna scold me, just wait and see!

 

My basic Turkish skills indicated that she is actually asking me from where I am. I said..Europe! ..the next thing she says is: I've never heard of Europe! Where is that? This was the most innocent thing that ever happened to me in Turkey. That's because innocent people are the most authentic and the happiest. And Turkey is generally a country that trust me, really does provide for its citizens: best non altered food is here! best landscapes are here, best hospitality based on international standards is in Turkey as well ( non GMO)! Not the best in art-related freedom definitely, but the best in humanity. So when the opportunity raised to engage in a training course on clown and animation tools, I could not say no, especially since the location was the 4 stars Club Hotel Falcon in Antalya, which happens to be home to some of the most ancient theatres in the world and also home to Hadrian's Gate. Really, this hotel is impressive enough to be worth a second visit!

Photo (c): Roxana Berezoschi

 

One thing I really enjoyed was hearing Stefano, one of the trainers, saying all over again: don't think, act!

 

 

                                 Trainer Stefano D'Argenio Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

 Photo video Support provided by Ion Svet

 

For actors this is of an excruciating importance, since I caught myself more than one time over-thinking before actually acting, which is very detrimental for an actor. The challenge otherwise is to know yourself well, and know your style of acting and your value as an actor and human being, as this is the only thing that allows you head-on to go with confidence for the roles that you want, and audition with the pieces that best work for you only!

 

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

As this training was on the technical & mechanical wonders of being a clown it was rather challenging for me to be one. Grotowski, as much as I love him as an experimental director & author, had me all blown up with the idea of using my body before using my words and feelings. Being a clown is not much different, and for someone that is feeling & imagination based like me, it is quite a stretch to the other side of the bridge and you kind of need to be careful not to have one of your legs still glued to the other end..

Photo (c): Roxana Berezoschi

 

I found the clown to be challenging and the trainers were un-forgiving. For some reason flashes of the famous American School  Juilliard were rumbling through my mind, the old days type of training encountered there: you make one mistake, you get your critics and you are put on probation if not out completely.

Photo (c): Ion Svet

Photo (c): Ion Svet

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

Piero Ricciardi, another trainer from Italy, divided us in two lines towards the end, facing each-other, and we had to pick a partner and act a clown exercise until he would stop it ( right where it was getting sense-less, and where it needed to be cut).

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

My pleasure was to encounter people that have done street clowning and aerial circus and hula-hoops and watch them perform their craft. 

 Above: Polish Artist Ola Stojak, Photo (c): Bogna Kociumbas

 

After years of doing classical circus, to add up theatre & a director is not always the best you would hope for. They were doing it so well that they were not in need of a director and many rejected the idea of working with one, since they were coordinating their own work. Piero used to say the clown picks the energy from the air, and it does, since it gets quite tense when  everyone is watching.

Building your mask, Photo (c): Ion Svet

Photo (c): Ion Svet

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

 Meeting international people, coming from different educational systems, means that the input is a lot heavier and 'brighter' then one that you would pay your eyes for, in a drama school that arranges these types of meetings that ultimately look like theatre business at pretentious standards. Meeting these people in 4 & 5  stars hotels in Turkey or anywhere else in the world and working together and listening to their experience is invaluable. No drama school tops that! One girl I met, chose to engage in theatre in Rio de Janeiro so the things she was 'channeling' during the course were radically different from what I heard before. We also had musical people playing flute and sitar and multi-lingual artists that made me step back and reflect on the only 2 languages that I speak. 

  Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

The exercises were fun and most of the times built for quick physical reaction. Somehow I will never forget Stefano's long rope that we were made to jump one after the other, rolling so fast that I assumed one must be naked to be able to jump it fast enough. That's because when I succeeded in the jump, my large Turkish pants didn't! Aside from this, I remember when I was a kid I was not that inclined for ball games, but it all depends on the trainer, that being said Piero Ricciardi, is the master of ball juggling. I was mastering 3 balls in less than an hour, not entirely relaxed in my body, but the atmosphere on the golf terrain above the sea had a say in my mental process. From here on, we went straight into riding horses, utopia horses..with Stefano, the god-father of " not thinking, act it":

 

A knight was riding a horse

He sees a saloon

( put only your left hand above your forehead)

He gets of the horse

( make a full spin on the right only)

He enters the door

He orders one beer

( with one finger)

He drinks the beer 

Than he walks away right side

 

This amusing little game is to be done in teams, and this is what Stefano did, we were about 5 teams, and he made us attach external circumstances to our riding of the horse, for example:  angry birds flying around, temperature drop outside, or you as a rider being attacked by flies..you name it!  All members of the team need to execute the movements in the same time, and after this part is finished, the game is switched and you add a  physical condition to the rider ( he is old..) or perhaps you add an emotion. The nasty part is when you get the critics upon Stefano's dismantling of the exercise. Live criticism is inevitable in the life of an artist so be ready for that!

 

                                Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

After this exercise, we had to prepare dance coreographies in under 3 minutes of preparation and 1 minute display, on given themes and then change the theme ( from jazz to hip hop), for example dance on the lion sleeps tonight and make it into a different genre. Or change happy birthday into a funeral gospel edition. Or play an 80 years old James Bond. Or sing the Banana Song, in a Sepultura style. It was fun! Also I always knew balloons were magical, since they contain a sacred element ( air), but I never knew what a clown can do with a balloon: you can make it into a mirror, an aura, a life belt, you name it. It gives you freedom to play.

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

The chair exercises are a classic in theatre but the balloons, not so much. We also had to add voice to it all from time to time which for me, made it more engaging, as it was playing with circus small nets, and colorful scarfs. 

 

Photo (c): Ion Svet

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

All in all, this art project in Antalya offered the most transcendental inter-cultural nights I ever saw or participated in. If you do not know what that is: typically these type of international projects gather together different participants from 5 or more countries. They are made to bring food & beverage from their specific countries and project a film or two about their culture, but in Antalya things played out differently. We had to perform a ritual from our countries. Turkey was the most inspirational one, with Dervish dances that we actually learned from: how to ground yourself, and how to enter into a trance like state, followed by Poland exhibiting a traditional night with candles, wax and water for divination on the Saint Andrew's night: you put water in a vessel, burn candles, and drop the wax in the water to see the shape of it, which happens to be exactly what's waiting for you in future.

Photo (c): Nomaddeea

 

I was so into it, until Stefano yelled in my ears enough to make me almost faint. Because it all got so interesting, the Romanian team decided to bring in the 3 fatal sisters that 'wish upon' the child after its birth and both gift and doom its destiny ( just think of Macbeth initial stages)..

 Photo (c): Ion Svet

..plus we also did a scene from the Merry Cemetery at Sapanta ( northern Romania) where people write funny quotes on the cross ( here lies my mother in law, if she would't be lying here, there would be me instead of her).

                                        Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

The fatal sisters go like this:

 

The stars sang

And the sun whispered

The moon uttered 

That a great joy we found today

The moon in the night opened our sweet way

The sun kept us warm always on our road

As we ride the stars high upon our horse

So we get here fast

On the biggest day 

....

Well on the biggest day, we went to showcase our work to a kinder garden..

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

And we really went for it strong!

 

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

I have no idea if the kids liked it...

 

But we pray that they did..

 

I mean...we really prayed..

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

Don't worry, they had fun! Apart from the one I dropped in the head!

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

Another thing I love about these projects is the fact that they are so similar in approach to that of an overly expensive drama school, that believe me they follow all the guidelines of the exercises, including the well known starters of bringing objects that you either identify with, or that mean something to you, followed by exceptional exercises of team-building, connectivity, empathy & mask building from clay.

 

Photo Cluster (c): Ion Svet

 

Our second biggest day though, was ...when we went each to his way to visit what we felt we must visit in Antalya. Be warned though, Antalya is very modern in infrastructure, pretty much like the West! You can take a tram from the suspended bridge in the airport, and it gets you to the city centre. In just a 5 minutes walk from there, you get to the traditional Turkish ice-cream shows ( about 10 TL), the bazaar streets, and to the Clock with one of the best, tranquil views over the port..

Photo (c): Nomaddeea

 

Also pay special attention to the restaurants, they over-charged me in one by bringing an extra plate I did not order and made sure I would not run away until I paid everything. The waiters were incredibly rude. As soon as you make it out of the hotel resort they will jump on you to sit in their restaurant, and is not always the best idea, be careful what you pick. Ladies, also keep your cloths on, if you do not want to hear small hotel staff here and there telling you : 'you are the most romantic woman I have ever seen'. If you wear a veil than you automatically become their sister ..

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

Some stuff you need to know about Antalya, besides being excruciatingly beautiful, is that as a woman you need to guard yourself some more at the beach as well! 

 Photo (c): Nomaddeea

Located on Anatolia's flourishing southwest coast bordered by the Taurus Mountains, Antalya is now Turkey's biggest international sea resort, on the Turkish Riviera, bringing in more than 12 million tourists per year.  Is the largest on the Mediterranean coast, and the capital of its eponymous province. King Attalus II of Pergamon is looked on as founder of the city in about 150 BC, during the Hellenistic period. It was named Attaleia or Attalia in his honour.  This name, still in use in Greek, was later evolved in Turkish as Adalia and then Antalya. Attaleia was also the name of a festival at Delphi and Attalis was the name of an old Greek tribe at Athens. 

 

In Antalya even the dogs sleep on red carpets. Is very fancy. If you match this type of high-end travel you will like the area. The locals in the city, are shy, but modern, though I did have some bad experiences that I shall gently touch in this article. To begin with: the Miami Style beach: Konyaaltı. If you are a woman traveling solo to this beach, you must watch yourself.

 Photo (c): A stranger..

 

Konyaalti is not just a beach, but also a district in the Antalya Province.  It's name "Konyaaltı"  originates from the expression of "koy altı", which in the Turkish language means "the cove down the cliffs". The water is a little cooler compared to other beaches in Antalya because of an underground creek flowing to the sea. And I should know this because I tried to bath myself in there and the water was cold as an ice-berg. Also taking my shirt off meant a lot of men instantly started to take photos of me. At least I have some to share, but I can't say I felt comfortable at all..

 

What was striking was the lack of women in the water. They were all calmly sitting by the beach, while men had no trouble in enjoying nature. Not that fair right?

 Photo (c): Nomaddeea

 

 Transportation to this beach, is more or less easy by means of buses, but as I was coming from the touristic all inclusive hotel resorts towards Lara Beach, it took me an hour and 2 buses to actually make it on my own. Once there, different beach destinations are reachable by foot as well.

 Photo (c): Nomaddeea

 

The place is by all means, super extra modern, with gorgeous homes sporting huge windows, lime trees outside & quite peaceful people walking their dogs in the after-noon. However in the beach area, as I was alone, I really did not have a safe feeling in that immense open space, with tens of men's eyes gazing at me. I must have been around one hour there, then I headed back to the Antalya City Center, to have a tea over-looking the port and as it always happens in art projects where the trainers & the connectivity are great, I met by casualty the rest of the group that visited some impressive water-falls set in the opposite direction from Konyaalti.

 Photo (c): Nomaddeea

 

We collectively decided to go for a boat cruise and we had a Turkish guy in the group tough negotiating the price and running from one boat to another. The trick is to actually know which boat departs the sooner, as the experience is similar from any that you might take.

Antalya from Above, Photo (c): Nomaddeea

 

The sunset is gorgeous, they take you on a tour to see the waterfalls..and ...just be careful not to lose your hat.., one of the romanian girls had hers blown away and the fishermen jumped to fish it out with sticks before the boat departed. 

 Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

I consider myself lucky to be "raised" among artists and open-minded people, educated by them in all sense. And nomads are the best, especially if they happen to be be independent film-directors, like Ion Svet, whom I usually call John and whom ushered us all in a Titanic experience.. For the last part of our boat cruise, we were just singing the Banana's song: one banana, two bananas...three bananas...1..2...3...4...banana...banana...banana...banana...yeah, artists are crazy, and unmistakably visionaries, we see with the eyes of our mind the final product, which happens to be invisible for everyone else, until we get it out to flicker into the sunshine!

 Photo (c): Nomaddeea

 

On the way back, my first flight lost due to technical reasons occurred. So far for my airport adventure! The plane making up for my first segment of travel, from Antalya to Istanbul, took off after 3 hours of waiting, thus I lost the connection between Istanbul & Bucharest. Luckily, the security check is more relaxed so you can get in an out more easily from Antalya airport, making the 3 hours of waiting there more bearable. When I finally made it to Istanbul, a guy almost lost his voice yelling for me, to make sure I am made aware of the logistics process. My luggage was blocked ( I searched for it 2 hours up and down the stairs because I did not know it was blocked), so all I had was my backpack, a black jumper with broken buttons and a pair of high heels to my name. No one really spoke English and you need not try it..they will safely and on mute, place you in a van taking you to a fancy hotel. Turkish Airlines is a very generous airline! My hotel was Miracle Istanbul Asia, since I was trapped on the Asian side. My good Turkish friends took me with a car by night and showed me Istanbul Marina side. Is really wonderful!

 

Cheers to the adventure! Another great one!

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

PS: This project was supported by Erasmus+, in the form of a training course. If you are not familiar with Erasmus+, this is a program where youth workers and youth leaders come together for several days to develop their knowledge, skills & attitude on a certain theme, as well as boost their life-skills & employ-ability. The daily program is facilitated by experienced trainers. On this specific occasion the trainers were the Italians: Stefano D'Argenio & Pierluigi Ricciardi & the Turkish: Ahmet Oncel from Utopia Art. Many thanks to all of them, and to Hotel Club Falcon that allowed our training to happen there, and cleaned after our team-works in the grass...

Photo (c): Ion Svet

 

 The practical work included workshops on theatre, clown, street theatre, basic juggling & individual work, working in groups & collective work. The whole project aimed to promote & disseminate technical & educational practices in the field of youth activities & to develop art tools for community projects. All the participants, including myself, worked in an intercultural atmosphere & learned from each-other. The original name of the project is Tools of Animation, and it has a non-formal educational approach, with theatre exercises that you would typically find in a drama-school. It is still an on-going project so if you want to participate please contact the trainers. All costs are covered by the EU. 

                                       

 

The End.

Is only a New Beginning!

XoXo

Deea

 

© Deea Wolf

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  Drama Moments & Nomad Times : served with a lem on   on  a flying zebra, and a pinch of jazz. Tips, life tricks & international coffee sips guaranteed.

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Deea

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