by David Slater – http://davidaslater.wordpress.com/
The whole experience is wrapped magically in a scorching Indian summer: late September and the temperatures are in the high twenties. Seven days spent preciously- rich experience juxtaposed with a ‘doing nothing in particular’ rhythm.
Two older actors from the Brazilian company Casa das Fases spend a week with older performers from Entelechy. ‘We learn about ourselves from the gaze of the other’.
We host an ‘engagement party’ for invited friends and supporters and Casa das Fases perform ‘Equal’ their lyrical and haunting production. It’s the story of two conjoined sisters separated by surgery when young and growing older together. One of the sisters begins to loose her memory and slowly they begin to become strangers to each other.
Our Brazilian guests bring letters from Londrina: stories, trinkets and fragrances. On this journey we have all dangerously left behind pre-conceptions of who we are or who we might become. You can almost taste ‘possibility’ hanging: ‘I had never dreamt that I would be doing this at my age’ says one of the Entelechy company. ‘I don’t speak Portuguese but we just found a way of talking’
It’s the launch of The Tempest Project’, a two year weaving of Shakespeare’s play into the lives of older people in London and Londrina. During their lifetimes older participants from both companies have survived by juggling multiple identities: mother, wife, daughter, lover, friend and stranger; endless realities often hidden and unspoken.
On a Friday afternoon in the Western Pavilion in the Southbank Centre with half of London stretched out beneath us under that glorious sun everyone begins to move, with their multiple ways of experiencing the world, into an engagement with Shakespeare’s text.