Mon, 04 Nov | "Michael Cacoyannis" Foundation

KASPAR MACHINE. Awareness raising and participation in the performing arts for social inclusion

1st Steering Committee Meeting Athens, 5 – 8 November 2019
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 KASPAR MACHINE. Awareness raising and participation in the performing arts for social inclusion

΄'Ωρα & Τοποθεσία

04 Nov 2019, 21:00 – 09 Nov 2019, 02:00
"Michael Cacoyannis" Foundation, Pireos 206, Tavros 177 78, Greece

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Participants

Nikos Chatzipapas    LABILLUSIONS

Rania Papadopoulou   LABILLUSIONS

Elia Verganelaki    LABILLUSIONS

Olga Athaniti    LABILLUSIONS

Fouli Papageorgiou   PRISMA

Demetris Mylonas   PRISMA

Marta Strzalko    TEATR BIURO PODROZY

Rosana Capraru   ASOCIATIA FOA FUSION OF ARTS

Roxana Alexandru   ASOCIATIA FOA FUSION OF ARTS 

Stefano Té    TEATRO DEI VENTI

Katerina Gambetta   TEATRO DEI VENTI

Minutes

Tuesday 5 November

10:00 to 13:00 

Arrival of Partners, Coffee

Welcome by the Coordinator, presentation of the partners

Fouli Papageorgiou presented a summary of the activities of the project, according to the approved proposal, making clear the roles of the partners in each activity, the timetable of the activity and the expected results. The ppt of this presentation has been sent to the partners and is also uploaded in the project’s folder in Drive. Several issues were discussed during the rest of the day and in the following day.

A number of management issues were presented by the coordinator and discussed. The coordinator invited Olga Athaniti and Demetris Mylonas, who represented the project coordinator in the kick off meeting in Brussels, organised by EACEA, to present the main conclusions of this meeting.

Demetris presented a ppt containing some important management issues which were talked about in Brussels. This ppt was also sent to partners and is attached to the minutes.

Nikos, as coordinator of the project, informed the partners that the Grant Agreement has been signed and the first instalment of the project grant has arrived. He informed the partners that they will receive soon the partnership agreements that need to be signed between the coordinator and each partner, so that the first payment of their grant, amounting to 40% of the total grant, will be forwarded to them. The second instalment of 30% pf the grant can be claimed as soon they have spent 70% of the first instalment. The remaining 30% will be paid by EACEA after the approval of the final report. 

The partners were also informed about the documents they need to collect and keep, in order to support their financial report and undergo to the final audit by an independent auditor, e.g. staff (external or internal) invoices or payslips, travel documents, purchases of materials, hire of conference halls etc. It was also made clear that every partner must submit to the coordinator a financial and activity report every 6 months, the final report will be a sum of all other reports and will feed in information for the Final Report to EACEA.

A communication protocol was also discussed, so that a) all project material will be kept online in a “library”, i.e. a folder created in Google Drive, which will allow partners to upload their work and to edit and comment on the work of other partners; b) the emails sent to partners will be automatically received by all, and all emails sent by partners will also reach everybody listed in the project. 

Demetris made an offer to create the KASPAR Drive folder; and Fouli made an offer to create a group email through the server of PRISMA, and the other partners accepted this with pleasure. The group email will be Kaspar.Machine@prismanet.gr

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch

14:30 – 17:30

The partners asked questions about the management issues presented in the morning, and about the activities of the project, especially regarding the timetable and the role of the different partners. Some of the activities, such as the communication activities were discussed in more detail, e.g.

· The logos of the partners must be sent to Nikos and Rania (communication assistant) to include in every publication.

· The project coordinator and PRISMA (which is responsible for the design of the project leaflet) will cooperate and create the logo of the project. 

· The coordinator will also take responsibility of the social media pages and website. The main website will be in English, with pages devoted to each participating country. Responsibility for entering material, news and information in the national pages will lie with the respective partner.

· The Communication and PR Strategy should be defined and put in action straightway, including press releases in English and in the language of every partner.

· The promotion of the project at the local/national and international mass media should also start immediately in all countries.

Rania promised to send a text about the basic communication rules to guide the promotion of the project. She also suggested that each partner should find communication sponsors in their country.

The research activities were also discussed briefly, regarding the desk study and the interviews. This discussion was taken up and continued also on Friday morning.

20:00 Meeting for dinner

_____________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday 6 November 2019

9:30 – 13:00

Development of the KASPAR Machine scenario Activity 5)

Nikos started the discussion by presenting the main points behind the play – the enigma of Kaspar Houser. He noted that it is a real story, which Handke used as a starting point to build the play and convey his own messages; he uses the original boy, Kaspar, as a symbol.

It was recommended to partners to watch Herzog’s 1974 movie “The enigma of Caspar Houser” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZsLVExBFDE&list=PLjp9cDM5tlPoXIu3JP3RH_8J7oxi4DPz4

Handke’s story goes as follows:

A boy is found in a well. The only phrase he knows is “I would like to be a person like somebody else was once”. Kaspar repeats several times this phrase. After he is discovered, there are instigators who try to shape him; they say different phrases to Kaspar to deconstruct this phrase and to deconstruct the character of Kaspar; while trying to rebuild him to something else. At the end, Kaspar makes his revolution.

In the proposed KASPAR Machine play, the focus is on oppression of a few to many. The few transform the many to conforming creatures that are easily controlled.

The setting - a factory of Kaspars’ production – implies the creation of Kaspar clones, who are identical humans conforming to the orders of the few “controllers”. This is like a land of exile, a concentration camp, which is controlled by beings that are not human – symbolically the guards. There are also scientists who perform experiments on them so that they become Kaspars. The Kaspars are programmed to construct a huge puppet, which symbolises fascism.

The message is to highlight the danger of our societies turning to fascist regimes, trying to turn citizens to conforming puppets and manipulate democracy. 

The messages the KASPAR Machine play would try to convey are, in temporal order:

· Oppression of many by a few

· The many try to find ways to escape and cry for help

· Revolution

· Repression

· Escape – the Kaspar of Handke does this – in the last part of the play. 

The real stories of marginalised people collected during the interviews (of Activity 4) will be inserted to the play.

Proposed Characters:

· The displaced people are transformed gradually to Kaspars. Initially they appear in ordinary clothes and then they are transformed to clowns.

· Those who escape will remain Kaspars – just one escapes. 

· Robots, non-humans: the guards, the scientists and the Kaspar bearers (ambulance men)

· Orders are given through loudspeakers

· Α narrator will narrate the story

A question was raised: who is the displaced person, has he a memory or is tabula rasa?

The answer is, yes, they are persons with memories but the oppressors and experimenters wish to efface the memory and turn them to Kaspars – erase their human elements.

Marta asked: Who are the non-humans? From another planet?

Nikos answered: The concentration camp is society itself in miniature. This, according to Nikos, symbolises the worst scenario for the future of Europe.

Marta noted that the worst thing in fascism is that it is organised by ordinary people, from the same mob, but some have the charisma to lead and make society subordinate to them. We need to be clear to the audience that those who become non-human are originating from us.

Another question was raised by Marta: where is the main society going to be? And what is the society’s role in the play? Will they be just the audience or will they be involved as another group of actors or audience-actors?

Stefano also noted that the play needs to take a poetic approach, which can solve several problems of the scenario and settings.

13:00-14:30 Lunch

14:30-18:00

The discussion about the scenario continued and several ideas were aired. It was agreed that Nikos, who has responsibility for this activity according to the proposal, will compose a draft scenario and will send it to the other partners for feedback and further proposals.

Preparation of the components of the production (Activity 6)

Settings

Regarding the settings, Nikos mentioned that he imagines the settings as a kind of concentration camp or prison. One of the central items of the setting is the Kaspar puppet, a 10-metre high puppet illustrated also in the proposal. 

The artist who created the maquette of the puppet, Kostis Papadopoulos, joined the meeting at this point, and presented a scale model 1:10 of the puppet to the partners. He also showed to the partners the possibilities the puppet has for movement, and several technical issues regarding its suspension (from a crane) and its stabilisation on stage.

There was a discussion among the partners concerning whether the puppet can be constructed in every country presenting the play, or it should be transported from Greece and returned back, and the budget necessary for the two options was considered. The discussion on this was not concluded. Other partners (e.g. Stefano) had alternative ideas about the puppet, and it was agreed to work on these ideas and present them in the next partners’ meeting. 

Marta noted that if we should construct something as complex and demanding as this big puppet, it must have an important part in the play rather than just standing there for while at the end of the show. Again, it was agreed that such issues need further thought after the scenario of the play is concluded, and should be discussed in detail in the next workshop.

Responsibility for the design of settings lies with TBP, who will formulate an overall proposal for the next workshop.

Integrating amateur actors and members of the public into the performance (volunteers)

Kaspars, according to the proposal will be played by volunteers, who will be recruited from the disadvantaged groups, e.g. immigrants and refugees, prisoners and ex-prisoners, people with a handicap – physical or mental-, homeless, etc.

Nikos placed emphasis on the presence of volunteers on stage, who will represent the disadvantaged groups that are the focus of the play. Other partners commented that the presence of only disadvantaged groups on stage may create a problem of misinterpretation especially if the setting reminds of prison. Stefano noted that it would be very negative for prisoners and ex-prisoners to be in an environment that replicates prison. It was agreed that this issue needs to be discussed again in relation to the settings.

Lighting

Nikos proposed that lighting can be realistic like camp lights, floodlights, search lights. More detailed proposals will be presented in the next workshop.

Costumes

Responsibility for providing proposals about the costumes and designing the costumes for the play lies with FOA. It was agreed that it was too early to present proposals now, and FOA will submit them to partners in the next workshop.

Music

Responsibility for the soundtrack of the play lies with the coordinator. Nikos aired his concerns about buying the rights of music, such as Hans Zimmer’s music for the film Dunkirk (which Nikos considers ideal for the KASPAR play). The budget for music is small, and more thinking and exploration of different options should be considered.

Movement and choreography, improvisation component

Stefano talked very briefly about these components (responsibility of which lies with TdV) and stressed again the need to introduce a poetic approach to the play and its components. Proposals from TDV will be submitted to the partners for discussion in the next workshop.

Multi-lingual performance

Several ideas were aired regarding the use of supertitles in the play. Marta proposed to hear the original language of the story through loudspeaker with a time lag of a few seconds, while the volunteer actor who tells the story in his national language is heard at the forefront. More proposals will be worked out by TBP, which has responsibility for this component.

20:00 Meeting for dinner

_____________________________________________________________________________

Thursday 7 November 2019

9:30 – 13:00

Research (activities 3 and 4)

Fouli made a presentation of the Research activities, their objectives, methodology and expected results. 

The desk study will focus on medieval times till today, and each partner will conduct a review of Street Theatre in their respective country. PRISMA will extend the review to important developments at EU level, and will also coordinate this activity and write the synthesis report, based on the reports produced by the individual partners.

At this point, the definition of Street Theatre was discussed and its relationship to open air theatre. It was agreed that Street Theatre has two important characteristics: it is integrated in the space of a city of town, and it is participative – the audience forms part of the show.

PRISMA will provide the template for these reports which would include:

· Origins of Street Theatre in each country

· Different forms that the street theatre has taken over the centuries

· Central figures in the development of contemporary Street Theatre (for example, Nikos mentioned Eugenio Barba)

· Activity of Street Theatre today, repertoire, technical issues, popularity with audiences, special features

The field research will include 5 Interviews per country with persons who belong to the vulnerable groups the partner wants and sees feasible to concentrate on. The Interviews should be videoed, if the interviewee agrees, or alternatively audio-recorded (if there is no agreement for videoing). The videos and audios are expected to be used in the performance of the play. Also, each partner will write, on the basis of their notes and audio-visual material, the story of each person interviewed, which in turn can be used as input to the scenario. It was discussed whether it would be an optimal solution to ask the interviewees to take part in the performance and narrate their stories (especially those originating from he country where the performance will be played). Opinions in favour and against this were expressed. This issue will be discussed again in the next workshop. PRISMA will propose a questionnaire for these interviews, will coordinate the research and will create a volume of “stories” from all countries.

Art Exhibition (Activity 12)

PRISMA presented the idea behind the art exhibition, which will be largely based on the stories of the 20 persons interviewed during Activity 4, utilising also the visual and audio material collected during the interviews, as well as material from the performances of the play. It was explained to the partners that they should find a suitable space for the exhibition, translate the panels or subtitles in their own language and invite local artists to lend works related to the theme of the exhibition, to be included in it. This can start straight away, because attracting artists who might be interested in producing works of art specifically for the exhibition, should be an advantage. The scenario of the exhibition and the central idea of presenting its theme will be further discussed during the next workshop, when the stories will have been collected and thus the material of the exhibition will be more specific.

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30-17:30

The afternoon of this day was devoted to the partners, the presentation of their organisations and their work, with a view to providing insights about how each partner works, so that the partners would understand each other better and make cooperation thus easier.

The five partners participating in the project presented their work and discussed it. The presentations are uploaded in the project’s folder in Drive.

20:00 Meeting for dinner

Friday 8 November 2018

9:30-13:30 

Further management issues

The roles of partners in relation to the various components of the play were summarised and clarified as follows:

• Coordinator: LABILLUSIONS who will also take responsibility for the direction of the play, the scenario, the music component and the design and production of the KASPAR puppet.

• TBP will assist LABILLUSIONS with the coordination of the production components and will take responsibility for video components and digital settings, language coordination and multilingual design, and physical settings. TBP will also take responsibility for collecting the material necessary to prepare the “How to do” Report of the training seminars (for the volunteers), including the methodology, schedule and materials used.

• TDV will take responsibility for movement and choreography, improvisation components and the integration of amateur actors and members of the public into the performance;  and will take responsibility for the design of the publication which would introduce and describe the play and its message (to be used as the programme of the performances).

• FOA will take responsibility for the costumes  

Nikos promised to send the Grant Agreement to all, and the Partnership Agreements asap.

The timetable of the performances in the 3 countries (GR, IT, PL) were discussed in more detail.

Nikos informed the partners that he is making efforts to include the KASPAR show in the International Athens Festival, which certainly would add prestige and attract more audiences. However, it is difficult to know about this before the beginning of the New Year, and maybe a little later, because it then that the final invitations from the Festival administration are made. If the play is included in the Festival, it will have to be performed in June or July. The partners agreed that it would be best to push it to July, because they have other obligations already fixed for the summer. Ideally, the play would be performed in September 2020, as in the proposal, but all agreed that the possibility to include the show in the Athens Festival is very attractive. The performance in Italy and Poland were very briefly discussed and not consolidated at this stage in terms of dates.

Dissemination

Nikos brought up the issue of presenting the KASPAR show in well-known Street Theatre Festivals in Europe. After some discussion, about which Festivals would be most appropriate and most willing to accept the show, it was agreed that a proposal to the Cultural Directors of International Festivals should be drafted. There was no final decision as to whether such proposals should be sent before the premiere of the play in Athens or after, so that photos and video can be included.

Recruitment of volunteers

The methods and sources of information for the recruitment of volunteers were discussed. It appears that in different countries different methods can be applied, according to the contacts of the partners and the structure of amateur theatre groups. It was agreed though that drama school students should be included in the volunteers, because they may provide great help in organizing and guiding the other volunteers. 

13:30 Lunch

15:00 End of meeting

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