I was a volunteer. It wasn’t the first time, it won’t be the last time. It is, though, the first time I felt the need to write about it and share it on the internet to be seen. I like writing, as you know, or as you just found out. I write about a lot of things, mostly about films, because… I love films, but this is the first time I’m writing about theatre; effervescent, daring, unapologetic, engrossing contemporary theatre. And I will do it from the position of a spectator, a bit more than a spectator maybe, who tried to keep their eyes as open as they could, even though sometimes it became suffocating.
BE FEST was a feast, at least for the brain if you didn’t have a ticket that included dinner. Intercultural, interdisciplinary, interpersonal, inter whatever you want. I guess it depends on the eyes, you do remember that fancy tumblrish quote “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, right? But I do not think that BE FESTIVAL was about beauty, but about feeling, about keeping you on your toes, about breathing slowly, about carefully holding a (possibly) criminal hand, about kissing cautiously, about stripping bodies and souls, and about hearing more Spanish in a week than you might in a whole year.
The atmosphere was vibrant, the staff was welcoming and warm, the volunteers *cough* amazing *cough*, the hub was funky and the main stage/ dinner hall dreamy but the shows… the shows weren’t comfortable, and they weren’t supposed to be. If we want beauty we look at Botticelli, if we want entertainment we watch Conan, if we want tear-jerking love stories The Notebook does the trick, if we want something else, some different thrills than what The World Cup promises to offer, then we might want to try a contemporary theatre/dance/performance festival like BE FESTIVAL.
It’s never easy to talk about intimacy because we constantly run from it, it’s even harder to bring intimacy, money and sex in the same equation on a stage, before the eyes of a public. It’s always a fuss talking about what on earth is art nowadays when everything can be and nothing is. It is not easy to look at a naked body without objectifying it, sexualizing it or judging it, even though there is nothing sexual about the naked form of being. It is even harder to allow others to see us completely naked. It isn’t pleasant to accept that we are not our social media image, even though we know it. It is not comfortable to watch violence on a stage even though we allow it all around us. We mock the goldfish which’s attention span is 10 seconds (or was it 9?), but we couldn’t wait to see the sign for more content, more noise, more entertainment. We laugh while wasting food. We avoid seeing the consequences that politics, borders, stereotypes and social animosity have on our souls, while we smile enjoying a glass of wine on Instagram. It is easier to watch a show from the shelter of a random seat than stepping on the stage, but it might become appealing with a little financial push. It is never easy to speak the truth. It’s never easy to accept it.
And BE FEST offers you all of these and an UBU and you take what you want or what you need from it (or what you can accept or understand). It’s different for everyone. And it’s meant to be. Because we are individuals, in our own Cave, stuck in our own trap with a chain longer than our lives.
There was blood, and there was water. There were shouts, and there were tears. There was music, and there was silence. There was dance, and there was violence. There were excruciating screams, and there were sincere laughs. There were fear and shock, and there was excitement. There was harsh irony, and there was tenderness. There was nakedness, and there was sex. There was calm, and there was nausea. There was purity, and there was guilt. There were lights and then there was darkness. There were truth and emotions for everyone.
And never forget, someone loves you, drive with care.
P.S. Contemporary dancers use words.