In the Name of the Mother – A retrospective
TheAlbero is an artistic collective born from the work of ImaginAction social arts facilitators Uri Noy Meir and Ilaria Olimpico and that uses theatre and art as tools for personal and social transformation. It is follow our believes in the healing power of theatre as a ritual and aims to restore the connection between humanity and Mother Earth. During the summer of 2015, TheAlbero traveled throughout Italy and Europe to collect images, sounds, poems, and voices to send a message “in the name of Mother Earth”. The theatrical workshops were based on the “Economy of Gift” principle and relied on the trust that participants would honor the work done freely and responsibly. The workshops integrated various languages and techniques, including Theater of the Oppressed, Participatory Narrative, Social Presencing Theatre, and Matriarchal Aesthetics. The workshops and interviews explored the wounds inflicted on the Earth and sought “medicines” together. The workshops for women focused on the correlation between the oppression of female bodies and the oppression of Mother Earth and were intense and sometimes painful experiences. The journey of “In the Name of the Mother” visited cities in Italy, Europe, and the International Women’s House hosted an installation of the project from October 25 to November 8. The installation was a multi-sensory and interactive experience that started with Gratitude, moved through the Pain of the Wound, transformed and allowed participants to see with new eyes and move forward
ABOUT THE PROJECT IN NOME DELLA MADRE
The project “In Nome della Madre” is a traveling theater and storytelling laboratory that aims to go beyond the dissemination of information about the ecological crisis and criticism of the development ideology, as well as beyond the spread of sustainable practices and environmentally friendly behaviors. It aims to heal and re-create a deep and authentic relationship with the Earth, recognizing it as Mother. The project has been created in response to a sense of detachment from nature and the countryside, both geographically (most people live in cities or megalopolises where nature is reduced to parks, decorative trees, and flower beds) and experientially and cognitively, experiences that can only be had by living in contact with nature, we learn the uses of plants, we recognize where food comes from, we experience the cycle of life-death-rebirth.
The project consists of a series of short workshops and interviews in different Italian and European cities, and a five-day residency workshop. During the workshops, different languages are integrated, from body language to poetry and vice versa, from image to sound/movement, from image to oral storytelling. The project draws on the techniques of Theater of the Oppressed (specifically Theater Image and Aesthetics of the Oppressed), a method of investigating and transforming personal and social reality. It practices participatory storytelling that refers to the narrative circle, a ritual widespread in all ancient cultures, a practice of active listening and horizontality.
The short workshops sometimes take place in larger spaces for change. The workshop in Lucca is hosted by the Mitos Festival (Italian Meeting of Social Theater) which in its eighth edition is asking whether social theater can revolutionize society. The workshop in Bologna is proposed during Teatro per la Transizione – Learning Village, the first meeting to share practices, tools, and visions on the role of participatory theater for the transition to resilient models of life together, in harmony with each other and with the Earth. The residency workshop will take place in the Mas Franch community in Girona, Catalonia, a community that is already living and experimenting with a more sustainable lifestyle that leaves a smaller ecological footprint. Some short workshops will be for women only, to explore the link between gender themes and the relationship with nature. Through an aesthetic, symbolic, and non-verbal language, the project aims to re-discover the relationship with the Earth.
Written by Ilaria Olimpico on TheAlbero’s blog in 2015