Eilís Davis, a TCFT 2015 participant, takes a look back at the week of workshops and performances in Višegrad.
So, The Complete Freedom of Truth. Time to begin, to change, to start all over again.
It is about stepping up and stepping out and stepping into what is unknown. It is rounding up the people and creating our collective. Our greater conscious. Who is being represented? We cannot leave anyone behind.
Last week we travelled from various parts of Europe to begin this project, our project. We met in Belgrade and travelled into the night, through the Serbian & Bosnian mountains with flashes of lightning and thundering of rain. In that moment we were present with our excitement, our anticipation of what lies ahead.
We have been working for the past week in the small town of Visegrad home to the spectacular and famous Ottoman bridge on the Drina.
We began on the Monday, a group of young people from different countries speaking different languages.
The first day or two we struggled to find the path to take. The freedom of the project leaves little to actually direct us. We had arrived unsure of the role we would play and what we could create. We were trying to discover our individual places in this rather diverse jigsaw puzzle.
By day 3 we had found something. We had music making, dancing, creative writing, theatre, photography and the collective was settled and happy in the steady rhythm of creativity.
With each day we grew, becoming more sure of the goal. The participants from Višegrad, whom for most this was their first creative process, were stepping out and each group meeting we heard a new voice with new ideas. Slowly we were layering up what we wanted to do, building our performance.
The First Performance
Friday came, we would have a performance in the centre of Andricgrad town. Final rehearsals were underway and the crowds were gathering in the nearby restaurants and coffee shops. We were setting up chairs, a projector, microphones and speakers. These small acts of preparation was enough to stop those who happened to pass by. Even the musicians sound checks was enough for people to wait and listen. By the time 9pm came and we were ready to begin there was a large enough crowd that we were all bubbling with excitement to share our work.
3 of us stepped out to introduce the project. Of course this this introduction was being translated in 3 different languages. For me personally this felt very courageous, this was the first time i had ever spoke in a microphone and the first time I had spoken to such a large crowd. Somehow though, even against the nerves, the words came very easily, I wanted to tell them all, to share with them who we are. When speaking completely truthfully, the fear melts away. and thats what we did- for the next 30 minutes. we spoke and danced and sang our absolute complete truths.
…and after the show, we were buzzing…
Children were dancing and playing with the photos that we had hung up around the square. Locals were shaking our hands, thanking us for bringing this to their town. Everyone felt this gratitude and deep inner peace.
I sat in the cafe that evening, absorbing the joy all around us. Smiles and hugs. I contemplate that now and how easy it was to create, I don't know how quickly it goes away, maybe after a day or after a week or a month for some, but for others this was a truly unforgettable moment. Something through the work was changed in that small town and something through the work in that small town has changed me.
Originally we thought we would do this performance again on the Sunday in a different part of town so that we could engage with more people. However after such a high on the Friday evening we knew we could not match it. We decided instead to do something totally different and something even more free.
We began in the rehearsal space at 9 pm and walked silently as a group for our first steps. Then together we sang our song. A song that the music group had made about the beauty of Visegrad its chorus is:
We sang this to the town as we walked with our puppet and 2 guitars. Children waved at us from their windows, some ran along behind us, other stopped and stared. We continued to walk, This time we didn't use lighting or amplification or projectors. Just the raw essence of what we had created, the raw essence of who we are. We finished in the centre of the most popular street in visegrad and a young local girl speaks a monologue about her future finished with “Mogu je stvoriti” meaning “I can create it.” one by one we joined her with the common rhythm of our feet stamping into the road.
There is some thing beautiful in this, as a group of 25 young people standing in the middle of the street under the stars, together, telling the world and affirming to ourselves that we can make the change.
I feel very greatful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this, to witness the transformation of the small group in Visegrad and to step into my own confidence.
We left Visegrad and took with us some of the young people from the town who opted to join our journey to Srebrenica. We got on the coach and went to Jelah to pick up another group of people. It felt as if we were Rounding up our collective, without discrimination, who ever chooses to walk with us is welcome.
We have arrived in Srebrenica now, we will be joined here by more than 100 other people from more than 7 countries. We will not forget the journey we have all been on already. but we will also start again a new.