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by Alessandro Fabrizi

Photo by Selena Franceschi

“NOW”, this is astrophysics Aurélien Barrau and actress Juliette Binoche call for action that has led to a collective response by artists, writers, philosophers and scientists from all aroundthe world.

A call for global business and governments to acknowledge and take responsibility for what scientists have called ‘the climate change disaster’, that sounds even more relevant now in the post-covid19 era: global warming, the progressive reduction of livable areas, abrupt biodiversity losses, water, air and soil pollution... the end is slowly approaching.

As citizens, artists, curators, institutions, researchers and members of the civil society, we should respond collectively to this call for action by imagining new practices and suggesting innovative ways of looking at the world around us differently, that is not as predators but as interlocutors, establishing a dialogue between man and nature, human and non-human.

As Bonnie Marranca reminds us in her book Ecologies of Theater, the word ‘ecology’ derives from the Greek oikos, meaning 'home' or 'place to live' ".

We want to elaborate new practices by which oikos - the ecos, our home - is not meant as a place to conquer, but as an intelligent and provocative interlocutor.

Photo by Dreamstime Archive

Logos, the language of art, sciences and news media is the shared element that brings together everyone who claims an active role in our society. The logos of art and sciences may become a valuable instrument to reimagine the use of spaces and facilities that have been ruined and discarded by the thoughtless pursuit of progress of the past few decades, and to claim the crucial role that these realities play in the most fragile and vulnerable communities.

The Eco Logical Theater Fest is a 10 day symposium of performing arts and science, literature and journalism, conversations and actions that wants to investigate the following 5 issues:

1. ECO-LOGY, establishing a dialogue between Logos and Ecos.

Every year, the Eco Logical Theater Fest brings together artists, scientists, journalists and philosophers, writers and humanitarian operators, presenting them with a theme or a challenge to explore according to their area of expertise.

All events and panel discussions are offered to the public as ‘unplugged’, that is to say without making any use of electricity for sound amplification and lighting. This implies an exposition of the artistic, scientific or philosophical discourse carried out by each speaker/performer to the will of the elements.

Nature plays the role of director, enhancing, disturbing, enriching or making it more complexto carry out the performance.

Sometimes, it is possible to inscribe nature’s intervention in a temporal frame – so the end ofa dance performance coincides with the moment when the setting sun touches the sea horizon (this was the case of the performance by the Cuenca- Lauro dance company, Stromboli 2017).

Photo by Alessandro Fabrizi

Sometimes, the working of Nature is unpredictable and yet still appropriate, as when a sea wave washed over spectators and actors during a site-specific staging of The Tempest by William Shakespeare (Stromboli 2016).

The artists are offered the chance to play with no scenery, no flats, no artificial lights and no light or sound effects – just an open space exposed to Nature’s mostly unpredictable will: sometimes it is a beach where people are sunbathing or enjoying a swim, sometimes it is a grove where children are playing.

The entrances and exits are suggested by the location, the same is for the proxemics and the relationship with the audience.

Tourists and locals are free to join the rehearsals or to cross the stage during the performance as they are free to become a part of the play itself. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”, as players are the wind, the sun, the moon and birdsong.

The audience is invited to be distracted, to look around themselves, to build new connections. Theater becomes a landscape – as Gertrude Stein wished so much for – so thatthe performance does not monopolize the attention of the public but rather invites them to edit what they are seeing and hearing with what the spectacle of art and nature is evoking.