Day 3 Tunis Blog
Sitting on the rooftop to draw out main themes which link our research in Tunis and St.Denis, linking each theme to specific encounters, images, objects and sounds
We visit Ben at El Warcha (the workshop) and see what he's been constructing. Different wooden benches for schools and geometric forms that function both as sculptures and practical light-fittings. Ben heads out with us in tow and leads us through various potential performance spaces. These include a squatted building with huge courtyard, small alleyways with hanging trees, and an expansive and empty covered market which proposes many staging possibilities. Once the shops close down the covered galleries of the Medina become long, darkened corridors.
We meet a man called R**** Charbon who tells us to quote his name if ever we get into trouble.
F**** (aka. the Stringer Bell of the Medina) gives us a tour of some of the more "shady" areas. He lives here and everyone seems to know him. He walks with shoulders back and a wide open stance that makes him seem almost bow-legged.
He is very affable with us, but seems to be playing-up to the image of "fearless outlaw" in order to impress us. Barking at women, throwing bricks at dogs, taking a young boy by the collar, threatening to beat up a guy, taking us into an abandoned, blown-out building, showing us sheep bred for fighting (one is called Kim Jong Un, with Trump not far away), stopping kids from playing football mid-game, telling a crying baby to shut up.
He takes us to a place where his friends hide when the police comes to find them. L***** tells us he also once headbutted a policeman.
To finish, he teaches us techniques for pickpocketing. How to deflect attention, cut open bags with a razor, and work as a duo to distract drivers and steal their phones.
Day 4 Tunis Blog
At breakfast I am force-fed eggs and indulge in some ongoing Italian gangster chat with the Libyan writers. They are very generous and funny people!
Nour arrives! We catch-up with him, finding out how his life is as a new father. He lives in Rome now with his partner. Nour and I go shopping for the group at the covered market. Huge stacks of fruit, veg and fresh herbs. Not so much barter but lots of old weights and measures.
We spend some time in the morning developing ideas for events, characters and a specific dramaturgy which we could apply to one of the sites we visited yesterday (the closed shopping gallery leading to the covered market). All of us agree that this is the most interesting and flexible route for our site-specific promenade piece. We also agree that we'd like to try presenting a mix of ensemble work, sound/light/sculpture installation, and more intimate performance pieces. It is quite possible that for some of the route audience members will be split into groups of 3 and sent into the corridors of the covered market in waves.
We are joined once more by Bastien, who will be helping us with sound installations. He's speaking about hiding small speakers in nooks, which can then be remote-triggered to play sounds. Lots of potential for surprises and atmospheres.
We walk back and forth along the route we have chosen, defining a clear starting point, as well as potential performance spots along the way. These are generally spaces where the architecture lends itself to some kind of staging (a sudden turn, a raised platform, a long, dark alleyway, a shaft of light etc.). There are also a few possibilities for diverging routes. Forks in the road provoke us to consider moments where teams may be split up to receive different experiences.
I plan to return to the market in the daytime to record sounds.
The day ends with a discussion about our intentions behind the piece, and how we can arrange the different elements of our piece in such a way that it becomes a unified journey.