El Círculo is a theater play whose half of the staff is composed by Palestinian and the other half by Jewish. A Chilean production that from its genesis provokes expectation with which could happen on the stage. The resentments previous to the performance do not escape the plot of the play, in contrast, the script structure is permeated by resentments and slaughter news. Even in the other side of the world, in a place called Chile, a circle of men and women are trying to agree on what the theater play must say about two groups that can’t sit together to share a coffee. The result of months of rehearsals was premiered at M100 and performances until June 9.
“-I’m going to be Palestinian 1
-I, 3 Jewish, good evening.
-Hi, I’m going to be Palestinian 3, do you want some caffee?
-No, thanks, it causes me tachycardia.”
This meeting initiates the plot of the work, although previously the six interpreters in scene throw together a question to the public “Being the 6 together, could you tell who is Palestinian and who is Jewish?”. The question is reinforced when they project photographs of family groups and the actors imitate the poses, showing that the factions of both ethnic groups have visible similarities. There is another question that is repeated over and over again throughout the work. Is it necessary to say conflict or occupation? There is no agreement at the beginning. Maybe it’s better to change the theme and do a mapuche work, someone suggests.
But they can not, they know that because they are the group they are – with that mixture, in this country – they can use the arena to say something that matters in their communities. To say it through Shakespeare or with a Mapuche theme is well representative of the great dramatic conflicts, but some have the urgency to give voice to current conflicts. “I do not want to be banned from entering the country I was born to be in this work, we better do a musical.” Time passes, there is no agreement.
The next cast meeting that is shown to the public takes place six months later. They laugh, they play instruments, the women dance showing their navels. On one side of the stage Shlomit Baytelman is the narrator, the voice of the astronaut and a real woman who received death threats when questioning the government of Israel. In the center of the scene are Samantha Manzur, Antonio Zisis, Moisés Norambuena, Constantino Marzuqa and Juan Carlos Saffie. Although at first they try to set aside the Jews and aside the Palestinians, after months of meetings are already together and scrambled. And the public is confused as the colors of plasticine after coming together. Distinguishing is neglecting the drama, the search for a meaning for the theater play. “I can not say conflict because I know they are children of this bearing with stones, who fight against soldiers who have automatic weapons, that for me is occupation”. Someone asks if they want coffee. “What happens is that they do not listen to each other here” Coffee? “Everyone talks but nobody is willing to listen” Are you going to want some coffee or not? “I’ve been telling you for six months that I do not drink coffee because it gives me tachycardia, do you realize that we do not even listen to each other?”
“-I didn’t come to play a soldier, I don’t think I can perform it.
-I’m not a soldier, I’m my partisan grandmother who fought against Nazi army which murdered her mother beside her, I’m inspired by her for this painting”
They pause to look again at the photograph of the grandmother, to tell that story thoroughly. Jewish 2 tells the story and says “my people need a country, I am shocked that a date that means liberation for my people is the opposite for you”. The date referred to is May 14, 1948, when the creation of the State of Israel is declared. They continue rehearsing, they return to adopt combat poses.
One of the actors did the military service and shows the rest how to hold a weapon. Screams, discipline. In this box they will show a raid in Gaza. It is a representation of the video that appeared on your social networks and you did not want to watch. A look at the face of horror. And yet, they do not want to turn the work into a text of denunciation. There are families and traditions that they want to remember. Maybe the work needs an external look.
And what is more external than outer space? An astronaut, the puppet of an astronaut, looks at the planet: a small blue circle. From there he does not distinguish borders, he only sees his home. Above everything is different and, nevertheless, the sunset seen from the moon fills it with melancholy. Maybe he found an answer, a path to peace.
Same path-search that made the audience laugh and mourn the work. With the direction of Andrea Giadach and Alejandra Díaz Scharager, El Círculo is presented from Thursday to Sunday in the Patricio Bunster space of M100 until June 6.