Our idea is a simple one; a stong belief in the theatre’s capacity to underline and reinforce our shared humanity. Our commonness has maybe never been more important than now.
Written & directed by Giles Smith. Puppets designed & built by Giles Smith. With Adriano Saleri, Beatrice Presen Silvia Grande. Light design Giles Smith.
Rome, New York.
This project, the play and its themes, has been inspired by the lives and ideas of the neurologist A.R. Luria, the psychiatrist and educationalist Bruno Bettelheim. In the world of mental illness, both doctors were aware of the necessity to see beyond the disease and into the person. Bettelheim understood that fairy tales have a power to help. The fairy tale teaches us that there is a need to struggle against severe difficulties through- out life, and by meeting them head on, one masters all obstacles.
Scary folk tales, such as the work of the Brothers Grimm, may help deal with existen- tial anxieties of life through symbolism. We have a frightening number of caesuras in our lives. Gaps. Chasms that we don’t dare contemplate and instead rush to hide with substances or repetitive behaviors that keep us distracted from what’s missing. We have come to rely on machines to do so much for us: to give us pleasure, products, information, entertainment, companionship, performing tasks whose difficulty used to remind us that we were alive. We now no longer perform these tasks ourselves, we no longer feel human. There are a growing number of people, mainly young women and girls, cutting themselves, slicing their flesh habitually with razor blades and knives, trying to literalize the holes in their lives; the boredom, the pain, the failed connections, by creating holes in themselves and leaving lasting scars. It seems the only way they can remind themselves that they are real.
The questions “Who am I?” and “What am I doing here?” are something that afflict everyone. We are all consciously and subconsciously dealing with the idea and reality of death, the fear of abandonment, of separation, disappointment, Oedipal dilemmas and sibling rivalries –the daily task of trying to make sense of life. We often have formless, nameless anxieties, and chaotic, angry and even violent fantasies. But how and where do we draw the line that separates normal from abnormal? How can we tell the difference between healthy imagination and dangerous fantasy?
International Festival of worlds: Teatro Patologico, Rome 2011
PAM international festival of theatre New York 2012
foto ©2012 Michael Palma/IATI New York.Theatre
We collected together stories by Agota Kristof and created a single character to tell them. Kristof's characters refuse to provide us with an explanation of who they are or reasons for what they did. They did what they did and said what they said. What happened to them simply just happened. She does not provide us with comfortable or consoling reasons. She wants us to ask why. She wants us to attempt to understand the incomprehensible. Why? Why did this happen? Why are they speaking? Why are they here? How did this happen? How did they get here? Why did they do that? How could they say that? How could they do that?
How or why are words that insist things have a knowable cause. Why implies that something happens because of something else, but real life is not so well organized, life is more random and chaotic. There are many reasons why we do many things but these reasons perhaps we will never know. Maybe for some events and feelings there are no reasons. The possibility that something important could have no knowable cause is frightening.
We are obsessed with how's and why's. Do we come to the theatre to be told what we already know? To see what we always see? There is a part of us that likes not knowing. There is a part of us that enjoys being unsettled. There is a part of us that likes to ask why. There is a part of us that likes to answer that question alone. We think Agota Kristof understands this.
With /Con Beatrice Presen. foto ©2007 j33tre/Silvia Natale.
Rome, Tuscany, Montisi (si)theatre, adaptation
Adapted by Giles Smith from the novella Il Signor Molavi by Bijan Zarmandili. With Beatrice Presen & Silvia Grande. Molavi puppet built by Giles Smith.
This was a theatre in education project called The Earthquake of the soul held at the Peano High School in Monterotondo, a suburb of Rome. It was inspired by the novella Signor Molavi by the Iranian author and journalist Bijan Zarmandili and the successive reworking of this story into the book The Demons of the Desert.
The project was split into three phases: The first phase a multimedia collaboration between j33tre, the students of the school and the author with the creation of a blog The Earthquake of the Soul. Her students could post their thoughts and inspirations regarding the book. The second phase was the performance of the play Mr Molavi and the final phase was a question and answer session with j33tre, Bijan and the students and teachers of the school.
The 2003 earthquake in Iran is the starting point of the story which digs into the ruins of the character Mr Molavi, a school teacher. When his school is destroyed by the earthquake and his family and students killed, Molavi starts a long walk south, towards the sea. The story is a metaphor for all shaken souls, asking the question: Is it possibile to escape from our wounded selves?theatre, schools, puppetry, adaptation
A formative theatre workshop/performance focusing on observation, expression and narrative. Mixing the photographic image, the dramatic text and the body of the actor. Led by British director Giles Smith and Italo-Colombian photographer and film maker Stefania Bonatelli.
“We see only what we look at. To look is an act of choice. we are always looking at the relationship between things and ourselves. after we can see, we are aware that we can also be seen – the reciprocal nature of vision. our perception of an image depends on our own way of seeing.” John Berger
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. an image can convey thoughts, ideas, or events to which words alone sometimes cannot do justice. images can thrill us, like the images sent back to earth from the Mars or Moon missions. they can inspire us, they can be heartbreaking, they can incite outrage, they can bring tears to our eyes, lift our spirits, or sink our hearts. images are powerful. then there is self image; our reflection in a mirror, our reflection in the eyes of another. the image of ourselves within a group. what makes an individual? what makes one person conform and another seek a divergent path? Using theatre games and exercises, text work and interaction with the camera we will explore how to create a new piece for theatre based upon the following themes found in Virginia woolf’s Mrs Dalloway: Communication versus privacy, the fear of death, the threat of oppression, time, Shakespeare, and nature.
Casa dei Teatri, Roma. 2012. foto ©2012 j33treTheatre, Photography, multi-media
This piece takes 24 different pieces of Shakespeare, from comedies, tragedies and histories, from soliloquies, dialogues and sonnets to tell the story of a woman imprisoned because her lover the king has lost his throne. As the play unfolds she tries to comprehend her love for this man and begins to understand how men often foolishly throw away their power, or have it corrupted, destroying both themselves, their loves and their countries.
Shakespeare, in all of his works has always given a strong voice to his female characters. His women are never weak, timid or less than men. Sometimes they represent “the voice of reason” within a play (i.e Hermione, Paulina, Beatrice, Cordelia, Rosalind), at other times, for good or bad, a call to action (i.e Constance, lady Macbeth, Regan, Goneril).
foto ©2008 j33tre/Stefania Bonatelli
From / Da Shakespeare. With: Beatrice Presen. Directed by: Giles Smith. Music : Daniele Romeo. Drawings: Beatrice Presen. Lighting : Giuseppe di Giovanni
The Conference of the Birds. By Farad Udin Attar. Aut Out festival Montisi.Siena.
This metaphorical tale of birds seeking a king has inspired readers across time and around the world. The conference of the birds - and the different types of people they represent - is a fairy tale that adults can enjoy. If we want to know our true and best selves, these stories reveal the path.
The areas this professional development workshop explored were: The plasticity of the actors body, mask work, poeticl text and how visual stimulus, such as paintings, can be a means to devising character and play.
T.S Eliot and Sylvia Plath, were two great American poets from different generations who both explored similar themes; incomprehension at the state of the world, loss of identity, hope that change is possible and an understanding that madness is often our close companion. Both spent time in hospital suffering from severe depression or nervous breakdown.
A cycle of projects for children focusing on fables and tales. These included:
The Baked King, taken from Italo Calvino's collection of stories "The Crab Prince and other stories." It is a story about feminine initiative within a magical journey. In our show this journey is undertaken, not only by the characters, but also by the children present and the simple paper puppets that tell this story.
Ahmed and Paribanu. A sultan had three sons who were all in love with the beautiful Nurunniar. To decide who would marry her, the sultan arranged a competition; his sons must find extraordinary objects from distant lands and who brought back the most extraordinary object would win the hand of Nurunniar. Unfortunately the competition finishes with all sons equal. So the sultan arranges an archery contest, who shoots furthest wins. When it's young Ahmed's turn, his arrow flies so far that no one can see where it has landed... His arrow reached the mountains and the magical Paribanu.
At the end of the play the children get to create characters and moments from the story using paint, paper, dough, cloth, recycled materials or draw the scene on white shirts
with Beatrice Presen & Eva Gaudenzi. Puppets & set by Beatrice Presen
Nothing can replace the live experience of theatre. What we take away at the end of a show may be ours to keep, but it is born of a shared discovery.
The ongoing idea of developing and producing work to tour nationally and internationally. The realisation of larger and more ambitious works. If you would like to find out more about how you can support new work, do please get in touch.
We develop and implement educational and social theatre programs in close collaboration with schools and other institutions. Our programs and workshops are developed to provide the host structure with inspiration and stimuli after our work is finished. If you would like to find out more about how we can support your work, do please get in touch.
At certain points during the year, we provide training courses for those interested in learning more about the theatre, its art and craft. These workshops are open to actors, teachers, directors, writers and general members of the public.
We produce a variety of childrens theatre programs, from pre school to high school. We produce workshops and shows that are flexible and easily adapt to the space and needs of the host structure. To find out more about our school work, please get in touch.
For a number of years we developed workshops for adults with severe learning and physical disabilities. Our workshops focused on freeing the imagination and communication skills using fairytales as a point of departure. If you are a structure that provides social services and educational help for adults with learnng and physical disabilities and would like to learn more about how we can support your work, please do get in touch.
At certain times of the year we offer limited workshops for professional actors, directors and writers. Usually they last for a long weekend and are designed to further their professional development through a series of specialised workshops. In the past we have offered Verse work, mask work and devising within a multi disciplinary environment. To find ou more please get in touch.
Ideas are not fragile these days. They are not so prone to disintegration. It is a testament to the strength of a good idea that our company exits. The theatre unites in ways that other mediums cannot, it remains perhaps the last discipline of art where, for a moment, we can glimpse our lives in their entirety. In our opinion, the theatre must occupy itself not only with national heritage, but look out beyond its own borders to discover and welcome complexity and diversity, which is humanity’s greatest hope.
We do not have a fixed process or approach. Instead we try to develop a new language for each project we create. Nothing can replace the live experience of theatre. What we take away at the end of a show may be ours to keep, but it is born of a shared discovery. Theatre is not like watching a film, or reading a book, or even talking to a friend. Theatre is community, the celebration of a shared, momentary experience that brings us empathy and insight.
J33tre was founded by British director Giles Smith and Italian actress Beatrice Presen, with the aim of developing interdisciplinary theatre research and produce new ways of working on classical and contemporary plays. We want to unite diverse forms of artistic expression with artists of long experience and younger generations of theatre professionals.
The choice of which projects to develop and produce is a complicated process, often about achieving a balance between the adventurous and the populist, between new talent and experienced practitioner or between comedy and tragedy.
Director, writer, teacher, dramaturg. He has led the company since its founding. He has worked with actors from Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Malta, Iran, Tunisia, Israel, Palestine and the US, often working in languages other than English. Projects include: Hamlet, The Tempest, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's sonnets at The Grotowski theatre, Wroclaw. He wrote the screenplay for "The Unloved" based on the Arnost Lustig novel of the same name. Arnost Lustig was an Auschwitz survivor and was nominated for the Pulitzer and Man Booker. He has directed in the UK and the US, at the Guildhall, Mountview and the Manchester Schools of theatre, the European school for the art of the actor, whose collaborating partners include: the Guildhall; the Russian Academy of Drama, Moscow; ENSATT, Lyon; ACT San Francisco; the Ecole du Theatre National, Strasbourg; INSAS, Bruxelles and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater HfMT, Hamburg .
Beatrice Presen graduated as an actor from the Silvio D’Amico academy in Rome. She worked with Fiorenzo Fiorentini, Domenico Polidoro, Sasà Cardone, Luca Ronconi, Ennio Coltorti, Pino Strabioli, Luciano Damiani, Giles Smith, Lorenzo D’Amico, Gorjana Ducic, and Artemis Preeshl. She has taken part in workshops with Ariane Mnouchkine in Paris, Peter Clough, Jos Houben in London for Complicite and Odin Teatret, Denmark. She has worked in Tv and on Film, most recently with the film Red Shadows directed by Citto Maselli, shown at the Venice Film Festival.
By mercilessly preying upon our subconscious fears... in this primordial fairytale forest the spectacular puppetry comes to life. A dark but not cynical show, Nella Foresta is more than the sum of the folklore tropes at its disposal.
Giles Smith's text is both poetic and musical: words and phrases repeat themselves in various contexts, like a fugue, perhaps the fugue in which the protagonist lives. The work is what gives us hope that we can at least strive, gallantly, and this is what makes us human.
The public enjoyed a great text, great direction and a great acting by this Italian group from Rome.
Thank you for the opportunity to have seen Nella Foresta. Exciting and tense. The actors are fantastic.
If you are an actor, designer, choreographer, writer, producer, musician and would like to work with us please send us your details.
via E. Riva 57b
Monterotondo Rome (rm)
Phone: (0039) 0681107980
Mobile: (0039) 3488814498