During his stay at Teatrul Odeon (Bucharest) for the stage presentation of his text Promised Land, Guillem Clua led two masterclasses: one with University students and the other one with High School students.
Below you can find the students’ feedbacks about their experience.
Invited in Bucharest on the occasion of the reading performance of his play Promised Land, presented within the project Fabulamundi. Playwriting Europe, Spanish author Guillem Clua has held two playwriting workshops addressed, on one hand to highschool students, and on the other hand to students from The National University of Theatre and Film, and also for all those who were interested in this field. A great and very useful proposal.
I would say that this experience has materialised as a little creative laboratory, as a cell where stories came to life, a lot of interesting ideas were outlined or maybe personal testimonies have become veritable scenarios. Everything started simple and sincere because only the truth can lead a story; everyone’s personal truth. And Clua considers that the most special and exciting stories are those which are born precisely from the simplicity of things; those which are born right in front of our eyes, from and by the permanent awareness of reality. In fact, with this idea started Guillem Clua his workshops , idea that definitely has remained etched in the minds of participants. Starting with this thought, Clua presented his theories, hidden under the form, let’s say, of some surprise – exercises. And that because he managed to become unpredictable and to permanently provoke the imagination of his learners.
I would outline the fact that those workshops, which purpose was to discover and to understand playwriting techniques, becamed somehow, in a very natural rithm, also workshops of personal development. A creative and social exercise about yourself and the others.
What I appreciated at those workshops, beside the colloquial and friendly atmosphere, was the fact that you didn’t feel at all intimidated, constrained or limited. From the very first time I felt that the dialogue between participants and author was extremly vivid and captivating, therefore that permanent interactivity was a big advantage. All questions have found their answers – an important aspect, considering that the participants were highschool students, but also university students. Each of them lead by the desire to improve in a field in which they already obtained some results, or just by the curiosity to discover a new domain. Thus was born the desire of descovering together, concept proposed by Clua just from the beginning.
Another important aspect that he wanted to point out was to forget the rules, because actualy the expression it’s a must shouldn’t exist in our minds. There are only some indices which, as a creator, it is good to take into consideration when you start to build your story. To start from a a solid structure and after that to complete with the content. How it’s only a personal choice.
What is essential after an experience like that it’s not the story that you imagined and presented during the workshops, but to catch that instant of lucidity in which you are able to realize that yourself are the only one who has all the tools – from imagination, to thoughts, to words, to the organizational capacity of every episode, up to the determination of create precisely every character. Through his experience and willingness to share, Guillem Clua has done nothing more than to press the right buttons for making a click in the minds and imagination of each participant.
An experience with people and about people who, in the end, makes you a terrible lust for writing.
Irina Radu, student at Theatrology section, III year
Exercises and how the workshop was led seemed to me highly effective and entertaining. Moreover, throughout the workshop it was created a productive and pleasant working atmosphere. Guillem Clua managed to provide useful feedback to all, after he stepped enthusiastically in the story suggested by each student. I appreciate the initiative of organizing the workshop, although I think that ought to lie on an extended period of time (at least several days). In this way, the results would have been more elaborate.
Irina Craita Mandra, student at theatre directing section, Master, II year
This experience was different, special, compared to other workshops. I liked it very much! I was heavily challenged unexpectedly, but it was a pleasure to see that I can overcome these obstacles. I’ve seen both sides of a history of an object relatively trivial, but that meant something huge to someone in particular. Playwright’s method was very effective; he managed to focus all that was important in two hours, which I find amazing! I hope to have the opportunity in the near future to participate in such workshops!
Anisia Zlataru, high school student, 14 years
It seemed to me an interesting idea to take part in such a workshop and experience, probably unique. Initially I did not know anything about Mr. Guillem Clua, so I looked for information about him and I thought it was amazing that he wanted to share a little of his concepts to some kids from an ordinary country. There were a couple full hours, from which I learned a lot and I had fun. It was an intercultural experience, and of knowledge of oneself. Dramaturgy is the art of dealing with the deepest human characteristics.
Giogan Claudia, high school student, 17 years
For me, the experience of playwriting workshop organized by Odeon theatre at the Cervantes Institute and held by the author Guillem Clua was very creative and practical. In two hours, I learned new things about dramaturgy and I had the opportunity to invent characters based on real people in photographs brought from an antique store in Madrid. The most interesting part to me was the one where we discussed about the shift from potential dramatic to a dramatic situation, from something hypothetical to something written.
Thank you once more!
Iulia Kycyku, high school student, 16 years
The third edition of the European project Fabulamundi. Playwriting Europe brought an unexpected show at Odeon Theatre: the reading performance Promised Land. The story is emerging around climate change that threatens Republic of Malvati. The action is thought in a future that paradoxically appears at the same time far and near. Representatives of Republic of Malvati are at the headquarters of the United Nations, where they seek to make the States Members to help them, to offer them a future. The meetings between the Malvati President and the delegates are built around tragicomic language and tragicomic situations.
Being a reading show, the text has been brought forward. Not the actors – perhaps only through minimal gesture, but with a very important and sustained role – were the one who conveyed the despair before the end, the moments of pure happiness or resignation, the power of sacrifice, all this experience of fatality that citizens of Malvati – which, by an interpretation taken to the extreme, could be citizens of any small or medium state – have lived, but the text. If in literature there was the returning of the author, here it was about the returning of the text. Of course a reading show is an experiment, a test form both for the public and the text, which, in this case, they passed it successfully.
Maria Petricu, student at Applied Literature Master Studies, II year
The reading performance Promised Land brings to the fore an important issue facing civilization today: the negative effects of climate change on humanity. The action is centered around the crisis of Republic of Malvati, a country whose people are likely to perish under water due to changes that occurred on the climate. Representatives of this nation are trying desperately to find a solution, ask all nations for help with the desire to obtain, from their part, an island where they can establish safely. The three of them encounters along the way all sorts of strange and comical situations, which despite their hilarious aspect are meant to draw attention to issues of bad political relations established between the countries of the world and the dangerous direction in which society is moving. There are highlights on errors of the administrative system and various behaviors or defective attitudes that deteriorate the quality of political structures in contemporary times. The importance of the love story between the daughter who had been named president and the foreign minister is significant and is taking place, moreover, in parallel with the attempts to rescue Malvatian people. Its evolution is happening while the situation of the inhabitants of this territory are forced to pass by is worsening; the news about his daughter’s relationship with the other member of the delegation and especially about her pregnancy, upsets the President who, on the other hand, is facing the fact that the number of options he can appeal, for the good of his people are drastically reducing.
The play has a complexity intelligently built, bringing in front of the viewer deeper problems manifested particularly at the level of human civilization, and at the level of interpersonal relationships, all of which are presented in an accessible manner. The ease and pleasure with which the show is pursued are due also to the moments of humor that are seasoning the development of the events, in a very suitable way, thereby contributing to enhancing the impact of the play on its audience.
Andra-Elena Dorobanţu, student at Applied Literature Master Studies, II year
The reading performance Promised Land was a premiere for me because I didn’t participated to such an event before. It is interesting how actors have managed to bring the atmosphere of the play, even without decor and costume. The future in which the action takes place does not seem very distant. The ideal world of Malvati Republic collapses due to climate change and aid delays to occur. Life seems impossible to build elsewhere, because ,, Paradise Lost “can no longer be recovered. No solution seems to please the representatives of Malvati. The only plausible is the one of the United States, but at the cost of a live, the unborn child of the daughter of the president. The path to “the promised land” is long and difficult. A deep story about searching, sacrifice and love. It would be very interesting to see a production based on this play.
Larisa Dobrica, student at Applied Literature Master Studies, II year