Sunday, May 16, 2010
On a positive note
I think I have hit on a new note in my writing. As I said, the show in its Brighton form was a bit too abstract, so I'm now trying to inject more life into it. On one level this means trying to tell more episodes from my life that might contribute to show, instead of merely explain, what I want to say. On another level, it means to dig deeper into my text and my performance, looking for the "emotion" behind those ideas and for the "attitude" to express them. In a previous post I mentioned one of these emotions, my intolerance for any narrative of "collective identity" and, above all and most topically for this show, of national identity. This is indeed an important emotion to play with, but I have now come to realise that it's just one colour on the palette. Along with this negative emotion, there is also a much more positive one, the great sense of freedom and elation that I felt when I moved to Britain and I discovered that I could re-invent myself. Being funny with positive emotions is always more difficult. How many people, faced with the "rant or rave" exercise they always propose during comedy courses, choose the "rave" option? But of course it's not impossible, for instance you can always exaggerate your hopes and turn them into some utterly surreal, wildly utopian heaven on earth for us all. The challenge is to induce people to laugh at this comic surplus while sharing for a moment the truly felt hope behind it. I guess it's one of the reasons why comedy feels so liberating to both the audience and the performer: nobody asks you to be sensible and moderate in comedy, on the contrary you are invited to follow whatever you feel or think to the their most hellish, heavenly or paradoxical consequences. So, I will indeed rant against nationalism, stereotypes and pigeon-holing. But I want this show to be a faithful account of my experience of moving abroad, which has been by and large a very positive experience. I will also rave, then, on self-determination, individualism and cosmopolitanism or, better, on the experiences that made me feel a bit closer to these grand ideals.