May 18, 2010 - May 19, 2010 18:00
“Actualité, seule source éternelle de la poésie.”
I am America is the result of the research of the Open Program of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards into the meaning of the poetic word and its action. Directed by the Workcenter’s Associate Director, Mario Biagini, and based on the works of Allen Ginsberg (1927-1997), I am America is a performance in which the poetic word sheds light on our place and function in our given social, economic and cultural landscape.
And so: America…that America who speaks about herself, her hopes, contradictions, wishes, brutal failures – that goddess of many disturbing or marvellous faces – what’s the difference between us and her? That America is us. Is me.
I’m watching you, embodied mankind – Look at your children, listen to what they ask – from where do you think these voices and chants come? What are these rhythms and poems? You are a kind of mother raised by her own children, and without them you will not be. Your flag, now an elegant dress, now a coffin, now a poor cloth of stone, now the beating wing of a starry, striped scared eagle -crosses and mourning bands…America, you celebrate your own wedding anniversary in these days of war and funeral, but do you ever notice? Where has your husband vanished, where is old Father Fish-Eye?
No, this is not another Berkeley, January 17th 1956 – Allen Ginsberg writes a poem, “America, I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing”. But what are your roots? Where do they go down? They delve down into wishes, hopes and contradictions – arriving at last here, burrowing into the chests of your children. You suffered when they suffered, you failed when they failed, you took advantage when they took advantage – if you fight or pray its because they fight and pray. America you are slave and slave-driver, you are the whip, the whipped and the one who whips – your children! There where your roots delve down we have something in common.