Act Festival 2016: lucky bastards04/07/2016 By IYMA

Text by Marjolein Klare

Let’s talk a little about this amazing event called: ACT Festival.
I was one of the two Dutch lucky bastards who went to Bilbao for the exchange program at the BAI Theatre School. We arrived two weeks before the festival started and got to be involved in the preparations for the ACT festival. As black cats for example. Miauwww!

You might like to know it was the 13th edition of the ACT Festival. So guess what this year’s theme was. It was *drum ruffle*… bad luck! Ok, that’s wasn’t too hard, was it? But that’s why we walked, jumped and crawled around the center of Barakaldo and Bilbao as black cats, promoting the festival. We actually joined the BAI-students in some theatre workshops with Raul and Arantza from the theatre company ‘Hortzmuga Teatroa’. A great way to get over your superstitions, since we’ve walked under an impressive amount of ladders. And also a great way to interact with the friendly and curious citizens of the Basque country.

Time flies when you’re having fun. Very cliché, but it’s true. Before we knew it we were having lunch in Kafe Antzokia with all the performers, BAI-students, jury-members, producers and volunteers. Sitting there all together at long tables on stage was one of the greatest moments. This was the perfect way to get to know all these lovely people and talk about the performances. Within these four days it felt like we were one big happy family. But let’s start with the first day. Last year’s winner, Igor Vrebac (NL) opened the ACT Festival with his performance Homo Sapiens. ‘A performance that symbolizes a quest for the normal man. A normal man that lies within every gay man, but is hardly seen by society.’ That was quite an opening! Something I’d never seen before. Original, expressive and playful with impressive body control and power. If this is the way to do it at ACT Festival, I’m in for a treat. And I was!

It was a variety of performances from all over the world, like France, Korea, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and of course Spain. A lot of great stories and visual spectacles. There was some serious dancing, acting, puppetry and music going on. With moments to reflect in between at ACTmósfera. A great way to get to know each other and talk about the performances. Like one of my favorite pieces “Give me a moment” by Giselda Ranieri & Elia Moretti. The moment Elia started playing I felt uncomfortable and just like that I was connected to the piece. To Giselda. Who, by the way, has the most amazing facial expressions and movements I’ve ever seen. At ACTmósfera we learned every performance is an improvisation, except for some set parts when music, movements and lights come together. Spectacular!

I could keep on talking about the breathtaking performances I’ve seen, the amazing people I ‘ve met, the atmosphere, the hospitality, the amazing lunches and dinners… but I will give you some advice instead: Go to the ACT Festival!

Marjolein Klare is a Dutch theater-student from Amsterdam. Besides the wonderful world of theater, she is pasionate about photography, writing singing & traveling.

Photo of Homo Sapiens by Igor Vrebac