It is time for actions to follow the words

Marco Martinelli and Ermanna Montanari

It is time for actions to follow the words, the declarations and the manifestos.

However, yesterday, the day before yesterday, last week, last month and in previous years also then it was necessary for actions to follow words.

So, what has changed? It is only another catastrophe, particularly underhanded. And extremely widespread. If we look beyond our back door, back in time and further afield, humanity has always had to face wars, massacres, starvation, economic crisis and plagues. This time the “event” appears so awful because it directly affects us and has struck (up to now) the rich nations. Certainly, it does not only seem, it is terrible. The economic consequences are unfathomable and also the consequences on employment and growing poverty.

Let’s talk about us. This is a time when Teatro Rasi, the permanent headquarters of Ravenna Theatre and a space open to the public, is closed. A time when all live touring performances are on hold. A time when no money enters.
In this time we have firmly maintained our principle of equity and discipline among ourselves, our associates, and our dependents, the 37 “permanent” members of the company. Since Teatro delle Albe got started on the initiative of our four founders in the early 1980s, growing in number until the present time, everyone – actors, technicians, staff, artistic directors – has been receiving substantially the same salary. The substance, the bread which we share, is the same.
At this time it is important to keep to our principles of being a community. We all (and “all” is a sacred word, as Aldo Capitini said) receive the same salary, which ranges from 1000 to 1400 euros. This system has been in force since the birth of the company, inspired by ancient models. Nobody is going to be sacked. Some of us, without distinguishing between the 12 members and the 25 employees, will get unemployment benefits. Ravenna Theatre is a cooperative and our “savings” which have grown throughout thirty years of good management will be used to make up the difference between unemployment benefits and the usual salary.
It is also time to deal with our collaborators: those who have been involved in shows in this period will be paid for non-working days. We will stand by them to advise and help them receive benefits such as unemployment and the 600 euros cheque that has been scheduled for this period.

We can say that, in the absence of income, our “self-sufficiency”, the internal “resources” will allow us to get by until the end of the summer: beyond that we cannot see. Even more so because the theatre is the art of body and closeness, if this is lacking, theatre itself is missing. Every surrogate form online, at a distance, may even bear fruit, but it will never be theatre. It will always be something else.

Therefore, if we look again at the wider horizon, it should be, it could be the time when political criteria, the criteria of the whole polis, the Nation and its citizens, prevail over financial selfishness. A time to realise that destroying ecosystems, poisoning and turning the planet into deserts, with the unforeseeable consequences entailed, does not profit anybody, when all is said and done not even those who are at present making a profit. A moment when, considering only the continent we are part of, a Europe of the “common good” might arise, in place of mere speculation on the stock exchange. If all this comes about, then this time of death and destruction could be transformed into a blessed hour. We must not deceive ourselves. But it is auspicious to nurture the hope of change.


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