Hush, O my grief, be still
In these difficult times, I find those words of Charles Baudelaire to be necessary, essential.
They are beautiful, they soothe me.
Our scheduled unveiling at SAT of the FTA 2020 program on this Tuesday, March 17 to a audience of some 500 people was to be a gathering, a festive event.
Life, however, has decided otherwise.
Hush, O my grief, be still
As I write these words, we do not know whether this 14th edition of the Festival will even take place, in one form or another, in May and June. We really don’t know.
Just like you, we listen to instructions, developments, advice, orders. And our health is more important than anything else.
But come to think of it, the 2020 edition already exists. It’s out there, floating somewhere between our hearts and souls, between reality and fantasy.
This edition is built on the dreams of all those artists who live to create, all those men and women – performers, designers, stage technicians, administrators, booking agents, cultural workers – all of whom on a daily basis make this beautiful thing called ART.
Theatre and dance are performing arts.
And the FTA is here to encourage them and to celebrate life, despite everything.
That is why we are unveiling, to you and despite everything, the 22 shows of this edition. To pay homage and justice to the work of all those artists who wish only to make contact with you, to strike a chord, perhaps stir your soul.
So for life, for hope, for beauty, for pleasure, for fun, we invite you to discover the 22 dance and theatre works of FTA 2020.
We don’t know if…
But yes, we do know.
What we don’t know is when.
The Festival team is hard at work getting things ready, and I sincerely thank all of them for their commitment. Once things calm down, we’ll want to be together again.
We would like to thank all the government agencies, arts councils and Ministries, all of our partners and also you, the festivalgoers, for your support in this extraordinary and somewhat frightening moment we are going through.
Thank you for the mutual support of everyone in the cultural milieu in this precarious time when, for the near future at least, there will be no incoming revenue.
We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Montreal, Quebec and across Canada – theatre directors, stage crews and support staff – whose dreams have been put on hold. This unprecedented crisis reveals how much we love what we do, how involved we are in the all the complexities of arts production, how the dreams we cherish are meaningless without you, our audience.
I extend my heartfelt support to all my colleagues working in arts festivals that usually begin in April, such as the Carrefour international de théâtre in Quebec City, the Festival Luminato in Toronto, the DDD festival in Porto, the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels, Theater der Welt in Düsseldorf, Wiener Festwochen in Austria, the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, LIFT in London, the Festival de Marseille, Printemps des comédiens in Montpellier, Montpellier danse, the Avignon Festival, Julidans in Amsterdam, Sommerfestival in Hamburg, Tanzim August in Berlin, Noorderzon in Groningen, the Zürcher Festival in Switzerland, and the Festival Theaterformen in Braunschweig.
In the words of Antonin Artaud, “Reforge the magical chain!”
We are a large family spread across the globe, a strong but fragile human chain committed to presenting and sharing beauty.
Let’s take action in the best possible way, and as soon as possible.
Let’s take care of ourselves. Let’s take care of our own.
In these troubled and troubling times, let us consider the sublime words of Alphonse de Lamartine:
O time, suspend your flight! And you, happy hours,
Suspend your swift passage,
Let us savour the fleeting delights
Of our most happy days!
Long live art, long live the FTA, long live life!