Traces from November might come across as a pandemic consequence, but actually is an invented format and a possibility to leave the borders of a set festival timeframe. To spill over to other times of the year, with projects that need another temporality, attention, or weather condition than given in November. A format that can take multiple shapes.
The starting point of this edition was the work of Angela Schubot and Jared Gradinger. The way the two artists think, engage, and invite plants and plant knowledge into their performances fascinated me. I was curious to propose their performances YEW: kids and YEW: outside to a Helsinki audience. To find places here, where the intense encounters with plants and trees they are proposing could take place.
YEW: kids was presented for kindergarten groups in the Pihlajamäki area. An area Moving in November recently started exploring in the frame of the Helsinki model. This specific area has no theater spaces which triggers our thinking towards using other spaces and outside areas for performances. With Pihlajamäki, Moving in November adds another area on its map to spill over to and be included in our general festival activities.
For one week we were present in Pihlajamäki with Traces from November, also occupying the local Youth Center with a workshop for the local community, a workshop for professionals, and a performative study given and proposed by artists Matilda Aaltonen and Veli Lehtovaara, studying and working around animal movements.
Thinking of other performative formats and traces, we brought a performance from last November with us, Fionde by Chiara Bersani with Illaria Lemmo *. A performance in a box, that can be taken and activated at home. By opening it, one becomes the audience and the performer at the same time.
From Pihlajamäki we moved to Helsinki Central Park to experience the performance YEW: outside. Hopefully, a glimpse and a memory of these magical evenings stay with the ones who experienced it, to carry to the November festival. During which another work of the two artists can be encountered in the form of a fungi hut, built in front of the cultural center Stoa.
Together with the participants, the two artists also left some traces behind the Villa Eläintarha, planting bulbs and seeds in the frame of a Gardening -workshop. A choreographic planting action for the future, thinking of regenerative structures of gardens being able to take care of themselves.
Thank you all for the shared time, wish you a good summer!
And hopefully meet you back in the fall for Moving in November, from November 3rd to 13th!
Photo: by Kerstin Schroth from YEW: kids
*In Collaboration with Baltic Circle International Theatre Festival