Within the framework of EU Collective Plays, Èpica has been addressing the subject of memory in all its aspects: memetic, illustrated, digital, memories of refugees, experiences of victims… It is now time to explore the kinds of memories that a place is able to transmit. Site Memory takes place in Malta, a location that throughout history has exerted a strategic point in the Mediterranean for all those who have wanted to travel, trade and battke. The spaces of Malta breathe stories, cuisines, religions and messages of all kinds due to the mixture of cultures and events that have taken place there throughout the centuries.
This is why La Fura dels Baus, in collaboration with local artists, wants to develop a collective creation with the exchange of experiences and knowledge that characterizes all of Èpica’s workshops in order to explore the stories that Malta’s spaces are able to offer. It took two weeks of intensive work that culminated on October 7 with two performances during La Valletta’s Notte Bianca.
“War is the first international relationship between countries.”
Based on the approach of the workshop, the memories of a space that has lived through all kinds of cultures and conflicts, Site Memory’s participants developed a script that extrapolated the experiences of Malta to all cultures. The temple where the final performance took place had four sculptures, dedicated respectively to War, Prudence, Immortality and Justice. These were the issues that were dealt with and the key plot points.
The show begins with Lady Gray, a singer who is killed amidst her performance. The public not only witnesses her death and funeral, but ends up being part of a procession in her honor; they are asked to carry crosses to the tomb while receiving messages reflecting on war (“The ground you trample on is full of corpses of past generations,” they are told).
This is the moment in which War takes full force: two cultures, one represented by cardboard and the other by plastic, start a fight for the territory in the middle of which Lady Gray remains buried. One culture steals the corpse and the other counterattacks to retrieve it, and vice versa. The conflict continues to escalate until the two sides decide to make peace. It is time for Prudence.
The debate which of the two has been most prudent. Is being a coward prudent? Can someone act prudently while commiting a murder? Which culture has established more ties with the other? Which one is more open? The confrontation explodes again, perhaps with more force than before, until it is interrupted by Justice.
It is Justice herself, embodied in a character, who will end the show. She declares, not only that Lady Gray is not dead, but that she herself knows who is responsible for her homicide. The corpse rises from the grave and, when all present deny being guilty of her murder, they die one by one by the hand of Justice.
“Only cowards will not be immortal.”