Rêves D'Avant L'Aube’s mission is to bring together theatre-makers who work all across Europe. We strive to create a community where experimentation and the sharing of ideas are nurtured. That is why we are so happy when artists who have joined us in previous years return to Paris to share new work inspired by the encounters they’ve had at the festival.
Such is the case with Roberta Gotti, the artist that we present to you today. Roberta is an Italian-born actress based in London. She has worked in theatre, films and TV and across various art disciplines, solo performance, music and art films. She began her professional career on the London stage, writing and producing her own work then landed roles in theatre including Arcola, Royal Opera House and Conway Hall. Later she went on to play parts in the cult classic feature Hackers, the award-winning feature Jean Charles (Toronto Film Festival) and the TV series for Sky Living The Spa.
Roberta’s solo performances explore elements of the feminine through first person narrative of relationships, dreams and aspirations. Roberta investigates fantasy realms where the characters can live their wildest dreams in alternate realities, while co-existing with the sometimes hum-drum and conversely incredible everyday world.
The show that Roberta is bringing to Rêves D'Avant L'Aube 2018 is called Parallel State.
It is written and performed by her and directed by Tony Hickson. Tony worked as a circus artist for five years and as an actor for ten years before completing his MA in Screen Writing at the London College of Communication. As a director Tony has directed both plays and short films. Roberta and Tony met at the Actors Centre in London and are collaborating for the second time.
Parallel State is a one-woman performance. The piece is set on two estates where 6 characters, 4 women, a ghost and a dog exists at different times connected by a space-time continuum. The piece tells of their lives which are linked by an invisible chain of memories, childhood dreams, suffering, heart beats, yearnings and the inevitable approach of the sunset of life.
Here’s what we talked about.
In what ways do you think bringing your work to Rêves D'Avant L'aude 2018 can enrich your practice as a theatre maker?
Roberta Gotti writer/performer: I took part in the festival last year and I grew so much as a performer and writer. Also as a solo performer sometimes I feel a little isolated and am always on the look out for opportunities to collaborate and share my work. That’s why I am really looking forward to this amazing chance to perform my piece abroad. My practice will be enriched by new ideas, inspiration, and feedback.
Tony Hickson director/video projections: I have always liked European Theatre as it has a long history of experimental and innovative practice
What is the most exciting aspect of sharing your work with audiences in Paris?
R: I love the Paris Vibe, the fact that the theatre is near the iconic Pere Lachaise cemetery where many artists and musicians from the past have been laid to rest. For me it’s all about connection and this year I am looking forward to link up with more people.
T: Sometimes theatre in London can be seen as operating in a bubble as most productions look the same in London with the regions following about 10 years behind. It is good to get out of the UK every now and then to broaden your horizons.
How does your show address an international audience?
R: ‘Parallel State’ is set on two imaginary locations – an urban estate somewhere in Europe and another somewhere in England. My characters meet in an invisible, dreamlike space where they tell their stories. I want to create an atmosphere for the audience, a space where we are linked by a universal melody of memories, childhood dreams, suffering and joy as well as heart beats. In dreams there are no borders but in real life we are bound by rules, status, different ideology and language. In this world there are no crossings or checkpoints as my piece explores physical space versus a space with no boundaries, a ‘heart-space’ we can all relate to.
What does European theatre mean to you and how does it influence your theatre?
R: For me ‘European Theatre’ means freedom, experimentation, the importance of the body, and inclusion of other art forms. In the past I worked with Polish actor/director Zofia Kalinska who took part in many of Tadeuz Kantor’s perfomances. My work has been influenced by this type of revolutionary theatre.
Other than your time performing at the festival, what other plans do you have in Paris?
R: I am going to visit the resting place of Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison
What´s nex for you after Rêves D'Avant L’Aube 2018?
R: I would love to recreate my piece for a London venue like the Camden people’s theatre. Also, I am continuing my collaboration with film-maker and director Tony Hickson who has directed two of my pieces Parallel State and Jade Sadeian.
You can catch Parallel State on Friday 6th July at 19:,30; Saturday 7th July at 22:15 and Sunday 8th July at 18:00 at Salle Labo at Théâtre de Ménilmontant.
Interview by Lilia Nova