Following the theme of political consciousness, referencing small nations in turmoil, the workshop aims to be a stirring reminder of what can happen when the power of the state becomes all-encompassing and the rights of the individual are forfeited, whether through neglect or weakness of will. With the reference directly on the use of a language silenced in various instances in its history, this is an exercise as part of an ongoing project.
This workshop engages the audience in an exercise during which they feel directly affected as victims of a lesser existence. They are handed a piece of paper with words in Catalan which they will be asked to memorise. After that they enter a session with a recorded tale of an immigrant’s experience of language learning difficulty in a hostile environment where she is willing to learn the locals’ language but unable to because they do not think she wants to embrace it –typical response from a historically down-trodden language. In between her tale, which the audience will hear in Catalan with English subtitles, a signal sounds with an ‘ON AIR’ sign which invites the audience to say the memorised words aloud. Another ‘ON AIR’ signal orders them to stop.
The recording is alternated with sections of Harold Pinter‘s play, ‘MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE’, in which two women are taunted and belittled by officers when they visit their respective son and husband in jail. They are only allowed to speak ‘the language of the capital’ although they can only speak their own mother tongue. This results in their inability to talk to their loved ones at all.