When, in The Hearing Trumpet, a novel by Leonora Carrington, a painter, sculptor, and idolized proponent of surrealism and feminism, the eccentric ninety-year-old Marion receives the titular item from her friend Carmelia, the first news that reaches her ears is unfortunate: the family for whom “she was a source of constant anxiety for twenty years” wants to hand her over to an old-age home. Soon Marion ends up in a place more resembling a medieval castle than a hospital, surrounded by oddly-shaped homes—a toadstool, a cake, or a cuckoo clock—inhabited by other patients of the “Tabernacle of Light,” a community managed by Doctor Gambit, whose passion is studying feminine neuroses and hysteria. His unconventional cures, serving “to observe and dissolve women’s kinky habits (the source of their joy and pleasure) in the light of Objective Consciousness” and his maxims, such as “Effort is always rewarded when we renounce Recompense,” seem to quarrel with a principle he instills in his patients, that they should “remember about themselves.”
Adapting The Hearing Trumpet, Agnieszka Glińska and Marta Konarzewska show, with Carrington’s customary distance and sense of humor, drawing from the surrealist aesthetic of her work and colorful biography (a relationship with Max Ernst, a stay in a psychiatric hospital), how hard it is to come to know your own self, being entwined in a social system of obligatory roles and principles. They perceptively examine the often vague limits between health and sickness, sanity and madness. What keeps us on one side? What’s on the other side? Where exactly is the source of our creativity?
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Union des Théâtres de l'Europe gathered, in the last 3 decades, some of the most important European theatres and artists. Through festivals, exhibitions, exchanges, masterclasses, cooperation projects, the UTE help create a continuous flow between West and East, between generations, between tradition and innovation. Our celebration is inspired by this rich history. With the help of the Interferences International Theatre Festival, we wish to remember some of the best performances presented at past editions of the UTE festival and look forward to new horizons.