Festival Diaries – Exile

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Writes Artistic Director Daniel Goldman

Only a week to go till CASA Latin American Theatre Festival starts and my story today is about exile.

You see, I am the grandson of two very different kinds of exiles.

On my dad’s side, my grandparents are Polish Jews who in very different ways survived the Holocaust. Both were exiled from the country of their birth. Both came to UK as political refugees. I never knew my grandfather though I carry his name. My grandmother has always lived in the past. Like Aristides, she comes back again and again to the past, she relives it, she retells it, it is part of me now.

On my mum’s side, her parents were pieds noirs living in Morocco and that’s where she was born. You could argue they shouldn’t have been there in the first place but it doesn’t change the fact that the whole family packed their bags and left following independence.

I look around me and it seems to me we live in ever more displaced times. Everywhere around us are people who have made the choice to leave home or have been in some way forced to leave home or are looking for home. That can mean leaving one’s country of birth for another. Or urban migration. Or leaving your flat for a cheaper option…

Maybe you’re an exile. Maybe you don’t know where home is. Or what it is. Some of the people I love most in the world are exiles. I am drawn to you like a moth to light. I admire you. After CASA, I’m buggering off to India and Carlisle. I’ve been away from London a lot recently but then London isn’t my home…

No. For me, a rehearsal room is home. And a theatre with an audience is home. My family on a Friday night is home. My friends and the people I love are home. My grandma’s hand in mine is home. The touch of the person I’m in love with is home. Words on a page are home.

My separation from them would be exile. They are what I come back to again and again.

One of our shows this year captures all of this with wit and warmth and insight. Susana Lastreto’s brilliant monologue Noche de Verano lejos de los Andes o Dialogos con mi Dentista (A summer night far away from the Andes or Dialogues with my Dentist) is all about this search for home away from home. It’s an auto-biographical piece, it’s funny, and perhaps appropriately, it’s a bit all over the place.

I can only say… come and see it.

And come to CASA. Come home to our home. It’s yours.


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