Magda Romanska, Emerson professor and dramaturg for Café Variations provides behind the scenes insight into the production…
The trouble is
I can’t make sense of my life at all.
I can’t see a beginning and a middle and an end
It seems to me to be just a bunch of random vivid moments
I think, when I am on my deathbed,
I won’t look back on a story of my life
I’ll just remember a constellation of moments
but just that.
– Charles Mee, Café le Monde
In our precarious world of virtual friends appearing and disappearing under our fingertips at the click of the mouse, SITI Company is something akin to a miracle. Founded in 1992 by Anne Bogart and Tadashi Suzuki to redefine and revitalize contemporary theatre in the United States through an international collaboration, SITI has just celebrated its 20th anniversary.
I have been working with the group on Café Variations for six weeks now. As a bona fide lifelong social outcast, I’ve doggedly trained myself – by desire and necessity – to descry the most diminutive movements: the elusive twitching of one’s eyelid, the subtle smirk at the corner of one’s mouth, the furtive glances, sudden silences, subdued signs and stealthy stares, the entire shadow game of our past passing through our bodies and our faces. The skill can be both a blessing and a curse for the dramaturg. I dubiously pride myself on being able to read with paranoid precision all of that inconspicuous symphony of micro-gestures that shamelessly betrays our history: recoiled-from love affairs, thwarted ambitions, the quotidian discontents of our lives.