Theatrical language, narrative techniques and anti-anti-Gypsyism

Andrea Mochi Sismondi


With this article based on his fieldwork in Šuto Orizari, a Municipality in the suburbs of Skopje (Macedonia), the author analyses how theatrical language and narrative techniques can be used to oppose the strengthening of anti-gypsism in public opinion. Šuto Orizari is the only Municipality in the world where romanés is used as an official language, and the Mayor and the majority of the members of the assembly of the municipality come from the Roma community, thus enjoying a degree of effective self-government. Andrea Mochi Sismondi and Fiorenza Menni lived there for two years trying to understand the different visions of the world originating among Roma, while collecting dramaturgical materials later used in the production of two theatrical performances, a book and several public events where Roma and Gadžé can exchange their points of view on fundamental issues concerning political philosophy. Freedom, equality, the legitimate aspiration to a better life, freedom of movement: all values modern constitutions are based on, and on which the two artists focused their long interviews and conversations with Šuto Orizari citizens and Roma colleagues. The work has been presented all over Italy and its results reveal how literary non-fiction and performing arts can be successfully used to show the weakness of the arguments alleging the cultural distance that would make the dialogue between Roma and Gadžé impossible.

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