The 21st century opened optimistically enough. If the previous two centuries were characterized by imperialism and oppression, then maybe the 21st would bring a close to all of that. America would guide as the sole, and benevolent, superpower. And the Internet! The bright star of a democratized future! It would surely be used only for important things. Yes, there was the discord stemming from Al Gore’s election as president, yet not becoming president. But with such tantalizing new promise offered by the dawn of a new century, how badly could things turn out?
Well. So the 21st century thus far has been kind of a crapfest. But don’t blame Tricklock. If anything, extend your warmest appreciation to the gang at Tricklock Theatre Company. Since 2001, its Revolutions International Theatre Festival has sought to bring together performers from all over the world to, as Tricklock and Revolutions co-founder Joe Peracchio puts it, “provide an opportunity to reinvent, rethink … and rejuvenate. To understand others.” It’s probably this kind of effort that has kept us from tumbling permanently into the great abyss of global discord, so Tricklock would just like you to know, you’re welcome.
Revolutions was born out of Peracchio’s time as an itinerant artist, traveling through Europe from one festival to another. He was stunned by the exchange of cultures and ideas about what theater could do. Because of the language barriers between so many neighbors, European artists were creating work that ignored the limitations of language and reimagined the parameters of theater. When he returned to Albuquerque, he felt the “overwhelming urge to create something international in our town.” He sought to develop theater that was not just an entertaining distraction, but a vital component of the community. Theater, as he puts it, “has had a role since the cavemen.”
For Peracchio, it’s not just about art. “You always want to do something important ... change people’s lives.” Most important to him was the eradication of ignorance and prejudice, traits he views as anachronistic but unfortunately all-too-common in America. When he was in Europe, he noticed that “cultures [there] were much more committed to understanding” each other. That’s an understanding he believes is crucial not just in art, but in life. “Once you know someone, it’s hard to vote to bomb them.”
The three-week festival, this year held Wednesday, Jan. 14, through Saturday, Jan. 31, focuses on the “revolutionary possibilities” of exchange and camaraderie. Imagine yourself watching American improv one night, Israeli puppets or Japanese Kabuki the next, and sandwiched in-between is a long talk about Latvian folk songs over three glasses of Spanish wine with a Serbian actor named Pavel who smells like the sea. (Details of fantasy subject to change. No passport or plane fare required.)