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The Apparatus of Dissappearance

Part 1 Project 2010
Rasa Karuseviciene
University of Greenwich | UK
Among the ruins of the Venetian walls, you will find abandoned objects and spaces, ‘the buffer zone cabinet’, a disappearing kit, and many streets where every house is divided in two. You enter the houses from the Greek side, but when you enter their back gardens, you are in Turkey. Each house is a mirror of itself. In the Buffer Zone, doors have been blocked up to become walls and walls have been torn asunder to become doors. Washing machines, televisions, sofas and staircases migrate across the wild landscape of weeds and dust. A kitchen countertop jostles with doors and chairs for space in the spectacle on the street.

This is my theatrical landscape. It is a disintegrating cloth, worn through with holes, the fabric of the Buffer zone. It is wrapped around the abandoned spaces and the mud buildings on the Turkish side of Paphos Gate. It is equipped with traps, decoys and escape routes, tunnels and mirrors, and is sewn with a silver thread. One strand of thread will allow you to find your way through the labyrinth, to where you can disappear forever. Here are your tools:

1. The rules of transformation tend to rely on devices such as rotation, reflection, projection and sliding.
2. How to use the television garden
3. How to leave the pool of tears
4. Tools for shrinking and stretching
5. How to view the curiosities of the labyrinthine city
6. How to sleep on stage
7. The mobile UN tower and other magic tricks
8. Sleight of hand, subversion and infiltration
9. Instructions for method acting in the theatre of war
10. Border controls and buffer zones
11. On the use of a depository for the divided house
12. How to access the department of nostalgia
13. Method acting in a theatre of war
14. Restrictions and means of escaping them - spaces to ‘slip through’ from one country to another
15. Tools for escape: stairs, chairs, ladders, tunnels, dugouts, gunslots and cups of tea.
16. A game of snakes and ladders
17. Escaping to wonderland
18. How to enter the rabbit hole
19. The public kitchen: a tale of subterfuge and marmalade
20. Reclaiming wonderland: 70 cars in a bonded warehouse
21. Reusing dismantled sandbags, barrels and washing machines
22. Casting car carcasses
23. Slipping into the buffer zone for a moment you may find you can never leave.

Rasa Karuseviciene

Our students were asked to propose a theatrical landscape for the divided site of Paphos Gate, in Nicosia, Cyprus. The site is located at the unofficial border between Greece and Turkey, and monitored by the United Nations. It is positioned at the intersection of the venetian walls of the city with the ‘Buffer Zone’, the unoccupied space in the centre of the city between Greek side of the city and the Turkish occupied zone. The Buffer Zone is a space between two ceasefire lines that runs the entire length of the island of Cyprus and is sometimes several miles wide, at other times only the thickness of a door.
Rasa’s project focuses on the nature of the Buffer Zone itself, which becomes the principal character in her performance. Rather than dealing with the tragic nature of this site and its history, and in the tradition of magic realism, the Buffer Zone is treated as an extraordinary and mysterious spectacle, a kind of ‘wonderland’.
From Wikipedia: Magic realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction in which magical elements are blended into a realistic atmosphere in order to access a deeper understanding of reality. These magical elements are explained like normal occurrences that are presented in a straightforward manner which allows the "real" and the "fantastic" to be accepted in the same stream of thought.
Matthew Strecher has defined magic realism as "what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something 'too strange to believe'". However, it may be that this critical perspective towards magical realism stems from the Western reader's disassociation with mythology, a root of magical realism more easily understood by non-Western cultures. Westerners' confusion regarding the style of magical realism is due to the "conception of the real" created in a magical realist text; rather than explaining reality using natural or physical laws as in typical Western texts, magical realist texts create a reality "in which the relation between incidents, characters, and setting could not be based upon or justified by their status within the physical world or their normal acceptance by bourgeois mentality."
Rasa’s theatrical landscape is immersed in this confusion and plays off the rational against the imaginary, using architectural elements, objects, spaces, and geometries found in the buffer zone. Those who have disappeared in the buffer zone during the last 35 years are merely the tools in a magic trick.

Ms James Curtis
Ms Reenie (Karin) Elliott

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