Turfed is a theatrical installation that deals with the theme of youth homelessness, centering on the theme of football. It’s the product of a ten-month development process involving several cast members with experiences of street homelessness. In this way Turfed is the perfect expression of what LIFT festival aims to do – to forge a connection between international theatre workers and urban communities.
The production combines poetry, movement and song with striking visual imagery. It has a lucid, symphonic feel as audience members move between snapshots of different experiences of urban homelessness – performed by a talented and committed cast. The hope for inclusion; the reality of exclusion: these conceits are neatly conveyed through the football motif (especially in the present context of Brazil) with neon signs announcing HOME and AWAY.
Sometimes it felt a bit directionless. There was perhaps not enough of an attempt to connect the various narratives, or to formulate some kind of analysis pertaining to the real dangers, causes and solutions. At moments it was as if the objective was generalised catharsis. Turfed perhaps, then, needed to be more specific in its complaints, and more pointed in its criticisms.
This said, I have no doubt that work like this has greater impact (on both audience and participants) than the overwhelming majority of theatrical productions. If it lacked absolute clarity, this was compensated for by the vigor and integrity with which it tackled a serious and challenging issue.