The leitmotif of the 32nd edition of Divadelná Nitra to be held from 22 to 27 September 2023 is responses. Responses in terms of interest in all that surrounds us, knowledge about the state of those closest to us and the world, and interaction that helps us survive and find the meaning of life. These themes are naturally reflected in the main programme that features this year four international and eight Slovak productions. Every year, the Festival also offers a lavish accompanying programme for adult and young audiences. This issue of the Newsletter is dedicated to the Festival programme.
INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMME: RESPONSE TO THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS AND WAR IN UKRAINE
The bulk of the international programme presents a selection from the work by the Belgian artistic duo Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere, who represent the pinnacle of European documentary theatre. They analytically and artistically address a range of insure of the present day that ordinary people either fail to notice or have no idea of their implications. At the same time, Huysmans and Deerere use the latest technologies on stage, working with documentary and authentic recordings which they compose, at times, even poetically. The Festival features their Mining Stories, Pleasant Island and Out of the Blue. The trilogy is a response to socio–critical, political and ecological issues. Each part carries a critical message.
The highlight of the international programme and of the entire Festival is the inimitable cabaret Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) by the Ukrainian music and performance group Dakh Daughters. They have come to be one of the main symbols of resistance against the suppression of Ukrainian democracy. A group of six actresses directed by Vlad Troitskyi on stage connect music of various genres with authentic stories of Ukrainian women and quotations from the Book of Job. The production thus serves as a testimony about war and exile, an indictment, a nostalgic memory of the native land, and a brilliant show all rolled into one.
BETWEEN RESPONSE AND RESPONSIBILITY
In the Slovak section, the 2023 Divadelná Nitra brings an exceptionally balanced presentation of works by state-funded and independent theatres. Spectators will also move a few times from theatre halls to non-traditional outdoor settings. Criticality and engagement are the common denominators of those productions. They all represent a distinctly contemporary view of theatre and drama across the entire spectrum of production methods.
THE FESTIVAL AS A RESPONSE TO A SOCIETY THAT RESPECTS ITS ELITES
The first 2023 Festival performance pays tribute to one of the emblematic representatives of the alternative scene in Slovakia, the stage director Blaho Uhlár. Endocannabinoid is a mosaic of presence acting that opens up a number of publicly critical themes, all the while using the sarcastic humour that is characteristic of the Stoka Theatre. Ever since its inception, Stoka has had to overcome many obstacles. It is thus quite significant that their performance is followed by a public discussion on Independent Culture in jeopardy to be hosted by Oliver Rehák from the daily Denník N.
Productions directed by Rastislav Ballek, a stage director with a sharp signature style and the courage to comment on our society through iconic works, are among the most frequently presented within the programme of Divadelná Nitra. The current Festival edition features two pieces directed by Ballek. The production by the SND Drama Company Gotham City brings a wholly new and unconventional view of our one of Slovak classics, reflecting the story of Slovakia, an acute attempt to form our own identity and, at the same time, to define the shadow that we earnestly and sincerely try to overcome.
THE FESTIVAL AS A RESPONSE TO A SOCIETY THAT RESPECTS THE COUNTRY IT INHABITS
On Saturday, the Festival opens with We Are a Country: A Story of People, Land and Time. It outlines a new line of work at the Jozef Gregor Tajovský Theatre in Zvolen. The production is deemed to be one of the discoveries of the past theatre season. The fate of Slatinka, a water dam that was never built, was brought to the Zvolen stage by the award-winning stage director Petra Tejnorová, one of the foremost representatives of contemporary Czech theatre.
The movement site-specific production Holding River by Eva Priečková and Katarína Poliačiková is a testimony by Slovak artists who have joined their colleagues elsewhere in addressing environmental issues. A poetic statement about the state of the water surface and its interlacing with our bodies takes the audience outdoors, to the banks of the river Nitra.
THE FESTIVAL AS A RESPONSE TO THE PILGRIM SOCIETY
Festival visitors will experience an unconventional pilgrimage with performers Monika Haasová and Heidi Šinková. They will start their pilgrimage from Mlyny, the most popular shopping centre in Nitra. Directed by Petra Fornayová, the performative event M&H Pilgrimage is a response to the current consumer lifestyle.
We will travel into our past with Pribina (Making of), a production directed by Rastislav Ballek for the Andrej Bagar Theatre – home stage of Divadelná Nitra. This stage collage of materials, historical studies, and the dramatic treatment of the rise and fall of the first known sovereign of the Principality of Nitra brings contemporary overlaps and an unconventional view of our (pre)Great Moravian history.
FESTIVAL AS A RESPONSE TO THE VOICES OF THE WEAKER
In a Calm Voice by the ensemble Uhol _92 is yet another piece that offers a response to the current developments across the world and in Slovakia. Five people of different nationalities, ages and life experiences, led by the young award-winning stage director Alžbeta Vrzgula, explore protest as a public expression.
The production of Hecuba by the Slovak Chamber Theatre in the city of Martin is among the highlights of the past theatre season. The text by the Irish playwright Marina Carr, directed by the award-winning Lukáš Brutovský, brings a story that contrasts two principles – the masculine, conquering principle and the defensive, feminine principle which protects the family, but also the community in general.
TICKETS, FESTIVAL PASSES AND MUCH MORE
Tickets for the performances within the Festival main programme and selected performances of the accompanying programme are now available online via GoOut and, from 4 September, in the Festival Box Office (bod.K7, Štefánikova st. 7, Nitra) Mondays – Fridays, from 15.00 to 17.00. There is also a limited number of Festival passes. By purchasing an empathy ticket, you give a cultural experience to someone who cannot afford it. You can also support the Festival by purchasing a patron’s ticket. Divadelná Nitra is a Festival friendly to students and professionals. Students of the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts can purchase tickets using a special code and will be reimbursed by their school. Professionals – stage actors and journalists receive a professional discount.
[izvor informacije International Theatre Festival Divadelná Nitra]