Saturday, August 15, 2009

Crisis of Economy as a subject of Art

By Li Novak

Belgrade, July 29 ( Serbia Today ) - Theatrical art is often closely related to the current reality, unlike film and other art forms. Theater authors want to be quick and actual. They respond to what is now happening around us.
This particularly applies to a theater festival of new tendencies - BITEF, an annual event happening each fall in Belgrade. The 43rd BITEF will be held from 15th till 25th September, and it is called The crisis of capital - the art of crisis. The festival itself, as the other cultural events, will happen in the circumstances of the world economic crisis.
This is reflected in the number of theatre plays - there are less of them than previous years. According to festival selector Jovan Cirilov – they chose quality instead of quantity. He also pointed out that this festival is rich in various theatrical tendencies; each play brings a new tendency.
The quality is not depreciated, and we owe that to the city government’s financial support, as well as sponsors. In the main program will be shown 7 foreign and 2 domestic plays, and Bitef also retained programs that are known from previous festivals: Bitef on the film, Bitef polyphony and Symposium. Our festival has become a part of the European Organization Enparts. Program The Showcase will not be present on this Bitef, which is a consequence of the world economic crisis.Is it imminence that the social and economic crisis has negative effect to the artistic inspiration and production? On the other hand, is it the fact that in turbulent times masterpieces arise? Festival selectors, Jovan Cirilov and Anja Susa, with this year's choice are trying to respond to these questions.
Director Susa explained that a crisis of corporal capitalism, as a basic theme, is understood in the widest context. Some of the selected stage plays are talking about the Chinese economic boom, some about the consequences of the modern capitalist system, and the play which absolutely fits in the main theme is Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1.
A provocative promotional poster, by desiner Slavisa Savic (New Moment agency), also fits in the main theme. On the poster, we can see a human brain with ears of Mickey Mouse.
Some of the most interesting plays are the following:
“Sutra” - the British show, which opens the festival. It explores the wisdom of Buddhist sutras, by using kung-fu and modern dance.
The Blue Dragon - about the fate of the Chinese Canadian. The author is a famous theatrical director Robert Lepage, who was expected on Bitef for a long time.
Airport kids - the phenomenon of capitalism is a new profession, and it requires constant journey. The theme of this theatrical piece is the new nomad’s children, who live on airports – the children without the country.
Vacation from history - an unusual performance ’one actor - one viewer’. This is not a theatre play with the traditional approach, it puts the audience in a state of fantasy and sleepy condition. A message is that we need a rest from the reality.Camp – a play which deals with the difficult topic – Auschwitz. In this piece 2000 dolls are used.
Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1 - in the crisis, many people are searching for the salvation from capitalism. Some even turn to Marx’s famous book, and it becomes the subject of economic and artistic researches.
According to the announced program, it seems that the organizers of the 43th BITEF are successfully dealing with the world economic crisis, by using the art and, once again, we are looking forward to enjoy in an interesting theatrical autumn.

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