So, here we are once more. Gathered again in Spring, 55 years since our inaugural meeting, to celebrate World Theatre Day. Just one day, 24 hours, is dedicated to celebrating theatre around the world. And here we are in Paris, the premier city in the world for attracting international theatre groups, to venerate the art of theatre. Paris is a world city, fit to contain the globes theatre traditions in a day of celebration; from here in France’s capital we can transport ourselves to Japan by experiencing Noh and Bunraku theatre, trace a line from here to thoughts and expressions as diverse as Peking Opera and Kathakali; the stage allows us to linger between Greece and Scandinavia as we envelope ourselves in Aeschylus and Ibsen, Sophocles and Strindberg; it allows us to flit between Britain and Italy as we reverberate between Sarah Kane and Prinadello. Within these twenty-four hours we may be taken from France to Russia, from Racine and Moliere to Chekhov; we can even cross the Atlantic as a bolt of inspiration to serve on a Campus in California, enticing a young student there to reinvent and make their name in theatre. Indeed, theatre has such a thriving life that it defies space and time; its most contemporary pieces are nourished by the achievements of past centuries, and even the most classical repertories become modern and vital each time they are played anew. Theatre is always reborn from its ashes, shedding only its previous conventions in its new-fangled forms: that is how it stays alive. World Theatre Day then, is obviously no ordinary day to be lumped in with the procession of others. It grants us access to an immense space-time continuum via the sheer majesty of the global canon.
In 1929 a few people with a passion for puppetry from only seven countries formed l’Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA) to promote and develop the art form. I joined UNIMA about 1970 to help satisfy my lifelong fascination with puppets. Now, thanks to the Internet, we can instantaneously connect thousands of likeminded people across national, political and religious boundaries around the world. Recorded programs, performances, conferences, classes and workshops are available around the clock and some are streamed in real time. Academic papers, publications and photographs pop up at a touch on the keyboard. This increased popularity beyond our wildest dreams offers innumerable opportunities to form international coalitions to work together towards our goal of mutual understanding through puppetry. Puppetry developed in virtually every part of the world.
Now hundreds of hours of documentation available on the Internet make many traditional forms accessible. UNESCO recognized twelve of these as representing Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). Information, slides, and video footage of them can be seen on its web site. At least eleven additional traditions involving puppetry can be viewed on the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre Database. Hopefully, viewers are tantalized to delve into the complexity of the performances and the depths of their communal roots. We can utilize traditional puppetry to reveal the common humanity underlying our cultural differences.
20/3/2017 | 0 Comments
With no previous experience except for having frequented the theater as a boy, at the age of seventeen I directed a play with a cast of friends and classmates. It was presented informally at our high school and also in a more suitable space, open to the public. The play was called Dress Rehearsal: it touched on the subject of drugs and above all, as its title suggests, the mise-en-scène. It was written by my father, whose innate vocation as an actor was cultivated while he was a young man through scattered performances for local charities. Neither he nor I continued down this theatrical path, although I did become a staunch reader and watcher of plays. Curiously enough, I would later reencounter drama a different way: some of my stories written for children have been adapted for the stage over the past twenty years or more. In the beginning, if the troupes were formal, I would ask that they send me a copy of the adaptation for my approval. But as time passed, I preferred not to, giving free rein to those who do their job with the awareness that during the transit from narration to drama, something has got to give. Sometimes I have attended these performances. Others, I have learned about them through the press, or a webpage. Sometimes the literal content of the text is respected. Others, it acts as a source of inspiration for the creation of a new work. The Worst Lady in the World is the story of mine that has been staged most often, whether as a monologue or a marionette or shadow-puppet show, whether as a dramatic reading or a school play or a full-fledged professional performance. The director of a theater company once told me that they had to rescue the actress in the lead role from an enraged audience of young people who saw in her the true embodiment of evil: reality and fiction had melded in their collective imagination. I have also born witness to the demands, during a performance, that some children familiar with the story make whenever the actors follow a script that takes liberties with the original.
We inform all interested sides that the call for applications in the competitive program of 25th Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children closed on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017. The results of the final selection will be announced on Festival's official website on April 20th, 2017, at the latest.
Individual notifications will be sent to the theatres/participants whose performance is selected to be performed within competitive program of the Festival.
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO APPLICANTS: As a great number of applicants did not get to send a complete documentation to date, WE INFORM ALL INTERESTED THAT THE DEADLINE FOR THE MAIN PROGRAM APPLICATIONS FOR 25th KOTOR FESTIVAL OF THEATRE FOR CHILDREN is extended; now the applications may be sent until 15th March.