Zuzana Uličianská/ Slovakia – Head of the PR Department, Theatre Institute Bratislava
Participants of discussion:
- Jelena Kovacic (HR), Editor, Monovid- 19
- Maria Kroupnik (RU), Curator of the Educational Programme, The Lubimovka Young Russian Playwrights Festival
- Lucia Mihálová (SK), Member of Jury, The Dráma competition
- Sam Pritchard (UK), Associate Director, The Royal Court Theatre
- Jakub Škorpil (CZ), Theatre Critic, World and Theatre magazine
Covid drama? Can anything like it be said to exist? Should it? Shakespeare, the greatest theatrical bard, spent practically his entire life under the threat of bubonic plague and his theatre was repeatedly closed due to outbreaks of the disease. Still, the plague did not discourage him from writing and producing some of his greatest plays about love and the thirst for power. Epidemics as such are only mentioned occasionally in Shakespeare’s work and then mostly metaphorically. The wounded Mercutio’s cry “A plague on both your houses!” in Romeo and Julietrefers to the warring Capulets and Montagues, but the tragedy of the play occurs partly due to pandemic measures.
And what about today’s playwrights, who have found themselves isolated at home, against their will? Can they convey their message to audiences? What topics has the pandemic introduced into our lives and theatre? Collaboration? Empathy? In A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe notes that altruistic solidarity between people quickly disappeared with the end of the pandemic. So perhaps it will instead be isolation, emotional deprivation, loneliness, or even brutality and selfishness… How can theatre best portray the present moment? Will audiences and theatremakers be willing to address contemporary problems? Should we ask ourselves what we could have done to prevent this catastrophe? Or will we follow the example of Shakespeare, and discreetly omit Covid-19 from the plays to be written in the coming years?
The online "Green Thursdays" discussion with guests from the ranks of theatre and dance artists, curators, cultural managers and theorists from the Czech Republic and abroad reflects the sensitivity and response of the field of performing arts to current social issues. The main topic is the adaptation of theatre, dance and the new circus to the virtual environment as a result of epidemic-prevention measures and issues related to the sustainability of the quality of life of contemporary civilization and the performing arts. Although it would seem that the critical need for social change under discussion in the areas of ecology, economics, politics and culture has been overshadowed in recent months by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, in the performing arts, concerns are beginning to spread about the sustainability of the field itself, fuelled by the chaos arising from various rules aimed at social distancing, the deteriorating economic situation and the unpredictable behaviour of audiences. The defensive reaction is the rapid adaptation of theatre and dance creations to the virtual environment. Is this hybrid existence in real as well as virtual space-time a blind alley for a field that is based on live contact with the audience, or does it open up new possibilities and worlds for them? Will viewers stay at home forever? How are artists, cultural event organizers, public support providers and art educational institutions responding to this crisis? How are they orienting themselves, what do they believe in and what are they pursuing? How do they communicate? Together with our guests, we map the embryonic strategies of the performing arts in adapting to the global paradigm shift.
The series is organised by ATI's International Cooperation Department as part of its Promotion of Czech Performing Arts Abroad program and in cooperation with partners from the European project Create to Connect -> Create to Impact and the network Performing Arts Central Europe (PACE.V4). The webinars are held in English in the Zoom platform every fourth Thursday of the month. During the discussion meetings, viewers have the opportunity to ask the guests questions. Playbacks of the meetings are subsequently available on the YouTube channel jsmeIDU.
- Webinars will take place on the ZOOM platform; it is not necessary to download the application in advance.
- After filling out the registration form, you will receive an email with a link to access the webinar.
- If possible, please register 15 minutes before the start of the event to allow time to complete the registration process.
- Webinars will be held in English.