From the ‘crisis play’ to the ‘memorial play’ to the ‘Syria play’. Current affairs are doing well in theatre. And yet this is not a matter of course for a medium that likes to invoke its slowness with regard to the flow of information that washes over us daily. But perhaps today, argues Kristof Van Baarle, we have a greater need for stories than for information.
In May 2016, Japanese writer and director Toshiki Okada presented his latest production, Time’s Journey Through a Room, at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels. It immerses the audience in an altered experience of time. In Okada’s theatre, past, present and future are interlaced. He experiments with heterochronic time in order to question what it means to live in the ‘now’.
The non-Broadway performing arts scene in New York is characterized by a painful lack of funding that almost makes the situation in Europe seem luxurious. In the work of the New York based Larissa Velez-Jackson and her group “Yackez”, this economic condition becomes an aesthetic that prompts a reconsideration of some contemporary assumptions regarding the relations of artistic production, presentation, consumption and critique – as well as their residual material.
Simon Starling and Graham Eatough – At Twilight: A play for two actors, three musicians, one dancer, eight masks (and a donkey costume)
Set in the leafy grounds of Holmwood House in Glasgow’s Southside, Simon Starling and Graham Eatough’s performance At Twilight: A play for two actors, three musicians, one dancer, eight masks (and a donkey costume) was a successful example of the Common Guild Gallery’s commitment to putting visual art and theatre into innovative dialogue. The performance, which combined dance, music and drama, was striking for its structure, for the way in which W.B. Yeats’ Noh-inspired, symbolist play At The Hawk’s Well was placed within the framework of an artist’s talk or public lecture.
Article appeared in Arab Stages, Volume 2, Number 2 (Spring 2016) ©2016 by Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publication
The censorship and strict regulation of the public sphere during autocratic times in Tunisia took their toll on artistic freedoms as they anesthetized most of cultural life. The revolutionary movement however marked the beginning of the 21st century in a hopeful way. Five years later, the Nomadic Art Center, Moussem, invited five young Tunisian directors to show their work on the stages of BOZAR and the “Maison des Cultures” in Brussels. The festival explored how artists look back on this period and tackled the question how artists can contribute to the construction of a new social conscience on the ruins of an autocratic regime.