Amidst the smell of coffee and surrounded by the familiar chestnut trees, this year’s Discussion Café sessions aim to address two very specific and tangible phenomena that resonate throughout the festival programme – choir singing, and the inclusion of non-professionals either on stage or as part of the process. Although far from new, these phenomena are gaining momentum – or does it just seem so? This prompts us to identify social circumstance driving this movement to prominence and – perhaps a task even more intricate – to identify the effects they bring about.
Spanning from the ancient Greek theatre to Belgian contemporary theatre, from primary schools to academic arenas, from village hall celebrations to the Avignon festival – it would appear that choirs are to be found everywhere. Why do they feature in so many theatre performances lately? Perhaps we’ve simply grown tired of multiplicity of individual voices and instead yearn for the people to stand together and embody artists’ words as one? Perhaps the truth carries more substance if uttered (in song) by several people at once or if these people stand united on stage? And perhaps we are simply drawn to the melodic nature of song?
Engaging amateur actors, representatives of social groups, non-professionals or professionals from different fields to generate material for documentary theatre, or simply bringing in your average Joes – none of this is new. We will examine the trends of »authenticity«, de-professionalisation, collaboration with various social groups to gain impact, democratisation and pluralisation, which propel us to open up our stages and offer them to groups that may not have a voice in public. Naturally, there is no definitive answer, but we aim to ask pertinent questions and address these trends also through the lens of festival performances.
Monday, 21 August at 5:00 pm
Speakers: Ana Hofman and Đorđe Balmazović Žole (Škart collective)
Moderated by: Iva Š. Slosar
Tuesday, August 22 at 5 p.m.
NON-PROFESSIONALS ON STAGE
Speakers: Deja Kačič and Nataša Živković
Moderated by: Iva Š. Slosar
About the speakers and moderator:
Iva Š. Slosar is a dramaturgue and dramatist, she participates in many productions with various contemporaries – for example, with Počemučka in the author’s project of the Academy Studio Počemučka, Piano and Screaming (just this year we are hosting two more team members at the festival: Filip Mramor and Aljoša Lovrić Krapež), she was also part of the team of the award-winning author’s play Wives in Dough and a nominee for the award for Young Playwright at the Slovenian Drama Week.
Dr. Ana Hofman is an ethnomusicologist and anthropologist, researcher at ZRC SAZU. Her area of research is the relationship between music, sound and politics in socialist and post-socialist societies, with an emphasis on memory, affect and activism. Choirs are also part of her research.
Đorđe Balmazović Žole is an architect, visual artist and part of the Škart collective from Belgrade, which was the founder of Horkeškart. At the beginning was Škart, which was founded in 1990 in the graphic studio of the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade. Many years later, at the Center for Cultural Decontamination, Škart presented his campaign called Your Shit – Your Responsibility, which also included the song of the Arsen’s Holy Cows, and they decided to create a special choir for its performance. Through an advertisement on B92 TV, listeners were invited to audition and all who came were accepted, being good singers or not.
Deja Kačič is a professor of mathematics at SVŠGUGL highschool. At this year’s festival she is participating in the Mladi Levi Festival in the performance Duets, and will participate in the conversation as a representative of “non-professionals on stage”.
Nataša Živković is a versatile artist who creates in various genres in the field of performing arts, from contemporary dance, theater to performance art. She has participated in many artistic projects in which the participants are also performers and non-professional, recently, for example, she directed the play Everything is ok, which was created by young people in the Theater Laboratory of LGL and the frame of City of Women Festival.
Discussions are in Slovene, English translation will be available upon request.
Concept and production: Alma R. Selimović
Supported by: Evropska unija: program Ustvarjalna Evropa – Kultura, ACT – Art, Climate, Transition
Photo by: Nada Žgank