A responsible theatre in grim times, 2019

A responsible theatre in grim times

Theatre cannot escape reality. Growing social tensions, intimate breakdowns and political hatred reflecting the aggressive force of the right-wing and the helplessness of the liberals and the left-wing have been dramatically testing the sensibility of theatre to take on the challenges that surround it.

Humanistic values ​​and civilized norms of yesterday allowed the theatre to tackle individual problems, family tensions or social dilemmas. Cheerful or gloomy, it was the theatre we have known for centuries, thanks to the ethical standards that enabled us to use the stage to judge the behaviour of its heroes or the finale of a play. Today, the civilization of humanism is dying, as one theatre director recently said, or in words of top intellectuals and Nobel laureates: “Europe is coming apart before our very eyes”, as they expressed their concerns in a recently published manifesto.

This year’s International Small Scene Theatre Festival in Rijeka, stripped of desire to act ‘trendy’ or to promote a type of ‘engaged’ theatre, along with the plays selected for the audience to judge, shoulders a serious and by no means small responsibility to use the stage to discuss the world, as the future of that world looks very dim. This has always been the Festival’s tendency: theatre is not a political rally or a social forum – theatre puts a human being centre stage and challenges its existence with all the might of its poetic fantasy.

Since its beginnings, it has been this Festival’s poetics to present quality, provocative productions and that is why we believe this stage will once more see amazing performances, great directors and powerful acting that will speak about the times we live in, greatly burdened with worries and fear.

Bojan Munjin