The Theatre is returning home, 2017

Long ago the International Small Scenes Theatre Festival in Rijeka has gained its reputation of a venue to encounter the first class theatre. During the first ten days of May you can see top theatre actors, renowned directors and acclaimed performances that are questioning the complex pulse of time, universal questions of the society and painful trauma of individuals in an aesthetically exciting way.

This Festival is always looking for special performances; with refined taste, high aspirations and strong artistic energy this search is not an easy task, but nevertheless the final choice represents a process of patient and strict selection. Still, this festival was never a slave to a certain concept or special aesthetics: it has always been and it still is a festival of great acting at a distance of two metres from the audience and of theatre magic as it used to be. Wherever such a theatre wants to go, in Rijeka it always likes to return home.

With such kind of selection, this year we want to offer a number of eight excellent performances that will satisfy the expectations of the audience and confirm the reputation of European quality Rijeka festival. This year’s regional and European offer was extremely rich and some of the performances have imposed themselves by their excellence; the Hinkemann performance, by the Zagreb Youth Theatre, directed by a splendid young director Igor Vuk Torbica, with one of the best actors in Croatia Ozren Grabarić, already took a handful of awards, whereas the Hamlet by Yugoslav Drama Theatre from Belgrade directed by Aleksandar Popovski, with the unsurpassed Nebojša Glogovac, has been sold out months ahead in its main house. From the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb there come The People of Wax, an exciting story by Mate Matišić thorn out from life, directed by Janusz Kica in a slightly surreal and black humoristic way, which tells about our people and their weaknesses, mentality, morality and love, performed by very solid actors from the Croatian National Theatre Zagreb headed by Ksenija Marinković. Oskar Koršunovas Theatre from Vilnius arrives with a new version of the Seagull by Chekhov that in a very modern aesthetic way performs the vivisection of the ‘soul disease’ of nowadays people. Performed by the numerous and top quality Novi Sad Theatre ensemble we shall see the epic saga Bridge on the Drina, directed by Kokan Mladenović, which represents a dramatic ode to human suffering and misery that outlive political regimes, wars and violence in constant exchange of good and evil on this areas. A new performance by the Theatre &TD from Zagreb, the Magic Evening, will remind us on small, chamber and powerful performances with which the Small Scenes Theatre Festival started its adventure almost a quarter of a century ago: this time on a small area the story goes about the human fear as a modern phenomenon being questioned by the director Anica Tomić and dramaturge Jelena Kovačić through their specific manuscript. The performance “How’s life” in the production of independent Moruzgva Theatre from Zagreb shall also be a part of the Festival. It’s based on the text of Nina Mitrović, is directed by Ivan Leo Leme and it is a warm story about a peaceful home for the elderly. However above the auditorium one can feel the question hanging in the air: Who is today capable to reach the old age?

The Festival series will be concluded by the National Theatre from Belgrade and the Ivanov by Chekhov, directed by Tanja Mandić Rigonat, with the first-rate actor Nikola Ristanovski playing the title role and by the “Teatar Okolo” from Moscow with Beckett’s Endgame performed by four brilliant Russian actors and directed by Aleksej Levinski.

We believe that the 24th International Small Scenes Theatre Festival in Rijeka will be representing a high league of the first class performances from the Region and from Europe and as such, so we hope, it will offer a magic of unique excitement that always seems to us bigger than the life itself.

Bojan Munjin