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Jelena Luzina: Interculturalism: Trends, Exotica, Aesthetics, Poetics and So Forth!
What do we, in fact, talk about when we talk about interculturalism?
What do we refer to when, more and more often and with an ever greater eagerness, or even casually, we use (or even abuse) this ambiguous, powerful, strongly superfluous culturological term, a term which, since the end of the 1960s, has in an imposing manner grown into a respectable methodological category?
Most importantly, how and why is this respectable methodological category constantly imposed on an ever-growing number of scholarly areas which become more and more varied and which in different ways promote the culturological perspective of contemporary phenomena, from anthropology, sociology and comparative literature to communicology? The same can be said of theatrology, a scholarly field which is to us, at this very moment, the most intriguing among them, an exceptionally dynamic scholarly field within the framework of social science and the humanities which, through a number of scholarly disciplines, strives to interpret the origin, manner of operation, functions and the artistic and expressive determinants of the theatre not only in the diachronical, but also in the synchronical aspect of its forms of expression (Batusic, 1989: 9).
Dictionaries of literary and/or theatrical terms define interculturalism as a specific philosophical and aesthetic PERSPECTIVE which allows a view of the integral cultural system (culture understood and practiced as an integral system) as a provocative, dynamic, practically unlimited COMMON field of permanently interactive action open in an Eco-like manner to all THAT and to all THOSE that participate in its permanent happening, regardless of whether they participate in it intentionally (in which case we can speak of programmed participation) or simply because they were caught in the act/carried away by the inductive force of the very (magnetic) field of interculturalism. Ergo, this definition suggests that the famous field of interculturalism functions in an almost mythical manner as a field which is practically without boundaries and, in fact, endless.
In more simple terms, the intercultural concept involves the inclusion/activation of (most) diverse cultures which -- in a certain context and/or moment, because they have, for a number of reasons, only/randomly intertwined, or perhaps because their mutual contact was intentional in order to accomplish a certain creative or hermeneutical mission and/or goal -- pragmatically join forces in/around a concept which had previously been recognized as potentially common. The merging, of course, presupposes an initial contact (of the various cultures in focus) which is then expressed as an inevitable/authentic contact that eventually results in an authentic/direct/immediate communication between subjects that have touched and continue to do so. Since every communication is at least bilateral, and this includes communication between two (or more) cultures, it always inevitably results in the taking over of certain elements that originally belonged either to the culture that has initiated the contact (this culture could be provisionally termed the culture which gives or the culture of the First) or to the culture which positively responds to this initiative, i.e., which accepts communication (this culture can be provisionally termed the culture which receives, or the culture of the Second). Thus, through such two-way communication, the different cultures not only touch in an authentic manner, but also inevitably provoke an authentic, live/genuine exchange between all the participants concerned by this process: the First, the Second, the Third the number is infinite. It is precisely through the process of such exchange that the participants establish themselves as absolutely equal at least in theory!
That this kind/type of authentic and productive intercultural communication is not merely a utopian fabrication of daily politics but, on the contrary, a very real, verifiable and productive cultural phenomenon is clear to all those who have heard of the theatrical concept of Eugenio Barba, one of the most relevant and innovative theatrical practitioners of our time. Those who know a little more about Barba and his theatrical anthropology and perhaps have even seen some of his obviously intercultural productions can testify to the fact that such a specific theatrical concept (let us call it the theatre of exchange) has been successfully working for thirty years.
Where does the essence, the inevitability and, especially, the magnetic attraction of theatrical interculturalism, the topic we have chosen to address today, come from?
Does its true story its famed great narrative, to which the title of our conference also refers really begin with the radical 1960s and has it really been personalized precisely in/through the trans-European and transcontinental adventures of a curious, agile and (then) very young and very unconventional Italian migrant-nomad-marginal figure with an aptly given and metaphorical surname Barba (Ital. barba: beard)?
Was the theatre, nonetheless, the site of intercultural/multicultural encounter and a unique intercultural exchange EVEN before Barba lucidly formulated and effectively transformed into practice his widely known four or five theses on which the entire structure of his ISTA (the International School of Theatre Anthropology) relies?
I believe that each of us would, if they were really expected to give an answer to this hypothetical question in a flash, automatically reach for Antonin Artaud and his mythical Paris encounter with the dancers from Bali that took place some time around 1930. Allegedly this, now antiquated, encounter with a completely unknown culture and the communication that was established in a flash demonstrates in s essence that the theatre had yearned for the theatralization of otherness/difference many years before Barba, Grotowski, Schechner and others transformed this yearning into a system.
The history of the theatre (which, by the way, is a rather uncritical scholarly discipline inclined to mythologisation of facts and all kinds of exaggerations!) has recorded that, when Artaud, in the middle of Paris, suddenly saw the exotic Balinese people, he almost had a genuine illumination. At that very moment, he clearly saw all that which he had never been able to interpret and understand (although he intuitively felt it). And that is, that the Western theatre was hopelessly stuck in its imitative/logocentric tradition and that it was barely alive; if it was to be saved at all, it should radically turn to its own ritual metaphysical beginnings. Instead of dealing only with narration (which means relying exclusively on speech and only as much as is necessary on body language), the theatre, according to Artaud, must radically change its own poesis and semiosis, as well as its own logos and, hence, its own techne. In other words, the traditional European theatre of fictional thought, as it was later defined by Barba and/or Grotowski (Barba, 1996; Grotowski), the theatre which operates with imagined/fictional characters and their imagined/fictional psychology should learn (and much at that!) from the traditional Asian theatre of the fictional body. The primary form of expression of this specific theatre (a theatre of a grandiose, millennia-long tradition!) is not abstract (psychological), but quite real and visible: it is stored in the concrete body of its actors, in their superiorly trained bodies prepared for the impeccable performance of the most complex stage missions, including the impossible ones. The performing tradition of the Asian theatre is fully founded in the seemingly simple creative principle: it constantly transposes the corporeality of its actors into that which Barba calls bios (Barba, 1996). And, as we know, bios means life which is renewed/happens on the stage as art!
In an emblematic essay on the Eastern and Western theatre written in 1935, Artaud is very clear: if it was to survive and become creative again, the theatre that was being practiced at the time must not imitate/be mimetic; instead, it must begin to reveal. That is why it must be re-directed to the unknown and the magic and in Artauds case, this means directed to unknown cultures. The purpose of his journey to Mexico (1936) and the trips to certain exotic destinations he planned but never made (Tibet) was to encourage his intuition and imagination, not multiply and enrich his insights. They were not meant to be tourist-like. Artaud clearly does not travel to get to know the world better. (Todorov, 1994:326).
On the contrary, the inherent nomadism of this theatre dreamer perhaps the most abstract and therefore the most inspirational of all the theatre theoreticians, should be understood as, above all, transcultural. His theatrical concept is absolutely extreme and therefore (most likely) impossible/unachievable in standard theatre practice, and not only that of his own time. Namely, European theatre practice, and, again, not only that known at the time of the publication of his prophetic The Theatre and Its Double, but that of the present day as well, is predominantly mimetic and/or illusionist. It is mainly concerned with telling stories (Aristotle calls it action) or, simply said, with the interpretation of certain emotional, ethical or speculative content which should be skillfully presented to the curious recipients. However, the theatre upheld by Artaud is not interpretative, on the contrary, it is immediate and (therefore) cruel. Instead of being directed to emotions or abstract intellectual speculations, it aims directly at the essential, the impulses and the instincts. Of course, impulses and or/instincts cannot be interpreted (or, as Aristotle puts it, imitated); they if they are to be authentic and genuine must be provoked.
In contrast to the European conventional theatre which builds its aesthetics in vitro (according to Stanislavskis famous formula esli bi), the Asian theatre operates only/exclusively in vivo. Instead of telling stories or imitation of reality and production of entertainment (of any kind), this theatre is inclined towards mythopoesis, i.e., towards an understanding and eventually even explanation of those dark and secret things that surround all, the (mystical) arch-beginnings, including those clouded ones from which the essential metatheatrical/paratheatrical epiphenomena originate.
In all the cultures we know (regardless of whether we know them more or less, or whether we define them as eastern, western, northern or southern), such epiphenomena, which we usually call myths, rites and/or rituals, seem to recur -- almost systematically and in a way that is completely the same/identical.
One of the most passionate Artaud fans in world theatre, Eugenio Barba, defines these epiphenomena as anthropological phenomena or sensations. Studying them in a systematic manner, i.e. both theoretically and practically, during the past forty years, he has practically followed and, as much as it is possible, pragmatized/brought to life Artauds visions. Applied (theatralized) in the form of quite specific performances produced by him and his ISTA, these visions have never ceased to be transcultural. Regardless of the cultural circle to which they originally belong, they are always fully subjected to the dominant idea of absolute (anthropological) togetherness, a togetherness that superiorly fuses the Beginning and the End, the Good and the Evil, Light and Darkness, Life and Death.
If the purpose of Artauds theatre was to confront the European tradition with its synthetic arch-beginnings, for instance with the Eleusian mysteries, Barbas theatre seems to go even further. Upholding the Euro-Asian idea of the theatre which he quite passionately proclaims/promotes in all his projects, he strives to confront almost all performing traditions in the world with almost all of their hypersynthetic arch-arch-beginnings. Moreover, Brabas theatre strives to do this in an active way by adhering to the principle everything, now, simultaneously and suddenly. Acting in accordance with its own creative motto, same principles, different performances, the school of theatre anthropology run by Barba is, in essence, more transcultural than intercultural. Searching for the samenesses that regularly recur in different cultures, ISTA and Barba in fact promote a kind of supra-cultural concept; in his productions, exactly because of an idealistic and mystical (hypersynthetic) togetherness, but also on behalf of this archetypal idea, diffuse mixtures are constantly assembled and disassembled from a multitude of cultural personalities, identities and subjectivities.
Here, however, we are concerned with the intercultural aspect of this imaginary, idealistic and almost illusionist theatrical togetherness which theoretically should be much wider and much more complex than Barbaa Euro-Asian theatrical idea.
To my students, I explain interculturalism (applied to a concrete theatre/theatrical practice) as it has been upheld by Artaud, Brecht, Barba himself, Brook, Grotowski or Schechner and other people of the theatre and researchers, as something that is vertical, abstract or utopian. Directed towards the core of the darkness, as Artaud puts it, it works only with archetypes. It painstakingly looks only for sameness in the differences with which it seemingly deals and for those primeval subconscious and conceptual motives which, as Jung says, are common to all humankind and all cultures (Jung, 1974).
Can such an abstract (psychoanalytical?) interculturalism, which is obviously understood from an Artaudian point of view and which, I believe, can be better defined as transculturalism, pass -- intact and undamaged -- through the process of theatralization and to what extent can this be done?
It is undoubted that it can, although, in most cases, this effort results in performances of a quite specific experimental (transcultural?) type, let us say, like Peter Brooks legendary production The Ik, whose live performance, probably, none of us has seen. I did happen to see a similar performance staged by Barba himself though long ago and quite by chance. On the fringes of one of the Italian ISTA seminars, his ensemble, which consisted of seven or eight obviously international actors (including an authentic dancer from Bali!) offered to the citizens of a small Italian town a most intercultural sort of exchange. Although during the performance that was given one evening in August the bewildered audience occasionally clapped their hands and even managed to sing some local song, I still remain unconvinced of the aesthetic and communicative aspects of this event.
Naturally, when we speak of a concrete theatrical practice (meaning a production intended for regular repertory exploitation!) interculturalism can/must be achieved in a less complicated and less demanding manner. This means that it can/must be less Artaudian (and esoteric) and more pragmatic (and recognizable). When I explain to my students the fundamental difference between the exclusive Artaudian interculturalism and such a pragmatic interculturalism of a general type, I usually define the latter as horizontal, concrete, obvious and dystopian.
What kind of interculturalism are we referring to?
Clearly, the kind of interculturalism that can be identified with the naked eye and at first sight because it treats cultural difference/otherness a) through an impressive, carefully chosen and well tailored story, and b) through a basic sign given or chosen beforehand and, as a rule, tense/dramatic. The story of Shakespeares Othello is one of those well tailored stories, and its protagonist is one of those signs given and evidently chosen beforehand in a most drastic manner; hence, it is also one of the most powerful.
After all, rarely in its long history and at few of its longitudes and latitudes has the European theatre expressed itself as monocultural. Moreover, had its best and most famous dramatic narratives (thanks to which it has survived for the past twenty-five centuries) been primarily monocultural (ethnocentric), they would hardly have experienced the kind of reception they still encounter. All national dramatic discourses that we know are populated with all kinds of strangers, newcomers, infidels, heterodox characters and such others.
Argyrians, Trojans, Thebans and Persians march through ancient Greek tragedies
Moors, Jews, the quarreling Veronesi (the Montagues and the Capulets and others ), Roman generals and Egyptian queens, Neapolitans and Milanesi wander through Shakespeares plays
Characters of all kinds constantly quarrel in the merry soggetti of the commedia del arte and they do that in their colourful and different dialects/languages!
In the fantastic fasili of the Karagyoz shadow theatre not only do the local Turks outwit each other, but also dozens of puppets of evidently international provenance: elegant Frenchmen, mellifluous Greeks, distressed Jews, impulsive Albanians, exotic blacks, extravagant Arabs and Persians
All kinds of Marin Drzics local faces preponderantly loiter in the spacious and somewhat ambiguous Rome (strange-but-familiar): Dundo Maroje, Pomet, Petrunjela, Laura In order to check their (uncertain) status in the seemingly open (cosmopolitan) Mediterranean world, the lucid comediographer Marino Darsa Raguseo introduces into the game/play an authentic foreigner, the German Ugo Tudesco
The cursed status of a genuine stranger (the ethnically, linguistically and culturally other) is the key motif of on of the greatest of Balkan comedies, Kir Janja by Jovan Popovic, who we all call Sterija
and so forth.
And yet, the intercultural tension emanated by these and other texts that we have not referred to, as well as the specific and exceptionally well branched but subtle net of intercultural relations that has been woven through their theatralization, has little in common with the exclusive Artaudian concept of alchemic/archetypal theatre interculturalism (transculturalism?) understood as a system of spiritual/metaphysical signs of sameness in differences. As Barba would put it, the principle is the same, only the performances are different.
On the other hand, I believe that the kind of interculturalism known to the theatrical practice of the general/'mass' type and the kind it can bear does not strive towards such exclusive and almost laboratory-like goals. Hence, I dare conclude that, by using, on a daily basis, the syntagm intercultural theatre we commonly have in mind that something which we do not utter. We have in mind the kind of theatre which should not only be better, but different from the kind of theatre that we practice.
It seems that we (still!) have to go back to the beginning of this text and repeat the initial question:
What do we, in fact, talk about when we talk about interculturalism?
That this question should not be understood as some kind of rhetorical figure becomes clear if, for instance, we decide to test its validity in what is today the most popular and the fastest way: with the help of any Internet search engine. By opening recently the all-powerful Google I came to the conclusion that, if I want to study the problem I am writing about now (in a Cartesian, i.e., classical/traditional European style), I will have to browse through millions of web pages that have references to some of the important aspects of this question. In my attempt to see what and how much has been written on as few as three basic concepts/categories that, as I assume, should theoretically (and seriously?) concern the question of theatre interculturalism (see: intercultural theatre, cross-cultural theatre, postcolonial theatre) I realized that they appear in some 1,600,000 virtual combinations of all kinds. How does one enter such a jungle at all? Should the well known story about the unhappiest and clumsiest of all princes, Hamlet, who honestly believes that there should be some method in madness, be applied to these endless webs as well?
Of course, we learned long ago that today we should live (and write, too) according to some other rules. Much as we may be nostalgic for the former harmonious and unchangeable world, today we (still) know that this world can no longer be ours (Eco, 1962). Hence, we have got used to the fact that, after all, we should think, research, conclude and write on the basis of some other categories: ambiguity, uncertainty, possibility, probability (ibid).
This is especially true if we think and write about some specific phenomena that are quite uncertain and undoubtedly ambiguous. And such is the intercultural theatre!
As my brief research carried out with the support of the tools offered by Google demonstrated, the virtual variations on the theme of theatre interculturalism and its complementary phenomena point to the following inevitable conclusion:
In our inconstant, aporic and fairly ambiguous time, a time whose character is defined/determined by the incredibly speedy rise of two or three planetary phenomena -media domination, individual mobility and the unstoppable coca-colizaton of the Universe (in brief, the globalization processes that are permanently on the rise) - theatre interculturalism can be also treated as just one more of those convenient and practical trends. To be intercultural is, without doubt, to be trendy.
And yet, what kind of trendy interculturalism are we talking about?
Is it the kind Artaud fantasized about, and the very young Artaud fans Grotowski and Barba (somewhere in the dawn of the 1960s and in some of the most lucid early works that they produced then) spiritedly endeavored to experiment with? In other words, can this original, explorative, abstract, vertical, archetypal, psychoanalytical, utopian and, after all, experimental interculturalism at all develop into a trendy phenomenon? Or, is it perhaps (still!) too exotic to become a product for mass consumption and, conquering theatre stages all over, radically influence the habits of wide audiences?
Or is it, despite everything, some later variety of theatre interculturalism, a mutation of the initial Artaudian idea and one of the pragmatic compromises made on its behalf? Is the so-called trendy interculturalism of the kind customarily practiced on todays theatre stages worldwide nothing more than consumer-oriented and quite pragmatic performance practice which, when I explain it to my students, I usually describe as interculturalism of the general type (analogous with wide spectrum antibiotic)?
This trendy interculturalism can be easily recognized as evident, explicit, horizontal, dystopic and, finally, simplified to the limits didactic interculturalism reduced to the appallingly easily recognizable elements taken over from different cultures not for the purpose of their creative exchange between the participants in the process, but for the sake of their shrewd and effective combination (in Barbas words, editing) into a common whole which then becomes more colourful and dynamic and, generally, more suitable for mass consumption!
It is only fair to admit that today we are witnesses of a very interesting paradox: theorizing about theatre intertextuality has become incomparably more productive and more successful than making intercultural theatre productions!
Or perhaps we are wrong? Perhaps we will be closer to the truth if we say that this very interesting paradox was felt by Artaud himself, who was a brilliant but also atypical maker of an almost perfect theatre concept which, precisely because of its perfection, was impossible to achieve in everyday practice. As we know, Artaud did not even try to achieve it.
If this is so, and everyday theatre practice indicates that it is (more or less, with certain exceptions that deserve our respect), what is, then, the object of interest of the numerous performances that are customarily declared as intercultural? Try to recall some of them, some that you have seen and remembered, and then try only vaguely to reconstruct their aesthetics. And then, identify their object of interest.
Let us simplify the question. It will suffice if you try to answer how these productions function, after all. Do they function by theatralizing the samenessses which should be joined with different cultures in an Artaudian manner or (nonetheless!) strive to create harmonious stories that consist of edited pieces based on the differences which make the respective cultures specific and unique? These questions concern those inevitable and natural differences which, because of the fact that all the participants in the act of performing and the audience strictly adhere to them, systematically enrich the intercultural theatrical practice of this type with popular plays whose primary goal is often the propagation of harmonious coexistence and togetherness in harmony.
If you read the last sentence once again, you will easily notice the qualitative change in its terminology. Suddenly and not without reason it seems to cross the line which differentiates and delineates scholarly and political discourse. The categories such as difference, respect, harmony, coexistence, propagation, togetherness are evidently political in their provenance.
Why have they suddenly become part of the theatrological discourse?
Firstly, because politics has become all-present and powerful in an Orwellian manner and as such has permeated (superiorly and relentlessly) all the segments of social life. As one of the most receptive arts of our time, the theatre cannot (even if it wanted to, and it doesnt!) distance itself from politics, nor can it avoid the trends that it imposes.
One such trend, a trend which is at the moment the most trendy of all, is this famed multiculturalism.
The term multiculturalism began to circulate and triumphantly so some thirty years ago when in 1971 the charismatic Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudot promoted it in order to express his pride in the harmonious coexistence practiced in his great country in which members of different ethnic communities who speak different languages and belong to different confessions live happily and in deep mutual respect. Since then, the famed multiculturalism has been promoted as an almost magic formula. Based on high ethical standards such as tolerance and respect for differences, this concept seriously imposed, and continues to do so, the utopian idea that it can work in all circumstances and in every place. The processes of globalization that gained in intensity and were accelerated in the early 1980s understood quite well the potential of the multicultural utopia and began to disseminate it systematically. Today, we can competently speak and write about multiculturalism as the common denominator of all kinds of things: tradition, education, politics, music, literature and, of course, theatre.
When I tried to test the potential of this powerful and clearly trendy phenomenon with the help of the same Internet search engine I have referred to above (Google), it took me two minutes to state the following:
Some three basic concepts/categories which concern certain important aspects of multiculturalism (see: multicultural theatre, multicultural policy, multicultural education), appear on the Web in more than 14,000,000 virtual combinations of all kinds. Yes, fourteen million!
The figure looks so impressive that it automatically cancels the need for any comment or even analysis. This figure leads us directly to the inevitably aporic and ambiguous conclusion: it is indisputable that the famed multiculturalism has become a magic formula, but it is just as indisputable that this formula is too good to be true!
In one of the February issues of the prominent Time Magazine whose cover story was multiculutralism itself, the German politician Angela Merkel felt free to proclaim this trendy phenomenon an experiment which has not succeeded anywhere: in her view, it will never happen.
How does the theatre fit into this trendy phenomenon and does it fit in at all?
Older and therefore more experienced than the other performing media (film, television, the Internet) the theatre has relatively easily joined the multicultural mainstream that was additionally accelerated by the ever more intensified and varied processes of globalization. It was facilitated by its respectable accumulated years of service which, in the form of theoretical and practical experience in theatre interculturalism and theatre anthropology, the great theatre explorers such as Artaud, Brecht, Grotowski, Brook, Barba and Schechner have put into this great story. Thanks to their serious theatre explications of these two phenomena, theatre interculturalism and theatre anthropology, we all learned how to approach the third phenomenon in this specific chain, the trendy phenomenon we have described above, designated with the syntagm multicultural theatre.
What is, in brief, multicultural theatre?
It is a theatre which successfully exists precisely on the basis of the magic formula put forward by Trudot, the formula for the harmonious coexistence of the differences that determine a certain cultural or creative context. Due to the fact that these differences are numerous, final and eternal, they guarantee that they will constantly produce a sufficient quantity of interesting (read: tense) material which will serve for the invention of lively and picturesque stories. The performing potential of such stories, in Barbas words, the potential for permanent editing and re-editing of their basic elements, is practically inexhaustible. Juliet can be a native Indian woman (or Albanian), and Romeo, a cowboy (or Macedonian), and this will do for the production of a commercial multicultural theatre performance. It will be/become commercial due to the fact that it theatralizes the differences (the most literal ones, the most banal, the most stereotypical ones) in order to be able to market a didactic political story about the meaning of order and the meaninglessness of chaos, that is, about the necessity of harmonious coexistence. Theres trendy for you!
I would like you to recall that intercultural poetics worked in a completely opposite direction it explored the samenesses in different cultures and strove to theatralize precisely these elements, believing that the theatre should dig deep into the archetypes (into psychoanalysis, philosophy, anthropology), and not send out political and ideological messages. As befits all serious experiments, all intercultural performances were hermetic, with no traces of any commercialization. Their authors even proclaimed that they dealt with the theatre for the sake of technique/procedure and not the result which such a procedure would yield. In the later years of his career, Grotowski completely abandoned making and presenting his plays and decided to close down his Theatre Laboratory. And continued to search for the samenesses ad infinitum.
Multicultural theatre is something completely opposite. In addition to simplifying to the extreme the problems which were once addressed by the passionate explorers of theatre interculturalism, this type of theatre practice is heavily burdened by the need to constantly talk about and/or propagate certain important ideas or concepts whose impact definitely has no aesthetic value.
Arto, Antonen (...), Pozoriste i njegov dvojnik, prev. ...., Beograd
Barba, Eudenio-Savareze, Nikola (1996), Recnik pozorisne antropologije
Tajna umetnost glumca, prev. A. Jovicevic, I. Vujic, Beograd, Fakultet dramskih umetnosti
Batusic, Nikola (1978), Povijest hrvatskog kazalista, Zagreb, Skolska knjiga
Eco, Umberto (1962), Opera aperta, Milano, Bompiani
Grotovski, Jezi (...), Ka siromasnom pozoristu, prev...., Beograd
Jung, Carl Gustav (1974), Covjek i njegovi simboli, prev. M. Salecic, Zagreb, Mladost
Semprini, Andrea (1999), Multikulturalizam, prev. V. Injac-Malbasa, Beograd, Clio
Todorov, Cvetan (...), Mi i drugi, prev. ..., Beograd....
White, Theodor (...), Nomadism,
Iskra Nikolova: Interculturality and the Theatrical Text
The paper which I am going to present to you today is intended to look at the interface of two theoretical domains: the domain of culture and intercultural communication, and the domain of theatre and the theatre text. Before going any further, I would like to provide a brief explanation of the way in which some key concepts are used in my paper.
As the working title of my paper is Interculturality and the theatre text, I will begin with a few words about the term text. In this paper the term refers not only to written texts, but to the whole set of sign systems and codifying practices which take part in the making up of theatre. This broader meaning of the term is well known and well established, having been analyzed and explored in a number of seminal 20th century works of semiotics, anthropology, theatre and cultural studies.
The other concept which my paper hinges on is the concept of interculturality which, being of a more recent nature, still defies a clear-cut definition. It remains to a certain degree a term in the making.
Interculturality began to be talked about, as we know, with a series of intercultural companies and performances in the 1960s. In the next two decades or so intercultural theatre practices were developed and explored by a number of influential theatre researchers such as Patrice Pavis, Richard Schechner and Eugenio Barba, to mention just a few. Meanwhile some important new developments took place in the field of the humanities e.g. in sociology, cultural studies, linguistics, translation studies, etc. These interdisciplinary developments came to be known as the cultural turn, and marked a shift towards the analysis of meaning, as constructed within different cultural contexts.
The cultural turn has generated a whole range of culture-based terms and concepts such as interculturality, interculturalism, cross-culturalism, transculturalism, multiculturalism, pluriculturalism, syncretism, etc. These terms are often used synonymously and indiscriminately, despite attempts to categorize them and distinguish between them.
I shall not dwell here in detail on the definitions and usage of the above-mentioned terms this is a task that would require much more time and investigation. I would just like to focus on one important aspect of these concepts: speaking in philosophical terms, the distinctions between them have to do with the dichotomous opposition between particular and universal. If we try to visualize an imaginary particular universal scale, then multiculturalism will be associated with the particular end of the scale, as it tends to emphasize the diversity and separateness of different cultures. Transculturalism, on the other hand, would be placed at the universal end, as it involves processes taking place across different cultures, but also it implies the process of transcending, of going beyond specific cultures. And interculturalism, as its very name suggests, focuses on the give-and-take between two or more cultures, on establishing points of contact and interaction. Along with terms like hybridism, syncretism and so on, interculturalism belongs in the middle space, it is often metaphorically described as meeting the Other, as crossing borders and providing bridges between cultures.
This conceptual framework, which at first sight seems to be simple and logical, becomes, of course, more and more complicated as we go from theory to practice, and from general principles to concrete instances of intercultural exchange. What do bridging, border-crossing and meeting the Other mean in a theatre context? Theatre, being a complex sign system, is also a communication system. How are cultural differences to be dealt with in the process of intercultural transfer and communication? Theatre researchers and practitioners give different answers to these questions. In a book written in 1989, the French theatre semiotician Patrice Pavis wrote that cultural differences and different performance conventions could be overcome through universalization of the notion of culture as he puts it, which, according to him suggests a return to the religious and to the mystical, to ritual and ceremony in the theatre. This principle bears certain resemblances to Grotowskis vertical transculturalism (to use Schechners term [Schechner, 2000]), which explores the relationships between archetypal cultural practices and deep individual experiences. In Bulgaria, Prof. Plamen Markov has worked in this direction and has directed some interesting productions based on Bulgarian customs, legends and historical events. The Sfumato Theatre is also well known for its commitment to this deep or vertical type of work maybe most notably so in its production The Black Fleece, which appeared in 2000, and which sought to recreate the mythical and archetypal world of the Karakachans, a former nomadic tribe from the Balkans.
Then there is also the horizontal dimension of interculturalism which, according to Richard Schechner [ibid], is the principle underlying the intercultural theatre of Eugenio Barba. Here the focus is rather on the juxtaposition of contemporary cultures, and the universal is sought in the zones of convergence between the cultures. The dialectic of convergence and divergence, of similarities and differences, is a fascinating and rich field of investigation and experimental practices.
So far I have briefly outlined some aspects of interculturality in terms of looking for the universal, on a vertical or a horizontal level. But there are also doubts and misgivings about universalist assumptions which are sometimes too readily made. Concerns of this nature are voiced, for instance, by the Indian theatre director Rustom Bharucha, who has worked extensively in the field of intercultural performance. In a book which was published in London in 2000, Bharucha remarks that whereas much theoretical work has been done on desiring the Other, relatively little attention has been paid to the somewhat bleaker prospects of being rejected by the Other for very strong social, historical, and political reasons. [Bharucha, 2000: 43] Bharucha warns against the too readily assumed reciprocity of intercultural communication. Instead of sticking rigidly to universal truths and principles, Bharucha prefers to work with an acknowledgement of imperfect knowledge, as he puts it.  This seems to be more realistic, more honest, and more trustworthy.
Bharuchas book is entitled The Politics of Cultural Practice. His title is a reminder that interculturalism, besides reflecting the dialectic between the universal and the particular on a philosophical level, has other, equally important dimensions: it is related to the problems of politics, ideologies and power. Intercultural transfer does not happen in a vacuum; it reflects the asymmetrical power relations, the controversies and tensions between big and small cultures, between Western and non-Western, between the mainstream and the peripheral.
As systems of communication, theatre and theatre texts are not immune to the opposing pressures and problems of intercultural transfer. In what follows I will try to outline some of these problems and their manifestations in the field of theatre.
Let me start, by way of example, with an episode from my practice as theatre translator. I have named it The Black Forest case, or, more precisely, The case of the Black Forest cake. It sounds like something out of Sherlock Holmes, and it does possess, I think, some elements of mystery and detection.
So, the Black Forest case began three years ago, when I translated into English a play by a contemporary Bulgarian playwright. It is important to say here that this play contains a scene in which two of the characters are offered several kinds of cake. One of them is literally called in Bulgarian a cake with Turkish Delight.
Then, I was pleased to learn, my translation was included in an anthology of contemporary Bulgarian plays, which was published in London. When I saw the published translation, I discovered that the English editor had changed the Turkish Delight cake into Black Forest cake. I tried to figure out the reason for this change. I thought maybe Black Forest cake was also prepared with Turkish Delight. I did some research only to find out that it is prepared with cherries and cream and that it is: a wonderful example of the German cooking tradition (I have even downloaded a recipe, it sounds really delicious and I am going to try it out one day; here is a list of the ingredients (Fig. 2), you could have a look at it if you are interested in gourmet food).
OK, so the Turkish Delight ingredient had vanished from the text and was replaced with the (more civilized?) cherries and cream of the (German?) Black Forest cake. Then I thought maybe Turkish Delight was considered by the English editor to sound in some way politically incorrect, triggering off unwelcome associations with controversial issues of ethnic minorities in Bulgaria in the 1980s. But then, there is also the Greek word lokumi (coming from the Turkish lokum) which could have served as an alternative. This word is known and used in Britain (I have some English friends who are big fans of lokumi and ask me to bring along a box each time I visit them).
So, why has the Turkish Delight cake been transformed into a Black Forest cake, after all? The explanation came to me when I went on to compare all cake sorts mentioned in the Bulgarian original, and the English edited edition. I discovered that the hazelnut cake had turned into almond cake; that the strawberry cake had become carrot cake, and that the apricot cake had mutated into cheesecake. As we all know, food is a very culturally rich and culture-bound topic. What the English editor has done, is to domesticate the foreign food, and with it - the English translation of the text. The remote and the unfamiliar were replaced by the domestic and the familiar. Obviously, the German Black Forest cake was considered to be a product successfully integrated into British culinary culture, unlike the remote and exotic Turkish Delight or Lokumi.
This strategy of intercultural transfer is sometimes defined and criticized as ethno-centric. The contemporary translation theorist Lawrence Venuti sees domestication as a key feature of the Anglo-American translation culture, and he criticises the phenomenon of domestication since it involves: an ethno-centric reduction of the foreign text to Anglo-American cultural values. [Venuti, 2000]
Ethno-centricity is a hotly debated issue not only as a matter of linguistic translation, but as a problem of so-called cultural translatability. In political and ideological terms, it is also part of the problematic of post-colonial and Post-Cold War intercultural relations.
To return to Rustom Bharuchas observations on intercultural theatre, ethno-centricity, if not exactly a way of rejecting the Other, could be defined as a way of naturalizing the Other or even assimilating the Other. Criticism of this nature has been leveled, for example, at Peter Brooks Mahabharata, which I personally like very much and find it a fascinating revival of the great Indian epic. But some Indian critics have dubbed it the Readers Digest Mahabharata and have attacked Brook for westernizing and assimilating the Indian masterpiece.
The Mahabharata controversy reflects the tension between the Western and the post-colonial points of view on issues of interculturality. In opposition against the assimilating effects of westernization, the non-European and non-Anglo-Saxon post-colonial cultures have developed their own strategies and ways to strike back. The relationships of cultural domination and dependence have been increasingly questioned, subverted and fought against. An early example of these developments is the so-called cannibalistic theory which was propagated by the Anthropophagista movement in Brazil in the 1920s, and which was revived in the late 20th century by a new generation of Brazilian writers and translators, including the Brazilian poet Haroldo de Campos, who is also the translator of Goethes Faust. The metaphoric description of the intercultural transfer as cannibalization challenges the hierarchy and the boundaries between source and target culture. It involves the appropriation and selective digestion of differences, like cannibals eating the enemies, to incorporate some of their virtues. [Stephanides: 2001]
A similar cannibalistic strategy of appropriation can be found in other post-colonial cultures and authors. A good case in point is the play The Lion and the Jewel by the Nobel-winning Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka. Consider, for instance, the following brief dialogue between two of the characters called Lakunle and Sidi.
Lakunle: A savage custom, barbaric, outdated, rejected, denounced, accursed, excommunicated, archaic, degrading, humiliating, unspeakable, redundant, retroprogressive, remarkable, unpalatable.
Sidi: Is the bag empty? Why did you stop?
Lakunle: I own only the shorter Companion Dictionary, but I have ordered the longer one - you wait! [Wole: 2000: 145]
In this episode the act of appropriation is symbolically expressed through the act of devouring the foreign (Western) dictionary and the words it contains. At the same time, the rhythmical recitation of all those posh foreign words sounds like a parodic imitation of some kind of magic formula. It becomes increasingly ritualistic, thus ironically re-enacting the savage custom mentioned by Lakunle. So, in Lacunles performance the bookish Western words are farcically subverted, sucked in by the non-Western oral tradition and used as building blocks of its own ritualistic practices.
The sucking-in effect, of course, can go both ways and can be employed for different reasons and purposes. In todays global world the so-called mainstream cultures, which are always on the lookout for something new, have developed a kind of vacuum-cleaner syndrome, to paraphrase an expression of the eminent British linguist David Crystal, who used it with regard to the English language and culture. [See: Crystal, 2000: 4] Like some huge vacuum-cleaner the mainstream culture tends to suck in, readily and hungrily, whatever it comes across, from whichever other culture it meets.
It is important to note that the sucking-in effect is not necessarily and not always combined with domestication and assimilation strategies like the ones mentioned above. In fact, the sucking-in process could go hand in hand with another, alternative form of intercultural transfer, which is sometimes defined as the ethno-deviant approach. In contrast to the ethno-centric approach, the ethno-deviant approach strives to preserve and to emphasize the notion of otherness. But for all its openness to the Other, this alternative approach generates it own risks and dangers, especially when it moves in the direction of an excessive foreignizing. By focusing too much on the different, the strange, the peculiar, the ethno-deviant approach tends to create a distorted image of the Other; an image that could be perceived as stereotypical and/or falsely exoticized.
According to my own experience, this is what often happens to us the people and the peoples from the Balkans. Two years ago I took part in an international theatre conference in Western Europe. One day, at a public discussion, I heard several speakers say things like: the exotic country of Bulgaria, an exotic country like Bulgaria, and so on. Then I got up and said: OK, I come from the exotic country of Bulgaria, which made everybody laugh. Actually, the speakers had in no way meant to insult me or my country. Bulgaria was just used as an example of some exotic place. Personally, I do not feel flattered by this image. And I believe that we are now all making efforts to create a new image of the Balkans, or rather a whole new spectrum of images showing the riches and the diversity of our cultures, but going beyond stereotypes and false exoticism. Intercultural theatre could be a good place to start doing this. Yet I think it would be all the more successful if it did possess an awareness of the difficulties and the problems of intercultural communication. Some of these problems have been described here in relation to two opposing tendencies or approaches: the ethno-centric and the ethno-deviant one. Practiced in their extreme forms, both the ethno-centric and the ethno-deviant approach may lead to distortions and misapprehensions. They can either result in the total erasing of difference, as in the case of domesticating or naturalizing, or in the excessive exoticising of the Other, as in the case of foreignizing.
Interculturality is not just a simple act of border-crossing and meeting the Other. Instead of emphasizing the image of the border with its undertones of one-sidedness, loss and disjunction, intercultural theatre could re-define itself as a process of creating some kind of contact zone: a dialogical space of re-negotiation, of multiplicity, and of performative cultural exchange.
Sinisa Jelusic: Theatre, Transculturalism and Archetype
In the beginning, we would like to define more precisely the concepts of culture that are the focus of this text. Bearing in mind the typology proposed by Wolfgang Welsch, [Vels, 2002: 70-89] we would like to emphasize the traditional understanding of culture as a strictly integrated whole (Ruth Benedicts term) which is, in fact, based on Herders notion of culture characterized by two basic determinants. According to the first determinant, culture is always the culture of a nation and is the bloom of its existence. Secondly, as a culture of a nation, every culture must be different and remain separate from the culture of other nations (cf. Platos claim that the Greeks are to barbarians/those who do not speak Greek as masters to slaves). In contrast, multiculturalism is based on different cultures that exist in the same society, and interculturalism, on the inter-relation and inter-cultural dialogue.  Welsch emphasizes that our cultures de facto do not have the assumed form of homogeneity and separateness but, rather, are fundamentally marked by mixing and merging. He calls this new form of cultures transcultural since it goes beyond the traditional concept of culture and quite naturally crosses traditional cultural borders. [Vels, 2002: 70-89] The consequence and sign of such merging is the fact that the same basic problems and states of mind emerge in cultures that were once perceived as fundamentally different. Transculturalism can be fully defined by Nietszches view of the subject as multitude. In addition, he was strongly opposed to all attempts at returning to the nationalism of the herd and dependence on fatherland and soil, emphasizing that the true value and meaning of modern culture lie in mutual fusion and fertilization. However, strictly speaking, Welsch makes a distinction between modern and past cultures. [Ibid.]
The concept of cosmopolitan alternative promoted by Jeremy Waldron [1955: 93-123 ] runs along the same lines as Welschs concept of transculturalism. Waldrons understanding of human identity is based on the openness and variety of a cosmopolitan way of life which holds the key to the understanding of character and creativity in the changing of the world. In analogy to the idea of transculturalism, the vision of a cosmopolitan self can provide the basis for an alternative way of thinking, a way which supports the aspects of modernity with which we all must live and which welcomes the variety and kind of mixing that are the fate of the majority of people. [Waldron, 1955]
In view of these clearly plausible claims, the following question can be raised: to what extent can such concepts of culture be applied in the theatre, especially in the area that is currently exceptionally relevant, and that is the issue of the relation between theatre and interculturalism.
It could be claimed that the theatre as such is always intercultural since it includes the relation between the performance and the audience, as well as the very constituents of the performative act, i.e., the director, the actors, the stage designers, the text, the production, etc. In this sense, as Gabriele Pfeiffer puts it, theatre is by definition a confrontation between heterogeneous elements. She also claims that the ideal intracultural theatre would be a fusion of at least two theatre forms to create a completely new form in which advantage and disadvantage are no longer significant and in which one consciously works with the differences and does not simply set them in juxtaposition without further motivation Theatre is unthinkable without a comunicative relation between author and director, director and actor, actor and spectator, text and production, etc. The heterogenous character of systems of meaning, codes and subjects is the very essence of theatre and becomes more complex in an intracultural context. Theatre offers, anyway, the best opprtunity to work efficiently in such a context and extends to incorporating the cultural background of each participant. [http://www.inst.at/studies/s_0603_e.htm]
This view problematizes the strict application of the aforementioned, traditional type of culture usually linked with Herder. Certain other phenomena of contemoporary theatre are especially interesting, particularly those in which transculturalism is manifested as as a new type of difference. This difference concerns varied cultures and ways of life in which everything is born from transcultural fusion and possesses transcultural properties. Contemporary theatre is the best illustration of this characteristic of the modern world: differences no longer exist between strictly delineated cultures now, differences exist between transcultural networks. Such processes characteristic of contemporary theatre can be also found in modern types of culture where the mechanisms of differentiation are no longer linked with geographic and national determinantsm but follow processes of purely inter-cultural exchange.
The reception of Chekhovs plays in Iran or Japan is an especially characteristic instance which illustrates quite vividly this type of exchange. The results of Bahram Zeynalis research (University of Teheran) that he presented at an international conference held on the occasion of the centennial of Chekhovs death show that the translation and performance of Chekhovs plays in sounded fairly unsuited, and therefore his symbolism was complemented with that of the complex Persian system. In this case, the highly metaphorical nature of the Persian language is particularly important, since it contributes to the creation of new semantic forms that complement the original text. It should also be noted that the translation and performance of Chekhovs plays had a decisive role in the formation and development of prose and drama in Iran in the early 20th century. The same can be said about African symbolism in his plays and their performance in Japan, China or Korea. Hence, here we have instances of cultural interaction characteristic of modern culture in general. A similar phenomenon can be found in a number of other cases, but the encounter of traditional Japanese theatre and Shakespearean drama deserves special mention (see also: East Meets West/West Meets East: A Japanese Comedy of Errors; Chinese Shakespeares: A Multimedia Experience, Chinese Tragedy / Shakespearean Tragedy; post-colonial Indian adaptations, etc.) Other examples include Shakespeare and Chinese Theater: Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth by David Jiang, which focuses on the adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing as a Chinese opera form and Shakespeare a la Kyogen or Kyogen a la Shakespeare? by Ryuta Minami, where the author poses the following fundamental question: what happens when a Shakespearean comedy meets traditional Japanese theatre? [http://sia.stanford.edu/schedule.html]
It is evident that here we have at work transcultural mechanisms that comprehensively problematize the model of traditional culture proposed by Ruth Benedict.
It is also undoubted that this model was highly characteristic of ancient Greek culture which was especially distinguished by its great achievements in philosophy, the visual arts and tragedy from other cultures, such as Egyptian, Persian, etc. This fact does not exclude the existence of inspiring intercultural links between Greek and other cultures, especially those with Egypt, which Plato praises. However, the characteristically Greek specific features were emphasized at all times: Greek culture always transformed the possible influences and gave them its own characteristic mark.
This concurs with the belief that the Greek theatre is based on a closed semantic system which derives from myth. It is based on the relations between determination and freedom, violation of the cyclic nature of the cosmic order and transcendental logos inaccessible to man to which the gods themselves are subject. The Greek term heimarmene has approximately the same meaning and refers to that which is given to every man as destiny, that which determines what will happen to a newborn; moira designates a part (moira biou = part of life), that which is assigned to every individual as his/her lifespan. [Pavlovic, 1997: 203-204] It appears that the concept of freedom/the free individual as it is perceived today on the basis of Christian theological principles was perfectly alien to the Hellenic spirit. That which is allotted to every man from birth is primarily a tragic flaw (hamartia), the basic trait of mans overall existence. This unalterable predetermination has been defined in general terms by Albin Leski; in his definition, a connection is established between action, guilt and knowledge: By acting man becomes guilty, every guilt results in punishment through suffering and suffering leads man to knowledge of things. This is the divine path through this world as Aeschylus saw it. [Leski, 1995: 19]
In this context, Sophocles Oedipus Rex is especially characteristic. Oedipus guilt originates primarily from pre-existent sin (the theomachian guilt of the ancestors); he cannot avoid the suffering that fate punishes him with although, and it is no accident, he is the wisest of all Greeks. Greek drama (Oedipus Rex, for instance) was shaped after the model of the closed type of culture with all its major meanings. However, it is undoubted that, like Antigone, Oedipus Rex has remained relevant and that its reception has been, as a rule, intercultural. Platos vision of the strictly closed type of Greek culture presents no obstacle to the reception of these plays/performances in cultures completely different from the Hellenic. In short, such a relation is possible if the point of departure is anthropological transculturalism.
Jungs analytic psychology speaks of the collective subconscious which consists of archetypes that cannot be individual or specific. He says that there are clusters of content which are of completely unknown origin or such that cannot be ascribed to individual experience. Their content is characterized by still unclarified specific features that are, in fact, mythological in nature. This content does not seem to belong to any pattern that would be characteristic of any individual mind or person as an entity (or to humankind as a whole.) [Jung, 2002: 46] In his research, Jung proved that archetypal images are not related to blood lines or racial heritage, nor are they something an individual acquires. The word archetype means typos (that which is impressed) and refers to specific clusters of content archaic in nature that, in terms of form and meaning, correspond to mythological motifs. In their pure form, mythological motifs appear in fairy tales, myths, legends and folklore. Archetypes are layers of human experience that is constantly repeated; it is a state of always being prepared to reproduce again the same or similar mythical images. In this sense, an archetype is an empty and formal element, nothing but facultas praeformandi, an a priori possibility of constructing an image. [Hark, 1988: 21-22] Hence, Jungs fundamental conclusion that such images, strictly speaking, belong to humanity as a whole and are therefore collective in nature; [Ibid.] in other words to use the terminology of the theory of culture archetypal images are transcultural.
If the drama/theatre concretizes the deepest levels of psyche inaccessible to the conscious I which appear in the symbolic layer as archetypal, i.e., as transcultural and trans-individual (Freud, after all, convincingly demonstrated it by proving the thesis of the existence of the Oedipus complex in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare's Hamlet, although his teaching differs from that of Jung), then Hellenic theatre, regardless of the fact that it belongs to a culture significantly different from the modern, was, in the psychological sense of the word, of necessity also transcultural. Moreover, beyond the concept of the Oedipus complex, the symbolic meaning of the Hellenic myth is customarily manifested as collective/transcultural. Thus, for instance, the well-known motif of nekyia is encountered in the overal Antique culture and, practically, worldwide. It expresses the psychological mechanism of the introversion of the conscious mind to the deeper levels of the subconscious psyche. It is from these levels that contents of an impersonal and mythological nature (archetypes) originate and therefore we refer to them as the impersonal or collective subconscious. [Jung, 2002: 47] This is due to the fact that the deep archetypal level of symbolic meaning in a play from the Hellenic period is always identical to such deep levels in the modern reader/audience. Hence, an experienced explorer of the spirit can also discern similarities between the dream images of modern man and the products of the primitive spirit, its 'collective' images and mythological motifs. [Jung, 1973: 67]
One of the characteristic models of theatre in which the transcultural anthropological identity is shaped is, without doubt, the concept of the French avant-garde author Antonin Artaud. According to Artaud, authentic existence cannot be found in the view of life in which external facts are confirmed. In other words, in positive terms, authentic existence perceives life as a kind of fragile and lively focus not concerned with form. Obviously, the definition of life with terms such as external facts and form is indicative of a negative approach to this concept and of the possibility of differentiation between two basic ways in which life can be represented. It is evident that inauthentic existence/being belongs to the external (the formal/the form) which is established as false; it is superseded by living the essence which cannot be discerned within the external. Hence Artaud always sees as hellish and truly cursed the fact that, in artistic terms, we always dwell on form, instead of behaving like martyrs, who cross themselves as they are being burnt at the stake.
Artauds claim that the theatre was born from the need to allow our suppressed passions to emerge into the light of day is in the same vein. According to him, this process takes place as a kind of horrific poetry manifested through strange actions which distort the facts of life, thus showing that the force of life remains intact and that it would suffice if we only redirected it. [Ibid.]
These views reflect Artauds protest against the senseless narrowing of the concept of culture. It is a protest against the divided concept of culture as something that belongs to one area, and life to another: as if genuine culture were not the most perfect means of understanding and replenishing life. [Ibid.]
The return to the ritual theatre means establishing a kind of meta-culture: man has successfully eliminated magic from his life because he has observed the acts of a play and is, therefore, lost in the contemplation of its invented forms; instead, the force of the acts of life should be the force that stirs him to action and liberates him as a person. Moreover, the wild totemism of barbaric cultures becomes, in a perfectly precise manner, the necessary element which makes a culture genuine Totemism is a participant because it moves and it was made for the participants in the first place, and every genuine culture relies on the barbaric and primitive means of totemism whose wild, i.e., perfectly spontaneous, life I want to celebrate. Thus we reach a world which is in a state of perpetual delight. And, in order to achieve such intensity of reality, it is truly necessary to destroy language in order to touch life, which means to create or re-create theatre A theatre which is not bound to language and forms [Ibid.]
Artaud presents an analogous thesis in his renowned study on Balinese theatre. He formulates his most important view in the very first sentence: Balinese theatre, based on dance, song and music, and very little on psychological theatre in the European sense, places the theatre on the level of autonomous and pure creation perceived from the perspective of hallucination and fear The Balinese people embody with perfect strictness the idea of pure theatre in which everything, both the concept and the performance, has its worth and exists only as it is objectivized on the stage. They triumphantly prove the absolute superior power of the director whose creativity excludes words. [Ibid.] In his East and West Theatre, Artaud makes a distinction between physical and verbal theatre, a concept in which the theatre is contained within the boundaries of everything that can take place on the stage regardless of the written text, as opposed to the kind of theatre perceived by the West, which is partly bound to the text and limited by it.
The antithesis between the psychological theatre in the European sense and the autonomous theatre which excludes words and is based on two mental states, hallucination and fear, is obvious. What does this imply and what does it purport? In essence, it is clear that the psychological meaning of the European theatre relies on statements which consist of concepts that are to be decoded only later. It is obvious that these concepts are given their expression through syntagmatic units which consist of words (in a performance, these words are pronounced/uttered). Artaud believes that through this process, which is based on the mediating function of words, one departs from the essence of the being/existence precisely because the possibility of expression through words is limited. It is interesting to note that Artauds views coincide with Eugene Ionescos claim that words have become shells/sound illusions devoid of meaning, characters have also been emptied of psychology and I suddenly saw the world in a strange light, perhaps its true light, outside interpretation and volatile certainty. [Jonesko, 1997: 102]
Despite this, the idea of the superiority of words in the theatre still dominates in the European theatre which, strictly speaking, is merely a material reflection of the text and everything that is beyond it, it is not contained within its limits nor is it strictly conditioned by it; it belongs, in our opinion, to the domain of directing which stands lower on the scale than the text. In other words, in the European understanding of the theatre, the word becomes hypostatic and there are no possibilities outside it; hence, the theatre is seen as a branch of literature and not an autonomous art causa sui.
On the other hand, we have two psychological concepts, hallucination and fear, whose meaning in relation to other concepts is given special importance. According to Jung, in states of hallucination, which are linked to states of mass hysteria or, more specifically, possession, the conscious mind and sensory functions seem to disappear. Thus, for instance, on Bali, the fierce sword dance causes the performer to fall in a trance, and sometimes the protagonists even turn their weapon on themselves. This state of possession means that God or a demon has possessed the performers body. Jung illustrates this by quoting the examples of a Haiti woman who literally lost consciousness during her religious excitement/hallucination and Haitians obsessed by the deity Gheda who is always shown cross-legged, with a cigarette in his mouth. Jung also notes that rock-and-roll provokes, as it seems, almost equal excitement in the dancers. [Jung, 1973: 34-5]
Therefore, we can rightly conclude that Artaud insists on a theatre based on an identical primitive ritual, since the archetypal, pre-logic and primitive spirit does reside in a complex psychological and, above all, subconscious structure of the Western man. Hence, the basic function of Artauds concept of the theatre lies in its foundation on primitive theatre, because he believes that the archetypal, pre-logic and primitive spirit still lives in the unconscious being of Western man. [Selenic, 2002: 257]
In this context, we should also point to Artauds approach to the art of acting which can, at first sight and in relation to his basic attitude, appear paradoxical. Despite his upholding of states of hallucination in which authentic being/existence is manifested as immediately archetypal, Artaud points to the rational aspect of acting as especially valuable, since in it nothing is left to chance or personal initiative. This is a kind of perfect game in which the performers are primarily actors. This paradox becomes more complex in the definition of the Balinese theatre where everything is defined and impersonal; there is no muscle or eye movement which does not belong to a sort of mathematical calculation that leads everything and through which everything is processed. [Ibid.] The archetypal and the hallucination as loss of consciousness/possession now emerge as a form of mathematical calculation. Should these concepts be a priori excluded or does, perhaps, a meaningful connection between them exist?
Despite the danger of excessive generalization, it could be claimed that the example of Artaud's theatrical poetics clearly proves the thesis derived from Jung's principle of analytical psychology, that the deep archetypal level of the symbolic meaning of the dramatic text is unalterably identical with the deep mental levels of the modern reader/ audience.
In other words, this means that the thesis which claims that, at its fundamental level, the theatre is always metacultural or, in more radical terms, cosmopolitan, remains tenable.
Arto, Antonen Pozoriste i kultura, in Pozoriste i njegov dvojnik. Novi Sad: Prometej.
Arto, Antonen O balijskom pozoristu, op.cit., pp. 81-96.
D Amico, Silvio (1976) Storia del Teatro drammatico. Milano: Garzanti.
Hark, Helmut (1988) Leksikon osnovnih Jungovih pojmova. Beograd: Dereta, 1988.
Jonesko, Ezen (1997) Pozoriste: sabrana dela. Beograd: Paideia.
Jung, Karl Gustav (2002) Analiticka psihologija. Beograd: Zavod za udzbenike i nastavna sredstva.
Jung, Karl Gustav (1973) Covjek i njegovi simboli. Zagreb: Mladost.
Kymlicka, Will (1995) Multicultural Citizenship. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Leski, Albin (1995) Grcka tragedija, Novi Sad: Svetovi.
Pavlovic, Branko (1997) Filozofski recnik, Beograd: Plato.
Selenic, Slobodan (2002) Antonen Arto, in Dramski pravci XX veka, Beograd: Fakultet dramskih umetnosti.
Vels, Volfgang (2002) Transkulturalnost: forma danasnjih kultura koja se menja, Kultura 102: 70-89.
Waldron, Jeremy (1955) The Rights of Minority Cultures, pp. 93-123 in Will Kymlicka, New York: Oxford University Press.
(2004) Signs of the World: Interculturality and Globalization (8th AIS/IASS Congerss, Universite Lyon 2, Lyon 7th 12th July 2004)
http://www.inst.at/studies/s_0603_e.htm: Pfaiffer, Gabriele From affirmations of interculturality in theatre to a transcultural form of theatre [The Arts and Globalisation].
Nada Petkovska: Multiculturalism in the Theatre: Between Aesthetics and Politics
The theatre, by its very nature, is a unique cultural system, a site where numerous disciplines and cultures come into contact. The last decades of the 20th century were characterized by an emphatic reactualisation of interculturalism, multimediality and multiculturalism in the theatre.
In his study on intercultural communications, C. Giordano remarks: It is a fact that, today, we refer more and more often to a multicultural society, i.e., to muticulture and interculture, as well as to (last but not least) intercultural communication. The theme of the encounter and understanding between individuals and groups perceived as bearers of foreign and, hence, opposite values and identities, has been replaced by the rigid schemes of economically conditioned class oppositions (Giordano, 2001: 7).
According to Giordano, this approach is not new, since cultural anthropology that was American in provenance was promoted as early as before the war, at least to some extent and in its early stages.
As for the current tendencies, Giordano believes that it is not erroneous to describe such tendencies within a scholarly, theoretical and terminological matrix comprised by aculturation in the sense of cultural contact and intercultural communication; in this context, he offers the following definition: Aculturation comprises those phenomena that occur when groups or individuals that belong to different cultures come into direct contact, with subsequent changes in the original cultural pattern in one of the groups or in both. ( ) The cultural contact must be observed as a permanent process of interaction between groups from different cultures (Giordano, 2001: 8).
In Giordanos view, the majority of authors who are concerned with this issue start from the implicit assumption that aculturation, cultural contact, intercultural communication, etc. consist of interactive processes that take place between equal partners. The description of the contact situations and communication processes is based on the assumption that the cultures involved in such processes hold equal positions. However, the manner in which disparity is shaped is rarely its subject matter; this, as a rule, leads to the establishment of ethno-cultural hierarchies that involve a certain degree of ranking, although history and ethnology show that in every society collective images are marked by evident ethnocentrism. This means that our own images are always characterized by positive connotation, while the image of the others, i.e., foreigners, almost without exception involves the stigmatization of the other (Giordano, 2001: 9).
It is well know that intercultural relations in the western world consist of stereotypes that serve to document ones own superiority. In Giordanos view, the Germans and the Polish, the French and the English, the Spanish and the Portuguese, the Serbs and the Croats, etc., always feel, within these relations, they are a better kind of people.
However, this is not the case only in Europe, but also in societies from distant regions customarily defined as primitive, irrational and pre-logical. Members of a clan or ethnicum always strive to emphasize their own socio-cultural superiority over their neighbours, stressing that they are special people or real people (for instance, the Bantu tribe in Africa, etc.).
In this context, as Giordano puts it, Claude Levi-Strauss is right when he says that ethnocentrism in intercultural relations is one of the basic constants in collective images of every society, which also includes the fashionable fascination with all that is foreign and exotic, and which is simply inconceivable without a certain amount of xenophobia (Giordano, 2001: 10).
These processes of aculturation reveal that there are hegemonic and subjected cultures which stand in an ambivalent and even antagonistic relation and whose relationship is never one of harmonious tension. A number of scholars link the cultural contact with the phenomenon of superimposing and subjection.
Hence, the problem of cultural conflict and the fear of touching which have been studied by researchers into the field of cultural contact and aculturation as a unique pathological condition, that is, as a process harmful to the society and which should therefore be avoided.
In other words, this means that intercultural misunderstanding occurs when members of two different cultures interpret the contact situation/the situation of interaction in different and opposite ways and, consequently, act differently. The participants come from two different worlds that have a different historical experience and do not share any common subjectively understood meaning, and therefore operate with two mechanisms of decoding that can hardly be united. That is to say, intercultural misunderstanding occurs when members of two different cultures interpret the contact/interactive situation differently because they come from two different worlds defined by different historic experience.
Claude Levi-Strausss famous metaphor which he uses in his comparison of myths and rituals as unique acts of communication with the musical communication in an orchestra can also be applied to the phenomenon of intercultural communication. In such a case, it can be rephrased in the following manner: the participants in a cultural contact can be compared to musicians in an orchestra who play their music from very different scores, thus producing unusual and unexpected dissonance. This dissonance occurs because the scores follow the rules of different cultural grammars. Thus the misunderstanding occurs due to the intercultural dissonances caused by divergent cultural grammars.
Hence, in contrast to the interpretation of numerous ethnic, anthropological and sociological theories, the processes of intercultural communication, as a rule, do not represent any harmonious or melodious process that takes place between the sender and the receiver. The differences in language, values, norms, cultural patterns, actions and social environment do not allow, after all, the use of the metaphor of a large, perfectly harmonious symphony orchestra. In this context, intercultural and multicultural misunderstanding are the constituent elements of the socio-cultural change in every social formation which co-participates/coacts with other, foreign/alien formations.
In recent years, however, an anthropology of the encounter with the other or the foreign has emerged. As a consequence, an ever growing role is attributed to understanding and self-reflection. The understanding of other cultures, despite certain difficulties, is, in principle, possible with the application of specific methodological instruments of ethno-anthropology.
According to Giordano, when one thinks of multiculturality or multiculturalism then this concept, regardless of how one perceives it, is immediately linked with the vision of Babylon as it is proposed by Daniel Cohn Bendit. In contrast to all those visions of Babylon which present an image of total confusion, chaos, disorder, moral corruption, etc., Cohn Bendits allegory points to an aesthetics of fusion which stylizes that which is a priori beautiful and enriching in the other. It poetizes the tranquil and merry ethno-performances with colourful ethno-shops, ethno-food and passionate music, performances that take place in hybrid, i.e., Creole ethnic spaces, that is, ethnically heterogeneous sites (squares, streets, suburbs, etc.) (Giordano, 2001: 141).
However, in such a process, it can be erroneously concluded that multicultural co-existence is simple and without problems. One gets the impression that it relies on spontaneity and on the voluntary nature of the conditio humana. In any case, such a co-existence is merely a vision of the multicultural society that is folklorized, Orientalized, i.e., made exotic a vision of a multicultural idyll created by advertising, the media, intellectuals, ethnologists, including, of course, politicians. An understanding, concepts and visions of this kind postulate multiculturalism from below, and this allegedly takes place with only a minor intervention from above.
Multiculturalism is a complex social phenomenon always accompanied by differences and disparities which, in turn, cause tension and conflict between respective communities in a society. Hence, bearing in mind different historical circumstances, the deeply rooted traditions and the political culture of certain societies, the search for a general theory of multiculturalism proves completely illusory. According to Giordano, the comparison of different policies of multiculturalism and different forms of co-existence between certain groups is much more acceptable.
The issue of multiculturalism that is so relevant today is especially interesting from the point of view of the theatre, where all the dilemmas described above are reflected in a specific way.
In his famous study The Idea of a Theatre, F. Fergusson emphasizes that the theatre of a country/nation is (and should be) built on its own roots and its own literature, as was the case in ancient Greece or Renaissance England. However, in contrast to the time of Sophocles or Shakespeare, when the theatre was the focus and the centre of community life and was the embodiment of the complementary knowledge that came from the overall culture (these theatres emerged as specific products of specific communities) today, according to Fergusson, we do not have this type of theatre. He concludes that the reason why the modern concept of the theatre is unsatisfactory is not the lack of art, but that art today, in abstract terms, does not provide that which we instinctively expect from it. Today, there is no theatre in the classical sense of the word theatre as the stage of human life and according to Fergusson, the theatre can flourish only on a stage/in a theatre made to human measure. By using the frequently exploited metaphor of the theatre as a mirror which reflects life and the world, Fergusson concludes that this great mirror of life, following an over-long period of disintegration of the world, has itself broken into pieces. In the 20th century, the director became the one called upon to pick up these broken pieces and arrange them in a particular order. And, since there is no universal theatrical model that would be applicable to all stylistic turbulences and in harmony with all national theatrical traditions, this process of piecing together is neither uniform nor relaxed, nor does it lead only in one direction. In Senkers view, the history of the theatre records as many specific mirrors as there have been exceptional and original concepts among theatre directors (Senker, 1984).
Regardless of the numerous stylistic and methodological differences that have often led to the breaking of the mirrors that have been pieced together, and despite the re-assembling of the broken pieces, the tendency towards fusion, i.e., the achievement of conceptual and stylistic unification of all the elements of a theatrical work of art can, without doubt, be identified as the most important constant of the so-called directors theatre in general, from the Meiningers to modern theatrical laboratories and research centres. The purpose of such disassembling of existing theatrical models does not involve the destruction of all links between the elements of a theatrical performance, but the breaking and severing of old ties in order to replace them with new and stronger ones.
One of the most significant searchers for this new kind of theatre in the 20th century, Antonin Artaud, wrote in 1933 that we live in an anxious and catastrophic period in which man is alienated from nature, from life and from the primordial life forces that are inherent in all forms and which cannot be generated merely by their contemplation for their own sake, but only by our identification with them through magic rituals (Senker, 1984: 231). The alienation from nature and the severing of close and direct ties with life forces, which means alienation from ones own being, would not be of such great concern if man had not completely forgotten the existence of such forces because he has been separated from them for centuries by false culture and false art. Artaud also speaks of western culture and its devastating influence which is the result of an excessive respect for everything that has been written, formulated and painted, that has acquired form, as if all forms of expression have not been exhausted, as if it the point has not been reached at which all has to be broken in order to be repaired and put together again.
In Artauds view, western culture is dying and, instead of trying to save it, the artists should contribute to its fast disintegration and build on its ruins a genuine and effectual culture. The theatre is called upon to destroy the old culture and create a new one which will work through exaltation and power and which will help us to rediscover life. According to Artaud, it was the theatre which succeeded in saving at least a part of the magical ritual forces that he saw captured in the rituals and masks of native Africans, in the costumes, music and movements of Balinese dancers and in Mexican sculptures, buildings and myths. In his opinion, such power should be encompassed by every authentic, effective, well-conceived and living culture.
The western theatre, however, will not be able to perform this task until it has completely changed, because it has forgotten its objective, it has become alienated, dialogical, psychological, moralizing and Racine-like; in other words, in it the word has suppressed other, essential theatrical means of expression.
This is the source of Artauds famous concept of the Theatre of Cruelty, a theatre cruel like the plague, a theatre that smashes everything in its way, all social conventions, values and institutions. This theatre should have a healing effect and stir people to take off their masks and expose the real power in them. It is always emphasized that Artaud had a clear vision of the kind of theatre he wanted but never knew how to achieve it in practice; today it is clear that he failed to create a theatre in which his visions would be accomplished. Nevertheless, his imaginary Theatre of Cruelty is an important part of the European theatrical heritage, which is very much alive and has been an inspiration for numerous theatrical experiments, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite the fact that many of his solutions have not been adequately applied, it is true that a great number of the questions he raised remain relevant, above all, the question concerning the understanding of the theatre as a ritual in which there is no division between performers and audience, the issue of commitment and the concept of a theatre in which a feeling of togetherness prevails and stirs the human spirit. Naturally, his essential concept remains the idea that such a theatre can be created on the basis of experiences from other cultures (Bali, Mexico) in which the theatre is still a living ritual form with numerous forms of expression, which all the participants understand and with which they identify.
Most of the revolutionary tendencies of the 20th century theatre are based on these postulates and views which different directors have applied in different ways; they share, however, a common ground they have all looked to other cultures, above all those in which old ritual forms survive (Brecht, late Grotowsky, Schechner, Barba, Brook, Mnushkin).
This is also the source of the key idea which emerges as the guiding force of Post Modernism (and not only it) of which R. Schechner speaks in his study Towards a Post Modern Theatre: there is no such thing as pure culture, more specifically, no culture exists in and of itself. The overlapping, the borrowing and mutual influences always make a conglomerate of every culture, a hybrid and a palimpsests, to such an extent that we cannot speak of a culture, but only of cultures. Hence, his conclusion which is of fundamental importance: I uphold a dialectical relation between originality and tradition. And in our culture many kinds of originality and many traditions (Schechner, 1992: XXV). In other words, he concludes that the processes of renewal/rebirth of the modern theatre are based on the exploitation of other, foreign cultures. Through his work, he made visible all the differences and similarities between cultures. Hence, his belief that the future of our world does not lie in a multiculturalism that consists of autonomous and different national entities between which a distinction must be made as to which is the dominant one, but in interculturalism and mutual cooperation which, by using the benefits of every nation, create a new and comprehensive work of art.
Schechner is also important in his view that there are obvious similarities in the structure and even in the exterior details in the work of Euro-American artists and that of traditional Asian, African and other tribal societies; he also claims that there are similarities in the pure, bilateral exchange of ritual performing techniques and methods of training between the cultures of the first, second and third worlds. If there is a connection between the economic and political systems of the world, then there is also such a connection between intercultural symbolic systems (Schechner, 1992).
Speaking together with Micheline Rozan of his experience at the International Centre for Theatrical Research in Paris in 1970, Peter Brook, too, emphasized that they faced difficulties in the theatre of the period in their attempt to re-explore it through a new kind of structure. This resulted in the establishment of the International Research Centre which gathered actors from all over the world. The Centre was a place where various cultures could meet. It was also a sort of a nomad that led its mixed groups on long trips in order to interact with people who had never been in touch with a regular theatrical tour. Our first principle was, we decided, to create culture in the way in which milk becomes yoghurt our purpose was to create a core of actors who could later pass on the ferment to any wider group that they worked with. In this way, we hoped, the specific environment that we created for a small group of people could finally infiltrate the mainstream (Brook, 2003: 140).
Brook says that in the beginning of their work with this international group, those from the outside who were interested in their work believed that it was an attempt at synthesis and that every member would show their skills and that, in fact, it would be an exchange of techniques. However, he emphasizes that no synthesis based on technique exchange was desirable or possible. We searched for that which gives culture its life, not only by studying the culture itself, but also that which is behind it. In order to do this, the actor must make an effort to step out of his culture and above all, out of his stereotypes Our first task was to try to put an end to the moulds, without reducing anyone to neutral anonymity ( ) If this microcosm of people is capable of creating together, then the object that is being created can be accepted by others in different ways. Our objective in the theatre is to search for something that touches people like music When I started to build this international group, I tried to return to the basic principle which always accompanies the founding of a theatrical company: if it is to be the mirror of the world, then it must be composed of many different elements (Brook, 2003: 141).
Brooks view that we all have our Africa is also very important in the exploration of the essence of the multicultural theatre. In his opinion, it means that man is more than the sum of what he is defined by his culture; cultural habits go much deeper that the clothes the individual is wearing. In other words, every culture expresses a different part of its inner map: the total truth of humankind is all-encompassing, and the theatre is the place where the pieces of the puzzle can be put together (Brook, 2003: 169).
P. Pavis, the famous theatre semiologist who has a highly developed sense of variety in the contemporary theatre makes an overview of modern theatre studies (Pavis, 2000) and concludes that the theatre today can/should be observed and explored as a site of the encounter of different art forms within the performance/representation: it is inter-artistic from the point of view of its intermedial character, but it is also a cultural performance from the aspect of its interculturalism.
He claims that the cultural studies that originated from Britain and the USA multiplied the subjects and domains of exploration, while the interdisciplinarity (that reached its peak in the 1960s and 1970s) globalized the disciplines that take into consideration the largest number of aspects of the phenomenon of the theatre. More than certain exterior theatrical disciplines, interdisciplinarity is a critical confrontation (a critical theory, as Americans put it) of different methods and theories of the social sciences. All these disciplines from the domain of the humanities do not appropriate the theatre, there is no rivalry between them, they shed more or less light on some of the aspects of its functioning. Yet this great wealth of disciplines, methods and theories is not harmless if it is applied indiscriminately and without a clear objective.
Pavis believes that now is the time for a redefinition of the last decades of the 20th century in order to examine the changes in the essential epistemological paradigms of the study of the theatre that have accompanied the fundamental changes in theatrical art. According to Pavis, the situation can be surveyed in the following manner:
1958-68: a logocentric concept of the theatre (despite the influence of Brechtian dramaturgy);
1968-78: the beginning of a new theatre semiology and insisting on theatre discourse and intertextuality;
1978-88: deconstruction and performance under the influence of American Post Structuralist theory, the source of interart;
1988-98: theatre anthropology (Schechner and Barba), spectacle practice and intertextuality;
1998-2008: according to Paviss optimistic prediction, this decade will be a re-historization of previous explorations and practices.
This survey shows that in the last two decades of the 20th century (1978-98) the age of theatre discourse was followed by intercultural theatre.
Interculturalism and cultural studies accented the diversity of spectacle and cultures, while interculturalism itself emphasized the openness of the texts and the spectacles to the intertwining of cultures. The infiltration of interculturalism into all domains of social and artistic life grew stronger during the 1990s. However, interculturalsim, according to Pavis, did not become a new epistemology in and of itself. Multicultural and intercultural norms and the concept of alterity may have redirected and modified our idea of the theatre and its analysis, they may have helped us in finding a cure for the pervading ethnocentrism; however, they have not given us a key that will fit all theatrical productions. Performance studies and cultural studies, ethno-sociology, the application of all aspects of the concept of theatrality, have bared epistemological thought in favour of a comprehensive extensiveness and the declaration of the birth of a new discipline, firm in the belief that extensiveness will suffice in the attempt to achieve a satsfactory methodological foundation. This means that, although many studies have been published in the field of performance, a more specific methodology and theory of this kind of practice and a vast number of specimens of such practice and spectacles has not yet emerged. Pavis concludes that, for the understanding of this kind of pehomenon, decrees - like those of a Schechner, who says that the new paradigm is the performance, not the theatre or that theatre buildings will become buildings for performances - will not suffice. Is it enough to establish performance studios or to declare ethnoscenology as a wonderful discipline in order to give a scholarly interpretation of such cultural productions? The transformation of drama studios into performance studios will not solve the problem of the multicultural theatre, since we first have to establish that there is an epistemological gap between the western theatre and non-European performances, i.e., that real differences do exist between them; thus, one of the tasks of such a theatre will be to learn how to emphasize both the similarities and the differences. Ethno-plays, performances and intercultural spectacles should not be experienced only as interesting events for the blase citizens of the western world. Therefore, Pavis proposes a unique intercultural and methodological journey through our western tradition and a quick glance at our history that will make possible a better reading of the texts, a better reconstruction of past performances and familiarization with the mentality that shaped the texts, the spectacles and their reception. Such an intercultural revision requires, as Pavis puts it, rigorousness in our descriptions, explication of our ideas in intercultural debates and distancing ourselves from political debates about the multicultural society and the theory/practice of the intercultural and multicultural theatre. This is so because, when we speak of inter- or multicultural theatre, we speak of an aesthetic production, of forms and materials contained in a number of cultural traditions, and not of groups or peoples in contact with a specific policy of integration or right to difference (Pavis, 2000: 469). At this point we should also draw attention to his often quoted comment that interculturalism has become a new slogan for the politicians, a useful means to by-pass social and economic debates with the affirmation of the right to difference, while emphasizing inequality, phantasms and nationalism.
As these issues indicate, the emergence and the existence of the multicultural, that is, intercultural theatre, and especially its scholarly study, is a highly complex process since, as we have already said, not all productions which depict, primarily from the aspect of subject-matter, the cultural gap or co-existence should be labelled as multicultural theatre/performance; in other words, all occasional ethno-events and their respective adiences should not be defined as multicultural theatre. Multiculturalism in the theatre should be studied as a phenomenon which generates deep and essential changes in its very structure, in the concept of the theatre as such. Hence, the emphatic opposition between the purely aesthetic and the political interpretations of a highly relevent phenomenon.
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Áðóê, Ïèòåð (2003) Òî÷êà íà ïðåñâðò (40 ãîäèíè òåàòàðñêî èñòðàæóâàå: 1946-1987). Åäèöè¼à Ëèöåóì. Ñêîï¼å: Ñêðá è óòåõà.
Fergason, F. (1981) Pojam pozorista. Belgrade: Nolit.
Dordano, K. (2001) Ogledi o multikulturnoj komunikaciji. Zemun/Belgrade: Biblioteka XX vek.
Kulenovic, T. (1975) Teorijske osnove modernog evropskog i klasicnog azijskog pozorista. Sarajevo: Svijetlost.
Pavis, P. (2000) Vers une theorie de la pratique theatrale: Voix et images de la scene. Paris: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion.
Pavis, P. (1996) Lanalyse des spectacles. Paris: Edition Nathan.
Senker, B. (1984) Redateljsko pozoriste. Zagreb: CEKADE.
Sekner, R. (1992) Ka postmodernom pozoristu. Izmedu antropologije i pozorista. Belgrade: Fakultet dramskih umetnosti u Beogradu.
Tarner, V. (1989) Od rituala do teatra. Zagreb: Avgust Cesarec.
Mileta Postic: The Possibilities for a Postmodern and Intercultural Reading of Theatre Practice in the Balkans
Is there a possibility for a Postmodern and intercultural reading of the theatre practice in the Balkans? Well, first we have to examine what Postmodern and intercultural mean in this context, and then, what theatre practice is like in the Balkans today. Since I come from the Art and Animation Department I can relate to only certain aspects of the theatre. The first aspect concerns the performance through my art practice, and the second relates to the theatre narrative, mis-en-scene, acting and stage design and the problems I encounter in animated film. The similarities between theatre and film are well explored, but those between theatre and animation have been less discussed. I cannot address this question in full detail, but I can at least make an attempt to define the problem and elaborate on its components.
Postmodernism and interculturalism are two globally accepted terms common to all art theory. In the theatre, one name among many related to Postmodernism is that of Eugenio Barba. For him, Postmodernism means world eclecticism (even in its exotic sense), tautology and synthesis. The term interculturalism has to be distinguished from multiculturalism and transculturalism. Interculturalism means that different nations are distinguishable, but still work together. It is highly applicable in the Balkans, especially in cases where we have nationally mixed traditions. Certain types of theatre in the Balkans have been theatrically analyzed, like the Skomrahi, the Karagyoz Shadow Theatre, or rituals like the Macedonian Dodole, Vertep in Vojvodina or Dubrovniks mysteries and miracles. But there has been no serious attempt to use Postmodern principles in these traditional rituals. There are theatre directors like Nikita Milivojevic, Haris Pasovic or Rahim Burhan with his Gypsy theatre now performing in Germany, but in order to speak of a Postmodern reading one would need to incorporate Balkan rituals eclectically or juxtapose different national practices to be intercultural. This philosophy remains largely unexplored, at least systematically or in detail.
There are several reasons for this deficiency. Firstly, historical records are scarce; secondly, there is constant discontinuity in this kind of practice, and thirdly, there is insufficient theatrical production because the countries involved have limited funds, to say the least. There are relevant theatre historians in the Balkans, but their work is hindered by these facts and, as far as I know, there is no experimental theatre in the real sense of the word, at least not such that would be capable of producing Postmodern intercultural experiments with local rituals or plays.
A good attempt to find a solution to this problem is through a theoretical and critical approach, like the one offered by this Skomrahi 2005 Conference. However, certain concrete ideas, proposals, plans and attempts to create productions of this nature are needed. Why do we not analyze all the acting, directing and theatre performance elements and reduce them to some Balkan essentials, purify and promote similarities and differences in local cultures? We discuss the stereotypes, but we should discover the archetypes. Stanislavski and Grotowski made such attempts that could perhaps be defined as Modernist. I know that in animation we share most of the stage problems. This is especially so in character animation, which is nothing other than virtual theatre. The problem is that I do not know enough about Balkan theatrical productions. I know more about Futurist, Dada and Bauhaus performances or western theatre traditions.
I am sure if one were able to witness or even read a detailed account of some Balkan ritual, one would be inspired to build on that. But we are the ones who have to do precisely that and create a special milieu, devoting ourselves to the production and promotion of Postmodern intercultural performances and plays.
Todays plays are performed in prearranged settings. It is hard to shock nowadays. There are official repertoire productions of one-time avant-garde performances. Last week, for example, both Wedekind and Jarry were performed in Novi Sad theatres. A hundred years ago their plays could hardly be performed in real theatres because they were far ahead of their time. Today, even Sarah Cane is only mildly shocking. There is a lack of spontaneous, fresh and authentic plays. In order to surpass the multicultural and the transcultural or the hypermodern and the neo-modern, we have to have LOCAL performances non-religious, non-national, non-political, but intimate, transcendental, spiritual and poetic.
One such performance I helped organize in a small cultural centre called Izba in Novi Sad during the Ogledalization Theatre and Performance Art Festival in December 2001 in the cellar of my house. I co-founded, co-owned and managed Izba for two and a half years. My goal was to produce events such as those I write about. The performance was called Spojuvanje and it was done by a young Macedonian couple form Skopje, Igor Angelov and Elena Jovanova, who conducted a workshop in stage design. They invited the audience to participate in making a set design with branches for an imaginary play. Several people joined in and they made some nice forms with the branches, which Igor later arranged around the room and on the walls. Elena designed several special lamps that also looked like branches and were the only source of illumination in the room, throwing dim light on the entire hypnotic event. The whole ritual ended with Igor quickly turning these lights on and off. It was simple yet completely grand. I think that theatre people should write about such authentic, almost pagan performances. This particular one had all the qualities of a Postmodern, intercultural and Balkan play. I am sure there are more plays like this, but they have to be rediscovered, encouraged, documented and experienced.
Sonja Zdravkovska Dzeparoska: Interculturalism in Dance
Interculturalism in the theatre involves or, more precisely, is equal to interculturalism in dramatic expression. The research carried out by Barba, Turner and Schechner perhaps encompasses different genre forms of the theatre of the East which is characterized by syncretism, but it definitely does not concern European dance. In his study Anthropology of the Theatre, Franco Ruffini writes: Eugenio Barba, director and founder of the Odin Theatre, focuses his exploration on the identification and formulation of theatre studies and the study of acting, which he himself calls anthropology of the theatre. (Ruffini, 1998:86) Although Grotowski at some points came close to and used certain dance, i.e., movement techniques (the Dalcroze method), he nevertheless placed the stress on the definition of acting. As he himself said, I believe that the actors personal and stage technique is the core of theatrical art. (Grotowski, 1976:15) Richard Schechner came closest to and tried to follow modern American dance production due to his personal circumstances but he, too, remained within the framework of dramatic performance. However, theatre and theatrology are certainly not limited to their perhaps most dominant form of expression, the drama, but also include all forms of stage performance. The object of this text is to shift/revise at least to some extent the stereotypical position by demonstrating that ballet, that is, modern dance, has also dealt with culturalism, i.e., with various aesthetic and kinesthetic codes.
It is not our intention to analyze the general rules defined by Barba, who demonstrated that different forms of performance manifest shared regularities. In our examination of dance we would like to discover and explicate the basic ways in which the dance theatre of a particular cultural system (in this case, the Euro-American) approaches the different types of performance of other cultural systems (Asian, African). The manner of integration of this type of material (which consists of different dance forms) into ballet and the approach to it have not been studied in detail, but it is evident that this tendency in European ballet continues. In ballet, the belief that ones own system of expression should be confronted with a dance concept that is dissimilar/different as the result of a different socio-geographic, religious and cultural context has a long-standing tradition.
Such tendencies towards integration have been present for centuries and go as far back as the 17th century. In the beginning, it was the need for and fascination with the exotic. The first attempts were quite specific. Performances from this period did not establish a link with the dance material; instead, the connection was made within the supporting system of a performance, for instance, in the areas of stage and costume design. The development of the lexical foundation and rules of creation led to changes and the integration of the dance forms of ethnic groups which originated from different cultural system began. In certain authors, the interest in the study of, familiarization and comparison with that which was different/the other became an obsession.
The treatment of the different cultural (dance) concept
Several different approaches can be seen in the way in which this, completely different, material (transposed/imported/borrowed as a finished model) was shaped in relation to the standard system of ballet expression. Two shaping techniques were applied to the borrowed dance model; these were to a large extent imposed by the historical and social conditions characteristic of the period when they were created.
Stylization. The traditional ballet of the 18th and 19th centuries showed the greatest interest in the dance culture of the East. The superficial knowledge of it and the general view of the society of the non-European states/territories influenced the way in which this type of dance material was used. Jean Geroges Noverres Letters on Dancing and Ballet (1760) is, in this regard, highly indicative: I believe that the Turkish and Chinese festivities would not be quite liked by the French if we present them without any modification
the precise copy of what we see in the dance of these peoples would not be interesting and is not likely to suit the taste of the audience which applauds only when the dancers are very cautious in their expression of emotions, measure and taste. (Noverre, 1965: 275) In these lines we can read the attitude of the colonizers to the cultural tradition of the other, where that which is different is interesting, but must be run through the aesthetic filters of the European theatre which, as a rule and without exception is the best. The principle of stylization was followed by most choreographers of the 19th century. The masterpieces of classical ballet do not allow the expression of a different kinesthetic aesthetics. The homogenization of the entire material and intervention in the original was the only way to create stylistically pure performances. This was one of the prevailing features of classical ballet performance. Defending, as he himself puts it, old ballet, Andrei Levinson, one of the leading critics of the early 20th century, claims that the search for ethnographic and archaeological truth and the destruction of the already postulated function and shape leads ballet to ruin: There are certain ballets, like Don Quixote or The Little Hunchback Horse by Saint-Leon, which are fully founded on the national tradition, but which do not disturb the duality of ballet which consists of dramatic action and classical dance. (Levinson, 1918: 64)
The technique of accumulation and transformation applied to ballets was confronted with the new method of interpretation and treatment of dances taken over from other cultural contexts. The use of the original assumed the fragmentation of the stylistic homogeneity and the creation of a stylistic collage.
Replication. The beginning of the 20th century brought about an evolution in the manner of expression and breaking of traditional patterns. In group dances, Fokine was different from Petipa, he did not give folk movements an academic form, but took from the Spanish dance those elements which were close to the forms of classical dance. (Krasovskaya, 1971: 467) These words were written on the occasion of Fokines production of the ballet Jota of Aragon in 1916. The gradual inclusion of original material which is different from the standard ballet aesthetics opened room for the use of authentic dance texts which were, at first, based on most characteristic national European dances; they were later expanded through the inclusion of other forms of expression (religious performances) that were radically different. This resulted in a rather bold connection between completely different dance and theatre forms. The modern tendency for the weakening of Eurocentrism has also contributed to a change in the attitude to the other, i.e., to primitive, exotic and non-European cultural products. Maurice Bejart has expressed many times his fascination with Indian dance: If you dance, allow your dancing to be your yoga. Shiva the God of the World is also called Nataraja, the King of Dance. (Bejart, 1989: 209)
Regardless of the technique and the approach the choreographer chooses in the exploitation of various national dance concepts, we can define/detect three basic models: polycultural, intercultural and metacultural.
In the second half of the 19th century, the period which we define as the ballet renaissance, there was a notable interest in the study of various types of stylistic and national poetics and their integration in a single scenic/choreographic structure. In contrast to the then relevant creative tendency, where the ballet scenario customarily dealt with exotic elements, i.e., where it posed a specific stylistic frame for the performance, a need emerged independently of the libretto - for the creation of a divertissement which bore evident national characteristics. It was initiated primarily with the score, i.e., the composers concept. In the works of Delibes, Tcahikovsky and Glazunov the music contains units which carry melodic motifs from different national cultures. In music theory, this specific type of connection between independent parts and clearly defined content which originates from specific national tradition is known as character suite. In Swan Lake, his first ballet written in 1877, Tchaikovsky wrote a mazurka, and a Neapolitan, Spanish and Hungarian dance as a character suite; later, on the request of the choreographer, he added a Russian dance. In his last ballet, The Nutcracker, written in 1892, he went a step further and expanded his interest in national dances which are not only European (in this case, Russian and Spanish) but also Chinese and Indian. Although one can hardly speak of the authenticity of the melodic and rhythmical material, especially in the music of the last two dances of the character suite, this ballet is not limited to just one type of choreography. The principle of integration, however, does not impose rules on the conception of the material; rather, it depends on the author.
An examination of the structure of the works (in this case, the national music/choreographic collage) reveals a tendency for detachment in the sense of isolation/independence, where the music units transposed in various dances on the stage are presented in a sequence, one next to the other. We define this model as polycultural. The basic idea of a polycultural choreographic text is to show various dance forms which characterize specific national dance cultures in an isolated/independent form regardless of which technique, stylization or replication, has been applied. In contrast to the intercultural model, the polycultural model offers no possibility of interaction of different dance material.
Synthesis of differences
Towards the end of the 19th and especially at the beginning of the 20th century the evolution of ballet aesthetics brought about a new approach. We define this model as intercultural, a term we have borrowed from Eugenio Barba. In the application of this model, a close connection is established between material of different cultural, semiological and phenomenological origin.
Depending on the concept of the author, the integration of the material takes place in a variety of ways. In choreography, there is a tendency towards integration of the most prominent and stylistically most familiar elements in a single choreographic texture which unites, links and eventually reconciles or exchanges the values of the different kinesthetic concepts. The connection/synthesis can take place on a micro and macro level.
La Bayadere, first staged in 1877, is an example of choreographic inclusion of a different cultural concept for which we can make a valid assessment, since the choreographies for the ballets from the 17th and 18th centuries, and to some extent those from the 19th century, do not survive. In La Bayadere, the exotic India, i.e., its most characteristic kinesthetic idioms, are in unity with the codified language of classical ballet. In contrast to the integration which takes place on a macro level, in this ballet, in one dance score, the different kinemes (the most characteristic postures, positions and poses of the body) are combined with the language of classical ballet and accumulated and absorbed into it.
The creation of a nationally marked choreographic text which was, as a rule, stylized, i.e., adapted to the poetics of the ballet theatre, was very popular in the 19th century. Between 1840 and 1850, Petipa discovered the Pachita series of Spanish dances, where an exceptional knowledge of the ethnographic material was incorporated in classical ballet. Movements such as balance, pas de burree, and pas de basque were coloured with a Spanish pattern in arm movement and bending of the body. (Krasovskaya, 1971: 467) Without discussing the quality, i.e., validity and justifiability of the stylization as such, we would only like to make note of the manner of structuring the introduced material, which demonstrates the joining of different performance and dance traditions within the interpretation of a single character. The contrasting and different models of movement combined in a single role confront the performer with a double/multiple cultural and aesthetic content. In such a case, the intercultural is not placed on the level of the collective, regardless of whether it involves the creator or the recipients; it takes place at the individual level, where the dancer, while building his/her role, is confronted with a different aesthetic and cultural substrate. It would be ideal if the dancer could master not only one style (classical ballet, modern dance, kathakali, tai chi, bu to) but use (in a respective project) various techniques. It is almost impossible, and therefore a performance is customarily based on an attempt at an authentic replication of postures and positions of the dance forms of the different and other culture and their processing through the individual creative filter of the interpreter. The greatest choreographer of the 20th century, Maurice Bejart, was fascinated by the East and created a whole series of ballets in which he used experiences from this region, synthesizing them with modern and classical ballet. He studied various dance models, especially those of the oriental theatre, and approached them in a complex way, not only in terms of their form, but also by studying their context and roots. In his ballets, the symbiosis takes place on a micro level through merging various stylistic kinemes. In Notre Faust, his leitmotif in the port de bras consists of the position of the arms borrowed from the traditional Indian kudiattam theatre and, more specifically, the second mudra, mudrakhayam, combined with the standard position of the legs as it is used in European dance theatre. In Bakhti, Bejart repeats the same technique. Indian music, Indian deities and classical western choreography are revealed through Indian gestures. In order to avoid banality, I made up the dancers like Shiva and Krishna, and dressed their western adorers in jeans. This contrast holds the ballet together. (Bejart, 1989: 170) His comment concerns the subject matter we have already discussed, and that is stylization and stylistic stereotyping or a drastic contrast and editing of the pure original text. Contrast and the search for roots also inspired Jiri Kylian to confront in his ballet Forgotten Land the dance model of the native Aborigines and European dance, which, in the last decades of the 20th century, represented a substrate of modern techniques and elements from the classical ballet. The contrast, editing and confrontation provided very impressive and even dramatic results which are to be expected in the exploitation of an intercultural model.
In the second type, the connection is made on a macro level, where the bearers/presenters of different cultural and dance codes are linked in a single performance. Eugenio Barba brings together the performers of the kathakali, No, Kabuki and Chinese theatre and those of the European cultural performing context, and all this within a single performance/workshop. Especially popular in the early 20th century was the use of a different style of creation which included a different plastic base. Mikhail Fokines attempt at such an approach was the most successful: in his ballet The Firebird, staged for the Russian Seasons in 1910, the classical score included the interpretation of the puanti where the performance of the Firebird, the Beautiful Tsarevna and Ivan Tsarevich was characterized by archaic dance elements. In the choreography of the dances I used three styles completely different in character and technique The Tsarevna danced barefoot, with the natural, graceful and soft movements of old Russian folk dances. The dance of the Firebird was based on toes and jumps. (Fokine, 1981: 143) Identical steps in terms of an in-depth approach to the merging of different dance traditions and performance by different dancers have not been made to date. Although in some modern dance companies an ethnically mixed cast is obligatory, it does not ensure a repertory of traditional dances and an exchange of experience and techniques. At present, no choreographer has ventured to stage a performance where traditional African dancers, performers of the Asian theatre and modern and classical dancers appear side by side.
The most recent model, also discussed by Schechner in his essay The scope of stage experience based on Paul Ekmans research, speaks of an issue that is beyond all cultural, social and religious concepts. In certain situations, people react identically, regardless of whether they come from England, France, USA, Bashkiria, New Guinea, the Amazon, Patagonia or Burundi. This is especially true of body language and gesticulation, to which the individual reacts instinctively. This language of emotions is not verbal and primarily consists of facial expression, voices, body posture (still) and movement (tapping, touching, running). (Schechner, 1992: 225) The extreme emotions of fear, inhibition and joy reveal certain general human features. In moments of mental shock such as terror, mortal danger or exceeding joy, man does not behave naturally. When a man finds himself in an elevated spiritual state, he uses rhythmically articulated signs and begins to sing and dance. For us, the sign, and not the common movement, is the basic unit of expression. (Grotowski, 1976:17) These body movements which are part of the most intense emotional states are, in fact, body signs that are general and do not belong to any specific cultural context, religious canon, ethical concept or social codex.
Some of these signs, as they are called by Grotowski, are based on new dance techniques, i.e., modern dance, although these structures of movement are not necessarily linked solely with states/moments of mental shock. We define this model which strives to find and reach the forms which are part of universal human reactions regardless of cultural codes as metacultural.
Modern dance relies on basic/general body movements, i.e., on a technique that is radically different from that of classical ballet. This type of performance as a medium is a highly codified and stylized kinesthetic system which strives to cancel natural movement. All movements of the classical school are futile because they are unnatural: their purpose is to create an illusion by showing that the law of gravity is immaterial to it The dancers of the future will be those whose body and soul will merge in a harmonious whole, where the natural language of the soul will become movement of the body. (Duncan, 1988: 150-4) We should be aware of the fact that the concept of natural in Grotowski refers to the subconscious, i.e., that which is not accepted with premeditation or practiced, adopted, exercised and standardized in advance, while in Duncan, it refers to the kinesthetic aspects of the performance where the body is not burdened by the acceptance of certain aesthetic forms given in advance and consciously practiced. Although Isadora Duncan expressed her ideas through her work, she did not succeed in finding a specific kind of movement that would have the basic body impulses as its foundation. Martha Graham was the first to give clearly defined postulates of such performance, where she exploited the basic functions of the muscular apparatus, contraction and dilatation; she also gave a precise definition of the meaning of such body postures. The contraction which bends the thorax inside and rounds the back focuses the dancer on his/her own centre and is used as an allusion to fear, grief, withdrawal or introversion (Au, 1988: 120). This posture is also characteristic of the subconscious bodily reaction which occurs in such mental states. Modern dance simply augmented natural postures and used them in various dance formulations.
In addition to searching for the basis and principles of human movement, modern dance also defined a number of styles, sub-styles and techniques which quite naturally became characteristic of a certain cultural background, thus acquiring the label of national styles. As modern dance gained in popularity, those communities which had previously marginalized it gradually colonized this type of production and impressed on it the stamp of a particular ethnic community. These dances gradually became part of traditional dances.
The authors of Post Modern dance gave us perhaps the freshest and definitely the most intriguing dance product. The new tendencies in dance formulated in 1970s initiated the cancellation of all accepted and exploited theatre conventions. They negated all know techniques, types of rehearsals, styles and shaping cliches. Yvonne Rainer, one of the leaders in Post Modern dance, has said the following: No to spectacles, not to virtuosity, no to transformation and magic, no to glamour and transcendence, no to the star image, no to heroes, no to anti-heroes, no to poor imagination, no to inclusion of performers or audience, no to style, no to factions, no to seduction of the audience by the performer, no to eccentricity, no to movement (165). Erasing all theatre rules, Rainer unconsciously surpassed all cultural codes regardless of their origin. To some extent, it was due to the cast she engaged in her productions. They did not depend on professional dancers: on the contrary, the performers did not have to be familiar with any specific technique in order to participate in the performance. All ballet types (classical ballet, modern dance techniques, oriental techniques which demand long education) were thus avoided or by-passed. Her productions were staged in unconventional spaces and did not begin at a specifically designated time. In this context, the work of Trisha Brown deserves special mention. In her exploration of space, the performers (we no longer refer to them as dancers) climbed walls and ceilings; in doing so, they used ropes and rings, i.e., the standard equipment of mountain climbers. The safety requirements demanded certain movements which corresponded with the proximal space. By trying to remain in a normal, upright position while their bodies were at a 90? angle in relation to the wall surface, the performers demonstrated identical body reactions which were beyond all cultural contexts and codes. In this extreme example the cultural model as such was cancelled, and the body reaction exhibited certain general features and characteristics.
It should also be noted that such performances avoided the trap of banality and complete merging with real life. These specific productions did not generate forms of reaction characteristic of everyday life, thus remaining in the sphere of the artificial. Their choreographers avoided the danger of transferring/transposing the creative to something utilitarian or belonging to daily life; on the contrary, by using atypical space, they provoked expressiveness.
The artificial, the traditional, the local, the exotic, the collective all these categories have their specific approach to cultural models and forms of stage performance. The intention of this text was to demonstrate that dance, too, produces its own highly specific but exceptionally interesting creative matrices in which all these categories influence the conceptualization of the material, i.e., the final product. Dance theatre can be especially interesting not only to ballet theoreticians, but to theatrologists in general as well, since it offers material that is endemic and remains completely unexplored.
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Ivan Medenica: A New Concept of the Sterijino Pozorje as a Project of Organic Interculturality
Although I am a theatre scholar, the approach in my paper will not be a theoretical, but a practical one. I would like to present the Sterijino Pozorje Theatre Festival in Novi Sad, where I am the art director, as a very specific case study, a specific example of the intercultural artistic project in our region.
In two months, at the end of May 2005, the Sterijino Pozorje Festival will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. As many of you already know, it used to be the most important competitive national theatre festival in former Yugoslavia. It was a festival of the best performances based on all the national playwriting traditions in former Yugoslavia (Macedonian, Serbian, Montenegrin, Bosnian, Croatian, Slovenian). After the country dissolved at the beginning of the 1990s, the concept remained the same, only now the national dramatic traditions were only those of Serbia and Montenegro. So its multicultural identity did not exist any more, and we should stress that the development of the Yugoslav cultural identity as a multicultural one was one of the main tasks of the festival when it started in the 1950s. In those new circumstances local ones the Sterijino Pozorje soon came to a state of crisis. It was impossible, within such a narrowed framework, to prepare a programme of, let us say, ten excellent performances based only on texts by domestic playwrights. The standards started to slip and the festival began to lose the reputation of a prestigious one.
When I became the festivals art director two years ago, I set myself a difficult task. I wanted to preserve the tradition of an extremely important national institution, but I also wanted to modernize this institution, make it more flexible and restore its former importance. I did not accept the choice tradition or innovation, which seemed to be the options that almost everyone else wanted to impose. I thought the solution was to have - in, should we say, Postmodern terms - both tradition and innovation. The tradition was preserved by the fact that the Sterijino Pozorje has remained a festival of national drama which is nowadays a Serbo-Montenegrin one.
The very first innovation was based on an extremely important fact: several Serbian playwrights (Dusan Kovacevic, Milena Markovic, and especially Biljana Srbljanovic) have had their plays performed abroad with considerable success. Five plays by Biljana Srbljanovic have been staged in more then 140 theatres all around the world, from Moscow to Santiago de Chile. I used this fortunate circumstance, and we started showing both foreign and domestic performances based on texts written by our playwrights. Thus we introduced a new aspect and level of intercultural exchange. We gained two forms of very useful and important comparison with this new, intercultural concept. The first concerned the cultural aspect, which means that we now have the opportunity to see how our topics and stories are perceived in different theatre traditions and in different cultures. The second comparison is the aesthetic one: we are in a position to analyze, in a very objective way, what the achievements of the Serbian theatre (actors, directors, set designers) are compared to those in other countries. This second level of confrontation was a rather frustrating one for our theatre, because in the last two years all the main Festival awards went to foreign productions.
The second innovation was the introduction of a completely new, parallel programme that I entitled Circles. The goal of this programme was to put the national drama and theatre into a wider perspective (the regional, European and world context), to demonstrate how we communicate with certain world theatre trends and to examine all the cultural and esthetical circles that our theatre belongs to. I chose this title because I believe that all our countries belong to many different contexts and not only to one of them: the mono-regional concept such as Southeastern Europe is political, not cultural.
So the Circles programme focuses on a different topic, a different phenomenon every year and is based on certain links that exist between our national theatre productions and international trends. Two years ago, the topic was New European Drama, and last year, The Images of America in Contemporary Theatre. The link for the latest edition was a new play written by Biljana Srbljanovic, America II. This means that last year we invited several productions, foreign and domestic, that deal with the phenomenon of contemporary American society and the system of values that America is introducing to the rest of the world. Since this year we will celebrate the 50th edition of the festival, we have decided to recall our common past. So, Circles is dedicated to dramatic works written in the countries of ex-Yugoslavia during the 1990s, after the dissolution of the former country. It will be the first large and important gathering of ex-Yugoslav artists and theatres since the 1990s.
This novelty in the concept is, to my mind, very significant because it shows that the national cultural identity in the modern world must be seen in a wider, international context. In other words, nothing significant can be done there on the national level without an international context, and vice-versa. This must surely seem banal to someone coming from a developed multicultural society. However, my country spent ten long years isolated from the rest of the world, and this has induced a kind of xenophobia and auto-isolation. This is why we have yet to win the battle of making people understand that optimum values can be established only by means of a comparison with others.
With this example of the Sterijino Pozorje I wanted to point to a possible way of overcoming the established division between the national and the international in our region, and to introduce a possible model of intercultural exchange. The important thing is that this concept is not politically imposed, it is not the result of politically correct tendencies in our region. This new concept of the Sterijino Pozorje comes from its very foundations, from its previous, Yugoslav multicultural past and, most importantly, from the existing artistic practices. That is way I call it, without any theoretical ambitions, organic interculturality. In my opinion, in countries in transition, with their inherited and very rigid concept of national institutions, this kind of strategy is very important.
Dragana Colic Biljanovski: The Transformation of the Intercultural Theatre System: Institutional, Alternative, Private
Soryn: One cant do without theatre.
Treplyev: Yes, but we need new forms.
(Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Seagull, Act I)
Until the beginning of 1990s, the theatre network of intercultural and multicultural cooperation in the region of former Yugoslavia was characterized by three forms of organization: a permanent professional theatre repertory system, theatre groups known as working communities (temporary or permanent) and informal theatrical troupes. Temporary or permanent working communities were established by groups of artists who invested their own funds and effort. It was the beginning of the transformation of the theatrical system from institutional to private - today, an expanding theatrical form in Europe. Thus, the process which, in the Balkan countries, began in 1945 was completed in the first decade of the 21st century.
Attempts at such organization began in Slovenia in 1954 with the foundation of the Eksperimentalno gledalisce (Experimental Theatre) at the Ljubljana Festival. Another group, ODER 57, was founded in Ljubljana in April 1957 following an initiative of the students of the Slavonic Department of the Faculty of Philosophy and the students of the Academy of Theatre, Film and Television. Also in 1957, the actress Draga Ahacic founded the AD HOC group.
The Student Experimental Theatre of the University of Zagreb founded in 1956 also contributed to the development of the concept of the alternative theatre in Yugoslavia.
Simultaneously with the beginnings of alternative theatrical life in Slovenia and Croatia, the Belgrade alternative scene was marked by the activities of the A Theatrical Company, the Ovako Club for the Synthesis of Art, and Radomir Stevic Rass Theatre of National Drama in 1961.
The 1970s saw the golden age of the evolution of the alternative theatre along the axes Slovenia-Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Serbia-Montenegro-Macedonia which lasted until the dissolution of the country in the early 1990s. We would like to mention some of the companies, such as Eg Glej (1970), Kaj Theatre (1970, Slovenia and Croatia); Sveti Nikita Goltarot (1970), founded by Vladimir Milcin and Slobodan Unkovski in a monastery near Skopje as an experiment in the theatre of gesture and ritual theatre after the Grotowski method and life in the commune; Pralipe Theatre (1971), the Romany theatre in Macedonia; COCOLEMOCCO (1971) in Zagreb; Kugla glumiste (1971) in Zagreb; Tespisov voz (1979) organized by Tomaz Pandur as a secondary school student in Ljubjana, and Radna zajednica Karamazovi KPGT in Zagreb. In the 1980s, drama students in the class of Boro Stjepanovic and Emir Kusturica in Sarajevo founded the Obala Theatre. The mission of alternative theatre in Novi Sad in this period was represented by Pozoriste mladih and the Sonja Marinkovic Stage. In Montenegro, the alternative theatre could be recognized in the activities of the Dodest Theatre in Titograd, (now Podgorica).
Multicltural projects up to the 21st century: Belgrade as an example
After World War II, theatrical life in Belgrade was renewed at the National Theatre with the appearance of the actors from the Kazaliste narodnog oslobodenja (Theatre of National Liberation) led by Vjekoslav Afric.
In 1947, an exclusive theatre with the most talented Yugoslav actors was founded. Its director, Bojan Stupica, formed an ensemble of actors from Belgrade, Novi Sad and Ljubljana. The theatre opened on 3 April 1948.
In 1947, the Beogradsko dramsko pozoriste city theatre was founded in the Crveni krst quarter. Its repertory policy attracted attention with its relevant contemporary plays from European and American dramaturgy.
In the beginning of 1951, the Humoristicko pozoriste (Theatre of Comedy) at Terazije was born; its repertory included comedies, humorous shows, musicals and operettas. The same year was marked by the foundation of the Theatre of Film Actors on the initiative of Josip Kulundzic, Ljubomir Radicevic and Aleksandar Ognjanovic.
In 1956, Atelje 212 (Atelier 212) was founded, a chamber theatre with no permanent ensemble, whose purpose was to stage avant-garde plays. It attracted a group of people of the theatre led by Mira Trailovic. It was the first theatrical model to give young artists freedom of creation.
Beogradsko dramsko pozoriste and Beogradska komedija (Belgrade Theatre of Comedy - Gradsko and Humoristicno pozoriste) fused in 1959 into the Savremeno pozoriste which had two stages, one at Crveni krst and one at Terazije. Its repertory was characterized by drama and musicals.
The pre-war childrens theatre Rodino pozoriste changed its name into Pionirsko pozoriste and then to Bosko Buha Theatre; it re-opened in 1951.
In 1964/64, the building of Atelje 212 was finished. The theatre moved to a permanent building and abandoned the model of stage projects.
Towards the end of the 1950s, the actors increasingly began to leave their home theatres, acquiring the status of free-lance artists. They formed troupes of an extra-institutional type; among the first was the A Company founded in 1961 on the initiative of Rade Markovic, together with Olivera Markovic, Mica Tomic Voja Miric and others. It was the result of dissatisfaction with theatrical institutions and especially with Begradsko dramsko pozoriste. They staged the following plays: Devojka sa naslovne strane by Purisa Dordevic, Opasne vode by Slobodan Stojanovic and Premijera by Miodrag Durdevic. They staged their plays at the Faculty of Philosophy, the Drama Academy and the Student Centre in Zagreb.
The Ovako Club for the Synthesis of Art, Pozorisno igraliste Univerziteta (the Theatre Playground of the University) and Teatar nacionalne drame (National Drama Theatre) are all linked with the name of Radomir Stevic Ras, painter and graphic artist. The idea for the establishment of these companies came from him and Eva Ras. In the 1960s, he managed to gather a number of actors including Petar Kralj, Dusan Golumbovski, Dragica Novakovic, Slobodan Duric, Ivan Bekjarev, Miodrag Andric-Moljac and Dejan Konstantinovic.
In the beginning, they organized literary evenings and, later, theatre performances. Most of the projects of the Ras Legacy and the National Drama Theatre were not presented in a traditional manner. They included poets, singers of old city songs, opera singers, actors from other republics, quartets, satirists, journalists and other public figures. This was a political theatre since it criticized the Communist system and used the minutes of Cabinet meetings in a documentary manner. During 1968, Belgrade Summer Theatre was founded; its performances were held in the yard of Kapetan Misino zdanje. In 1970, Ras participated in this event with an ensemble of actors from all over Yugoslavia; his intention was to establish the Actors Federation of the Belgrade Summer Theatre.
The following plays were in the repertory of Rass theatre: Carapa od sto petlji by Aleksandar Popovic, Brobdingard by Predrag Perisic, Vrt by Milos Radivojevic, Akvarijum and Tesna vrata by Slobodan Stojanovic, Milobruke by J.S. Popovic, Prepelica u fenjeru by Branislav Nusic, Smeh, samo smeh by Milivoj Majstorovic, Psovanje publike by Peter Handke, Da li je moguce drugovi da smo mi volovi by Jovan Keser, Krase dok imase, kad nemase prestase by Milenko Vucetic, Zaduzen sam ispred frakcije da ti iskrivim vilicu by Jovan Keser, etc. They were directed by Nebojsa Komadina, Jovan Ristic, Vida Ognjenovic, Radomir Saranovic, Petar M. Teslic, Blagota Erakovic, Slavenko Saletovic, etc.
Atelje 212 opened an alternative, chamber stage in 1967. In 1969 it was transformed into Teatar u podrumu (The Theatre in the Cellar). In the same year, Narodno pozoriste opened its stage in Zemun and at Jugoslovensko dramsko pozoriste (Yugoslav Drama Theatre) where Bojan Stupica also designed the chamber stage. After his death, this stage became Teatar Bojan Stupica (Bojan Stupica Theatre). Jugoslovensko dramsko pozoriste (JDP) opened its Salon for smaller stage forms, and the Krug 101 stage was opened in the building of the Narodno pozoriste.
The dynamic life of Belgrade theatres at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s was also influenced by the establishment of the BITEF Festival in Belgrade; it was headed by the ever-vigilant Mira Trailovic and was under the auspices of Atelje 212. It brought global theatrical trends to Belgrade.
In the mid-1970s theatrical practice was enriched with several new stages, while other spaces were also conquered.
The Pinokio Puppet Theatre was founded in 1976 in Zemun, the Poetic Theatre opened at the Duro Salaj Workers University, and the Branislav Nusic Summer Stage was opened in Skadarlija, in Zetska Street.
Project ad hoc troupes were also organized in this period. The Pozorisne besede troupe was organized by the actor Ljuba Tadic, the producer Zoran Popovic and the publicist Sveta Lukic; they were later joined by Snezana Niksic, Vida Ognjenovic and others. It was founded in 1975 and opened with a performance of Memoari Prote Mateje Nenadovica, adapted and directed by Branivoj Dordevic.
Students of the Faculty of Drama and those who had recently graduated from it founded Pozoriste dvoriste (Theatre Yard) in 1976. It premiered with A Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare, directed by Petar Zec and Mirjana Ojdanic. The actors included Gordana Kosanovic, Gordana Pavlov, Lazar Ristovski, Branislav Lecic, Aleksandra Nikolic, Danica Maksimovic, Milorad Jekic, Jadranka Selec, Dragoljub Denda, Radmila Plecas, Neda Arneric, Ivica Klemenc and others. This informal theatre also had certain features of street theatre since they performed in streets and squares, thus removing the traditional fourth wall. Their repertory included plays by William Shakespeare, Jean Baptiste Moliere, Albert Camus, Ferdinand Arabal, Mihail Bulgakov, Peter Weiss, Jean Genet, Skender Kulenovic, Mirjana Ojdanic, Ciril Kosmac, Vasko Popa and others.
The Udruzenje filmskih glumaca Srbije theatre group (Association of Serbian Film Actors) opened in 1976 with a performance of Kir Janja by Jovan Sterija Popovic, directed by Dejan Mijac. It operated as touring theatre and its core included former members of the A troupe, Rade Markovic, Mica Tomic and Voja Miric. The group also included Neda Arneric, Milan Ajvaz, Milena Dravic, Branislav Lecic and the producer Dragan Andelkovic.
The work of the group Prva radna zajednica udruzenog pozorisnog rada (The First Working Community of Associated Labour in Theatre) named Pod razno began in 1977, with the signing of an agreement for association of labour by Nikola Jevtic and Srboljub Bozinovic, directors, and actors Predrag Ejdus, Vladimir Jevtovic, Josif Tatic and Milan Erak. They were joined by the actors Cedomir Petrovic, Stanislava Pesic and Olga Spiridonovic; Branko Komadina, stage designer, Jasmina Jesic, costume designer, Borivoje Pavicevic, composer and Miroslav Marinkovic, playwright. Their producer was Danka Mandzuka. The theatre opened on 24 January 1977 with a performance of Prava stvar by Miroslav Marinkovic, directed by Nikola Jevtic.
Otvoreno pozoriste (Open Theatre) was formed at the Student City Culture Hall in 1977. During 1977/78, Akt grupa (Act Troupe) staged The Proposal and The Wedding by Chekhov and Goodbye, Juda by Irineus Iredinsky, both directed by Egon Savin.
The actor Branko Milicevic and the director Slobodanka Aleksic founded the Puz (Snail) childrens theatre in 1977.
Alternative troupes continued to be established during the 1980s. In the spring and summer of 1980, Nova osecajnost (New Sensibility) was founded; its plays were staged in the former Brewery in Skadarska Street. Its members had a different concept of the then existing theatres, which they formulated in their Manifesto: If we dont say what we have to say now, we move further away from the opportunity of ever saying all we know.
The agreement for the establishment of this temporary theatrical working community was signed in 1980 by Aleksandar Bercek, Tatjana Boskovic, Milan Gutovic, Geroslav Zaric, Suzana Jovanovic, Dragan Klaic, Suada Kapic, Marina Koljubajeva, Branislav Lecic, Predrag Manojlovic,Vladica Milosavljevic, Dragan Maksimovic, Borka Pavicevic, Egon Savin and Sonja Savic. The play Tragedy, based on William Shakespeares Macbeth, adapted by Borka Pavicevic and directed by Egon Savin, was produced in cooperation with TV Belgrade and was shown twice, on 30 and 31 June 1981. The premiere of Samuel Becketts Not I, directed by Egon Savin and performed by Sonja Savic followed next. The troupe was active for five years as a trial ground for multimedia events, and thus contributed to the further development of the theatre in Belgrade. The artists who were brought up on the principles of New Romanticism continued their work individually, transferring the emotions and ideas of New Sensibility through KPGT, PPP, the Centre for Cultural Decontamination and the Centre for New Theatre and Acting in the first decade of the 21st century. According to New Romanticism, it was important to recognize the place, the time and the age in which we are living.
In 1981/82, the authors workshop Raskorak (Out of Step) staged Anantomija duplog dna by Danilo Kis for the first time. The workshop was headed by the directors Primoz Bebler and Goran Cvetkovic.
The Golubnjaca working community worked was active in 1982 at the Student Cultural Centre in Belgrade, where they staged Golubnjaca directed by Dejan Mijac, a play by Jovan Radulovic that had been banned at the Serbian National Theatre
An important theatrical event was the opening on 8 October 1984 of the Zvezdara Theatre with a production of Mrescenje sarana by Aleksandar Popovic, directed by Dejan Mijac. The concept of the Zvezdara Theatre included providing an answer as to what kind of modern theatre was required.
The 1980s were marked by the activities of the KPGT Theatre (an acronym of the initial letters for the word theatre in Serbian, Croat, Slovenian and Macedonian) and the production of Dusan Jovanovics Oslobodenje Skoplja directed by Ljubisa Ristic in Zagreb in June 1978. Ristics idea was a free theatre without state funding. The KPGT worked within Yugoslavia as a single area as a theatrical, social and political movement which accepted difference as a principle of creative work and life.
In 1983, together with the New Sensibility the KPGT produced Tajna Crne ruke, directed by Purisa Dordevic and Ljubisa Ristic, at the Sava Centre in Belgrade. In 1984, again in collaboration with the Sava Centre, the KPGT produced Carl Orfs Carmina Burana with the particiption of the Branko Krsmanovic Choir. In the summer of 1984, together with Nova osecajnost, Knjiga reci and Art film, they organized GODOFEST. By September 1984, their productions included some 200 performances. At GODOFEST, the KPGT had three projects: Samuel Becketts Waiting for Godot, directed by Ljubisa Ristic, Godo, a choreodrama directed by Nada Kokotovic, and Deriste by Dubravka Knezevic, directed by Ljubisa Ristic.
The Magaza Theatre (Storehouse Theatre) was founded in 1984 in Knez Mihajlova Street; its founder was Ljuba Tadic, the bard of Serbian theatre.
The Dusko Radovic Theatre gave special evening performances of its satirical plays in 1986.
In the summer of 1986 and 1987, the outdoor theatre known as the Gardos Stage opened in Zemun. In 1992 it cooperated with the Grad-teatar (Theatre City) from Budva.
The Bosko Buha Childrens and Youth Theatre opened the stage known as Kod konja in 1988. Its most interesting project was Klasni neprijatelj, adapted and directed by Aleksandar Lukac.
The BITEF Theatre was opened on 3 March 1989 as the result of the long-standing efforts of Mira Trailovic and Jovan Cirilov in the implementation of European theatrical trends. Its purpose was to become a multimedia workshop and a place where international and domestic artists would meet.
In October 1991, on the initiative of the directors Dijana Milosevic and Jadranka Andelic and the actor Slobodan Bestic, the Dah teatar (Breath Theatre) was opened, which followed the principles of Holstebro (Denmark) and the theatrical workshops of Eugenio Barbas Odin Theatre. Through workshops and projects it intended to meet the needs of young audiences.
Motivated by their desire to create a theatre which would provide a space for the actors individual and independent initiatives, the actors Rade Serbedzija and Ljuba Tadic and the director Lenka Udovicki founded the Pozoriste za pozorisne poslove PPP (Theatre for Theatrical Matters) in January 1992. Their intention was to transform it into a theatrical workshop. Like the KPGT, it was characterized by the idea of the Yugoslav concept of an open cultural space. The theatre closed when this concept expired with the ensuing political events and wars. Their only production was Mother Courage and Her Children at the Youth Hall in Belgrade in January 1992.
By the end of the 1990s, other theatrical companies had also been established. These were the result of the private initiative of playwrights such as Bratislav Petkovics Moderna garaza (Modern Garage) and Dragan Savics Teatar an Savi (Theatre on the Sava). It was also in this period that the first private opera house, The Madlenianum, was founded.
The theatres of movement and non-verbal expression, such as Ister Teatar and Mimart, were also significant. This decade was also marked by the renewal of Dadov, the Centre for Cultural decontamination CKD, and the Centre for New Theatre and Acting - CENPI. Companies performing new theatrical forms which worked on projects such as Kult Teatar, Torpedo, Plavo pozoriste, Kuguar, Skloniste and others were also founded. It was also a time of numerous individual projects by actors and directors carried out within the country and abroad under the auspices of the Association of Serbian Actors.
Intercultural models belong to the new generation that is exploring forms of theatrical expression in the light of the 21st century on the stages of the Mata Milosevic Theatre and the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. This is evident from the fact that the student production team of the Department of Theatre, Radio and Culture Management and Production organized, as part of one its study projects FIST 01, the Festival of International Student Theatre at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts. This three-day international multimedia theatre festival was held between 11th and 13th March 2005. Their concept included the exploration and presenation of various methods of educating young actors through the participation of theatre academies from a large number of European countries. Their objective was active education through international communication established in the creative practice of workshops and discussions.
The FIST Festival used the film studio, the plateau in front of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts and the foyer of the Mata Milosevic Theatre at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts and its stage. Thus, the Faculty of Dramatic Arts has become a small intercultural theatre city. The Festival consists of three parts, the main programme, the accompanying events and the fringe programme. Productions by various state theatre academies and schools of acting were performed (Erlangen, Germany; Warsaw, Poland; Manchester, England; Bratislava, Slovakia; Budapest, Hungary; Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro). The members of the jury were Ana Vuckovic, student of dramaturgy at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, Boris Lijesevic, former student of directing at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Edin Jasarevic, student of production at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Cetinje, Ana Maras, student of acting at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb and Sasa Tabakovic, a student who graduated from the Department of Acting at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana.
Students from the drama and film departments of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade and the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad presented their works. The following workshops were organized: Acting (prof. Teresa Brawshaw, Machester), The Puppet the Faceless Actor and the Work of Art (prof. Beata Pejcz, Ludwik Solski, Poland), Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder (Peter Forgacs, director, Hungary), Modern German Theatre (prof. Andre Studt, Germany), The Space of Theatrical Performance (Dusan Petrovic, director, and Radivoje Dinulovic architect and stage designer, Serbia and Montenegro).
The team of the FIST 01 Festival and the Theatre Studio of the Mata Milosevic Stage of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts consisted of Jovana Popovic, Marko Radenkovic, Nenad Mersnik, Jelena Stojanovic, Sandra Solaja, Dina Vukovic, Milena Lazovic, Iva Mladenovic, Aleksandra Bajovic, Bojana Karajovic, Jovana Krstic, Marko Grubac, Darja Bajic, Dragana Jovanovic, Zina Al Sattaf, Marko Jovanov, Mina Sohaj, Nikola Grujic, Andreja Korsic, Ana Stevanovic, Nada Novakovic, Ivan Pekas, Jelena Gavric, Nevena Paunovic, Srdan Novakovic and Rasa Samoilov, students of Management and Production in the Theatre, Radio and Culture. It also included students from other departments such as the departments of Film and Television Production, Film and Television Editing, Dramaturgy, Film and Television Camera, Film and Television Directing, Camera Operating and Sound Editing, Acting, Theatre and Radio Directing, as well as students from the Braca Karic Academy and the Faculties of Applied Arts, Visual Arts, Architecture, Philology and Fine Arts in Belgrade. The students Jovana Krstic, Nevena Paunovic and Tijana Cerovic initiated a final project in Theatre Production at the Department of Management and Production in Theatre, Radio and Culture. This idea concerned a regional co-production of the play Kad bi ovo bila predstava... by Almir Imsirevic (Academy of Stage Arts from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), with the participation of actors from the former Yugoslavia for the purpose of gathering young actors together and the renewal of cultural links in the region.
The SLAVIJA 2002-2005 International Theatre Festival
The foundation of the Slavija private theatre in 1998 is a true phenomenon in terms of production, interculturalism and multiculturalism. Its concept is closely related to that of alternative and multimedia theatre. In 2002, it initiated the establishment of the first private international theatre festival. Its symbol, shown on its promotional poster, was Don Quixote.
The first festival was not a competition, but rather a review. The organizers invited theatres whose work was based on a similar concept, i.e., private and chamber theatres, chamber stages, informal companies, project performances and individuals.
The 1st International Theatre Festival Slavija 2002 was declared open by Mira Stupica, the greatest among the greatest. During the festival, eighteen performances were shown in eight days.
The first day of the festival, 9th March 2002, saw a performance by Josip Pejakovic, director of Drama of the National Theatre in Sarajevo. In his performance of Cojek na cetiri noge the audience could see Pejakovic as a complete author.
The Montenegrin theatre performed Jakov grli trnje by Veljko Radovic, produced by Barski ljetopis. Blagota Erakovics cast included important names such as Mihail Mise Janketic, Dragica Tomas, Slobodan Marunovic, Svjetlana Knezevic, Mirko Vlahovic and Dragisa Simovic.
The participation of SARTR (Sarajevski ratni teatar/Sarajevo War Theatre), led by Safet Plakalo, aroused great interest. The first and greatest surprise was the performance of Oh, Carmella by Jose Sanchez Sinastra. It was directed by Robert Raponja and the cast included Selma Alispahic and Dragan Jovicic.
Their second performance was Eugene Ionescos Chairs, directed by Gradimir Gojer. The poetic art of the cast, which included Kaca Doric, Zoran Becic and Raid Ljutovic, was especially impressive.
An evening with Rade Serbedzija as a special guest (a Yugo-nostalgic or the Hollywood Showman) was also organized. The press wrote that his participation and the presence of Zijah Sokolovic turned the festival into an international event.
Atelje 212 produced and staged Poslednja traka, an exclusive theatrical event and one of the most memorable performances of all times. It was an adaptation of Samuel Becketts Crapps Last Tape, directed and performed by Ljuba Tadic, one of the greatest Serbian actors.
The next event was Ljubomir Simovics Hasanaginica, a production by the National Theatre from Belgrade directed by Jagos Markovic. The cast included Ksenija Jovanovic, Radmila Zivkovic, Branislav Ciga Jerinic and young actors at the beginning of their careers - Marinko Mazgalj, Vanja Ejdus and Nenad Stojmenovic.
The National Theatre from Bitola performed a cabaret-style play dedicated to Edith Piaf; it was directed by Natasa Poplavska and the main role was played by Elena Mose.
The monodrama Ceracemo se jos by Matija Beckovic and interpreted by Petar Bozovic was only a part of his performance since it was followed by excerpts from his rich creative output, with a special appearance by Petar Kralj.
The National Theatre from Banja Luka performed Nikolai Kolyadas The Hen, directed by Petar Strbac. The cast included Natasa Ivancevic, Gordana Milinovic, Miljko Brdanin, Dorde Markovic, Aleksandar Stojkovic, Ljubisa Savanovic, Radmila Smiljanic, Zeljko Stjepanovic, Danilo Poprazen and Pero Ris.
For his cabaret performance Putuj Evropo the actor Goran Sultanovic gathered colleagues of a similar sensibility, Nenad Ciric, Nebojsa Ljubisic and Aleksandar Sreckovic.
The Slavija Theatre chose for the Festival its hit play on Serbian everyday life, Damin gambit by Dusan Cvetic, directed by Jovica Pavic. The cast included Vuk Kostic, Dragan Petrovic, Nebojsa Ljubisic, Bojana Maljevic, Mihailo Janketic, Miodrag Radovanovic Mrgud and Vlasta Velisavljevic.
16 March 2002 was the closing night and a night of cheering, ovations and tears. Zijah Sokolovic, Professor of Acting at the Bruckner Conservatory in Vienna, came to Belgrade after ten years as the author and performer of the monodrama CABAres CABArei. Since then, the play has been on the regular repertory of the Slavija Theatre.
The festival was closed by the actress Danica Maksimovic on behalf of the Actors Association of Serbia.
In Januaru 2003, the Slavia Theatre organized a two-day symposium Theatre and Festivals: Performance and Assesment with the participation of theatre critics, theatrologists, former and current art directors of theatre festivals, and playwrights and directors from Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia. They discussed issues concerning Sterijini pozorje, BITEF, Grad-teatar Budva, Ohridsko leto, Days of Comedy, the Festival of Classical Drama in Vrsac, the INFANT Festival of Alternative Drama, the Festival of Drama for Children, the Barski ljetopis Puppet Theatre, the Joakim Vujic Festival and the Dubrovnik Summer Theatre Festival. It was concluded that the authorities should not influence the existence and physiognomy of the festivals. They should only be changed through theatrical circumstances and innovations in the theatre.
The 2nd Slavija 2003 International Festival was held between 9 and 15 March 2003. The jury consisted of Mira Banjac, Zelimir Oreskovic and Milica Novkovic. The award for the best play was a statuette of Don Quixote, the work of the sculptor Nikola Kolja Milunovic.
An exhibition of sketches and drawings by the costume designer Mira Cohadzic was organized in the foyer of the theatre, with the actress Branka Petric as presenter.
Ronald Harwoods Quartet, directed by Relja Basic, actor and artistic director of Teatar u gostima (Visiting Theatre) was performed by those great actors of the theatre of former Yugoslavia, Pero Kvrgic, Vanja Drah and Sanda M. Langerholz.
Zijah Sokolovic performed his version of A.P. Chekhovs monodrama The Bear as a joke for a jazz quartet and an actor which was produced by the Ljubjana European Month of Culture.
The Pralipe Romany Theatre from Skopje was founded by Rahim Burhan in 1979. Between 1991 and 2002 it worked in Munich, and since 2000 it has been active as the European Pralipe Romany Theatre. They performed the play Kalea by Dragica Potocnjak, directed by Rahim Burhan.
Janez Pipan initiated the participation of the Slovensko narodno gledalisce (Slovenian National Theatre) from Ljubljana, which performed Caryl Churchills Far Away. It was directed by Meta Hocevar, who was also its stage designer; the cast included Milena Zupancic, Natasa Barbara Grancer, Marko Mandic and Peter Stenicnik.
During the Festival an artistic portrait of Radko Polic was presented; his guests were Olivera Markovic, Milena Zupancic, Tanja Boskovic, Bora Todorovic, Dragan Nikolic, Branko Cvejic, Zoran Simjanovica and Branko Baletic.
A state of emergency was declared on 12 March 2003 because of the tragic death of the Prime Minister Zoran Dindic and the festival finished on 16 March. On the last day, the following plays were shown: Presuda by the Niksic Theatre, Nakaze by the Serbian National Theatre and Parite se otepuvacka by the National Theatre from Bitola..
The director Goran Bulajic based his play Presuda, by the Niksic Theatre, on Jean Genets Strict Surveillance. The cast included young actors from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Cetinje and one experienced actor from the Cetinje Theatre. These were Nikola Boskovic, Nikola Perisic and Sreten Mitrovic.
The Serbian National Theatre performed Bogdan Spanjevics Nakaze, directed by Nemanja Petronja. The cast included Ljubisa Barovic, Ivana Pejcic, Milan Kovacevic, Jovana Stipic and Nenad Vujanovic.
One of Risto Krles most famous plays is Parite se otepuvacka. It is based on a true story from the period between the two world wars. It was directed by Ljupco Georgijevski and the cast included Dordi Jolevski, Gabriela Petrusevska, Ivan Jercic and Julijana Mircevska. This play closed the Slavija 2003 Festival, and the members of the jury, Mira Banjac, actress, Zelimir Oreskovic, director, and Milica Novkovic, playwright, awarded the first prize for best play to Risto Krles Parite se otepuvacka by the National Theatre in Bitola. The performance was awarded the Don Quixote statuette for its Quixotic search for a new and exciting theatrical language. The Macedonian Minister of Culture, Blagoja Stefanovski, was present at the ceremony.
The 3rd Slavija 2004 International Theatre Festival was held between 9 and 16 March 2004. It was opened by Batric Zarkovic, director of the Slavija Theatre who said: the visit by the National Theatre from Tirana is a very significant event because it is the very first time since 1945 that a theatre from Albania has visited Serbia.
The members of the jury were Zelimir Oreskovic, Veljko Radovic and Filip David. In addition to the statuette of Don Quixote, the Premijera Plus award for best actor and actress was also introduced. It had been expected that the Festival wouldbe opened by Rade Markovic. However, this the doyen of theatre and film had a role in the preview performance of Branislava Nusics Gospoda ministarka at the Belgrade National Theatre and the festival was opened by Radko Polic. Announcing the first performance and the first evening of acting, he said, Great things happen at small-scale festivals like this: the stars of our souls and our thoughts touch and something happens clusters of small stars and comets.
The next event was the performance by the Skopje Drama Theatre of Marisol, a play by Jose Rivera, directed by Vladimir Milcin.The cast included Gordana Endrovska, Irena Ristic, Maja Veljkovic, Dejan Lilic, Vanco Petrusevski, Biljana Dragicevic, Kalina Naumovska and Vladimir Endrovski. The director Milcin said: I dream about a private theatre and am looking for a space in Skopje where I can work independently. This would not be a commercial theatre. The richness of theatre lies in differences. During the second part of the evening, a Portrait of Meto Jovanovski, the doyen of Macedonian and Yugoslav acting, was presented. Sequences from the films Before the Rain, Strsljen and Necista krv, as well as excerpts from the plays Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Crime and Punishment, Pisanije and Malogradani which he performed with Tanja Boskovic, Jelena Dokica and Voja Brajovic confirmed Radko Polics words from the opening of this event: Had he lived in Berlin, Paris or Milan, he would have been an exceptional phenomenon; here, he is simply Meto Jovanovski.
The Credo Theatre from Sofia performed Gogols The Overcoat. It is also a private theatre, founded in 1992 by the Bulgarian actors Nina Dimitrova and Vasil Vasilev Zuek.
The third evening of the festival gave the audience an opportunity to see Mirush Kabashi, the greatest actor of the Albanian National Theatre, exclusively and for the first time. Dubbed the Albanian Ljuba Tadic, he acted in Socrates Apology, a play based on the text by the Greek author Costas Varnalis. Kabashi adapted and directed the play, and the cast also included Inis Dyoni and Alfred Bualoti. In 2003, Mirush Kabashi and Ljuba Tadic both showed their artistic skill and talent at the theatre festival in Otesevo, a town on Lake Prespa in Macedonia. The performance could be followed in simultaneous translation. Svetlana Bojkovics reading of a selection of poetry and performance of soliloquies from her repertory was the event organized during the second part of the evening.
The play Kraljice was one of the two productions which came from Sarajevo and the SARTR Theatre. Three exceptional actresses, Ana Vilenica, Maja Salkic and Sabina Bambur performed in this play based on the text by Darko Lukic and directed by Kaca Doric. The lyrics were by Safet Plakalo and the composer was Davor Roko.
Milenko Zablacanski performed Zamisli zivot, a play from the repertory of Pozoriste na Terazijama.
Feniks je sagoreo uzalud was the second play from the repertory of the Sarajevo War Theatre shown at the festival. Safet Plakalos text was directed by Dubravko Bibanovic, stage movement was designed by Ferid Karajica and the cast included Edhem Husic, Tatjana Sojic, Ines Fancic, Zoran Becic, Lana Baric, Raid Ljutovic, Halima Music, Nikolina Vujic and Lamis Kulenovic. The dance trio of Kostana Dzinic, Adrijana Gligorijevic and Nedzad Peljto also participated in the performance.
Alfred Jarrys Ubu Roi also attracted a large audience. A production by Kraljevsko pozoriste Zetski dom (Zetski Dom Kings Theatre) from Cetinje, it was directed by Slobodan Milatovic. Papa Ubu was played by the popular actor Petar Bozovic, and Mama Ubu by Varja Dukic. The cast also included Ivana Tomacic, Nada Vukcevic, Gorana Markovic, Ana Vujosevic, Tihana Culafic and Dafina Dimitrijevic.
During the second part of the evening, the audience watched Pisma s fronta, an international co-production directed by Marjan Bevk, with the participation of actors from three European countries including Alida Bevk, Gorazd Jakomini, Branko Licen, Peter Vida and Guilio Martini. It was conceived as a cultural caravan which speaks of events from World War I through soldiers diaries and letters from the front. Actors from the theatres in Nova Gorica, Rijeka, Solnok and the Ljubljana Ex ponto Festival spoke in four languages.
The play Muskarci ne idu u rat zbog zena (Men Do Not Go to War Over Women) was adapted from Andrew Risiks Troy. It was adapted by Gina Lendor, who also played the main role, and was directed by Sladana Vujovic. It was a production by the London ACT TC Theatre and the members of the cast came from the US, England, Scotland, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia. Gina Lendor, a British actress who graduated from Oxford, perceived this play as a classical tragedy.
The actress Mira Banjac was presented on the same evening as one of the Portrait events. On this occasion, she performed her one-hour project Zena kao sudbina, with which she reminded the audience of the anthologized roles from her long and rich career.
The performance of Dusan Kovacevics Balkanski spijun by the Kerempuh Satirical Theatre from Zagreb also attracted large audiences. This was in part due to the fact that, as the theatres director Dusko Ljustina pointed out, this was the first official visit of a Croatian state theatre to Belgrade in the year in which the theatre marked its 40th anniversary. The play was adapted and directed by the famous actor Mustafa Nadarevic. It is interesting to note that the role of the spy was played an actress, Elizabeta Kukic, while the role of the obedient henpecked husband was played by Edo Vujic. The daughter was performed by Anita Matic, her brother Duro by Mustafa Nadarevic and the tenant by Dusko Grubovic. Because of great interest, Balkanski spijun was shown twice. During the second performance, the guests from Zagreb were even more delighted because of the presence of the playwright himself.
The 3rd Slavija 2004 International Festival closed officially on 16 March, when the members of the jury - Zelimir Oreskovic, Filip David and Veljko Radovic - decided to award the prize for best play to Gogols The Overcoat, performed by the Credo Theatre from Sofia, adapted and directed by the artistic partners and partners in marriage Nina Dimitrova and Vasil Vasilev Zuek.
This festival will be remembered for the great interest shown by the audience which gave the greatest applause to Edo Vujic, an actor for Zagreb, for his role as Lojze Safranek in Balkanski spijun. The jury of the periodical Premijera plus shared the opinion: Edo Vujic, the henpecked husband who does the washing, the ironing and the dishes, who hoovers and cooks, is unsurpassable in everything he does. The award for best actress went to Nina Dimitrova from Bulgaria for her role in The Overcoat.
In his concluding remarks on the Slavija 2004 Festival Zelimir Oreskovic, member of the jury and director who has directed plays in both Serbian and Croat theatres, said: All the performances were interesting The most impressive thing was the full house for all the plays The modern theatre is returning to the working principles of Molieres theatre! The proprietor is responsible for everything.
In his column, the indispensable Jovan Cirilov stated the following: If we base our assessment of the situation on the output of actors and theatre people, we can conclude that we have been living in a Europe without borders for a long time If we base our assessment on the output of the 3rd Slavija 2004 International Festival, we can conclude there are no more borders between the countries and peoples of the Balkans In their life, actors are concerned with the eternal and everlasting aspects of life. They have what things to say to one another.
The 4th Slavija 2005 International Festival was held between 9 and 16 March 2005. It was opened by Olivera Markovic, a living legend among actors. Bulgarian theatre was present with the play Za idiote koji bodu oci 2, a production by the ELA Theatre from Sofia. The text, based on Hashek, Allen and Yerofeyev, was directed by Elena Naceva Lafazanova, who was also the author of the script and who acted in it together with Krstya Lafazanov. The National Theatre of Montenegro from Podgorica represented Serbia and Montenegro with The Beauty Queen by Martin McDonagh, a play concerned with the relation between a tyrant mother and her daughter, the victim of the mothers egoism. It was adapted and directed by Ana Vukotic, while the cast included Ana Vujosevic, Dragica Tomas, Dejan Ivanic and Zoran Vujovic.
The 4th Slavija 2005 International Festival is also significant because of the participation of the Givatayim Theatre from Israel. Their play Inaudible People is a parody of the perception that the foreigners have of the Israelis. It was written and directed by Ronnie Feldman, and the roles of the foreigners were played by Albert Cohen and Pollly Reshef.
The performance of the rock opera Pastir vukova by Gabor Lendel, Kornelije Kovac and Milan Rus was a brave enterprise. It is a musical inspired by the life of St. Sava directed by Milan Rus and peformed by the Serbian Theatre from Budapest. The cast included Zorica Jurkovic, Milan Rus, Tibor Ember, Ratko Kraljevic and others.
The EXIT Theatre from Zagreb represented Croatia with their performance of Steven Berkoffs Decadence. It was directed by Matko Raguza, and the actors were Natasa Lusetic and Vili Matula. It was characterized by supreme technique and the actors masterful use of the physical and spiritual space by he actors.
The Sarajevo SARTR Theatre has traditionally participated in the festival, representing Bosnia and Herzegovina. The director Gradimir Sojer saw Ibrahim Kajans Katarina Kosaca through the dream of thousands of patriots in this country, the dream that Bosnjaks, Croats, Serbs, Jews have had to the present day.
The SUZIRIA Theatre from Kiev performed its adaptation of Bulat Okudjawas The Drum Street. His music and lyrics were shaped for the stage by the plays director and stage designer Igor Slavinski, together with Irina Melnik, Sergey Melnika and Ekaterina Tizhanova.
The last evening of the festival saw the performance of Goran Stefanovskis Everyman by the Skopje Drama Theatre from Macedonia. The playright Goran Stefanovski has said the following about this text: I read the mediaeval didactic drama Everyman as a student. As I was writing my play, the story somehow turned around and became a story without a moral. The director Dejan Damjanovski built the production on the metaphor of mirrors. The cast included Irena Ristic, Milica Stojanova, Branko Gorcev, Iva Zendelska, Biljana Belicanac-Aleksic, Dejan Lilic, Vasil Zafircev and Zoran Ljutkov.
Special events dedicated to the actors Mihajlo Janketic, Dragica Tomas, Petar Banicevic and Ivan Bekjarev were also organized, and the members of the jury, Veljko Radovic, Tanja Mandic-Rigonat and Marijan Bevk awarded the Don Quixote statuette for best play to the National Theatre of Montenegro from Podgorica.
After many difficult years, the Slavija Theatre has established theatrical ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia and initiated collaboration with the National Theatre from Albania and private theatres from Bulgaria, Hungary, England, Israel and Ukraine.
The Slavija Theatre has become a site for the interplay of multicultural creative ideas. Through the foundation of a private international theatre festival certain dreams have come true which prove that, as a rule, the impossible is always possible in theatre, no matter what the theatre is called.
Extra-institutional multicultural theatre movements and festivals with private and state-funded theatres and faculties of drama pointed out the problems of the second half of the 20th century, such as the issue of repertory policy, the promotion of young actors and students at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts and private faculties, and problems of the commercialization of ad hoc projects (the world of entertainment, managers.) Alternative theatrical forms promote young playwrights, actors, directors stage designers, costume designers, composers, etc. They also initiate and give relevance to intercultural projects and draw attention to the legal regulation of relations in the sphere of theatre production and management in the Balkan region.
Colic Biljanovski, Dragana (1995) Scena Doma omladine Beograda 1964-1994. Belgrade: Dom omladine.
Cirilov, Jovan (2004) Glumci bez granica. Blic (Belgrade) 31 March.
Dragicevic Sesic, Milena (1992) Umetnost i alternativa. Belgrade: Institut FDU.
Horvat, Boris (1987) Alternativni teatar danas. Novi Sad: Scena, no.3, 1987.
Hristic, Jovan (1992) Pozorisni referati. Beograd: Nolit.
Jevtovic, Vladimir (1997) Uzbudljivo pozoriste. Belgrade: Gea.
Klaic, Dragan (1987) Jugoslovensko pozoriste: osam aktuelnih protivrecnosti, Scena (Novi Sad)
Miocinovic, Mirjana (1986) Drama samoocuvanja, Knjizevna kritika (BeogradPavicevic, Borka (1986) Raskrsnica slobode i srece, Knjizevna kritika (Beograd)
Stamenkovic, Vladimir (1963) Izmedu stvarnosti i ogledala. NIN (Belgrade) 17 March.
(1999) Monografija o Petru Kralju. Zbornik. Belgrade: SDUS.
(2003) Monografija o Radetu Markovicu. Zbornik. Belgrade: SDUS.
(2002-5) Programmes of the Slavija 2002-2005 Festival. Belgrade: Slavija.
(2005) Programme of FIST 01 11-13 March, Belgrade: FDU.
Lidija Kapusevska Drakulevska: Intercultural Encounters: Otherness in Macedonian Drama
The dramatic text with its open structure and its explicit orientation towards the Other not only through its reception as a literary work/work of art, but especially through its staging as a theatre performance, implies a multiple perspective (here, we do not have in mind the so-called plays for reading or armchair plays which are rare in the history of drama). Hence, the concept of the image of the Other is also characterized by a multiple perspective; it is a priori multiplied in the chain constituted by the playwright/text, set design, direction, acting, audience It is modified, transformed and eventually metamorphosed. This means that there are as many varieties of the text as there are performances or directors approaches. If we add the re-actualization of a dramatic text within a specific space and time, as well as the specific historical and socio-political and cultural code within which the given re-actualization is taking place, it becomes obvious that we are dealing with a highly subtle and complex issue which cannot be easily subject to final judgment.
The phenomenon of otherness, although a practice that has existed throughout history, became the subject of more elaborate scholarly analysis only with the emergence of comparative literature studies at the beginning of the 19th century. The basic orientation of traditional French comparative studies towards the study of only genetic or contact relations between various national literatures was also a framework that included imagological studies, i.e., the literary representation of other nations and cultures (see Jean-Marie Carre, Marius-Francois Guyard, Michel Cadot).
However, literary works as secondary modelling systems (as Lotman would put it) create their own images, concepts, constructions and images of the Other which are often deformed, distorted and burdened with numerous cliches, stereotypes and prejudices; here, we are not dealing with real depictions but with something that, to a large extent, involves the domain of the imaginary (hence the substitution of the concept of the picture or image with the concept of mirage, in the sense of phantasm, deception, illusion or delusion.) The objective of comparative studies is to identify the factors which contribute to the creation of such distorted images; hence, the interdisciplinary character of imagology and the need for its correlation with other scholarly fields such as sociology, philosophy, anthropology, history, psychology, ethnography, linguistics, etc.
At a later stage, imagology was harshly criticized; then for a period of time it was ignored and neglected in the face of the upsurge of essential critical methods for the study and interpretation of literary works. It has become relevant again in the last two decades in which its status has been redefined, particularly under the influence of the growing interest in cultural studies worldwide. The renewed relevance of imagology within the field of modern comparative studies was confirmed at the 13th Congress of the International Association of Comparative Literature (AILC) held in Tokyo in 1991, which was dedicated to otherness (Visions of the Other.)
It can be said that the current cultural (culturological) phase in comparative literature studies has modified imagological studies in an even wider area, that of the reception and hermeneutics of the other in general as interpretation of the Other/the text, ecriture, speech, ethnos, religious affiliation, picture of the world Post-colonial criticism, which is in expansion, has particularly strong links with traditional imagology and has contributed to its productive re-actualization and revitalization. This paradigm insists on the encounter with otherness in all its shapes and nuances; it strives toward tolerance and support of differences and opposes colonial depersonalization. The concepts of Edward Said, Tsvetan Todorov, Homi Bhabha or Gayatri Spivak uphold the idea of the establishment of a reciprocal, shared and fluctuating (dynamic) relation to otherness reflected in the concept of interculture.
In this sense, we would like to quote the view of contemporary French comparativist Daniel-Henri Pageaux, according to which comparative literature does not compare the works and the authors, but rather analyses the relations between texts and literatures, initiates and interprets the dialogue between cultures. In his study of the imagological approach to literature, he makes a distinction between four basic and essential attitudes in relation to otherness, i.e., four possible relations vis a vis the culture of the others: mania (positive observation and appraisal of that which comes from the others to the level of degradation of that which is ones own), phobia (subjection to foreign vis a vis ones original culture), philia (a dialogical and critical relation between cultures as equal) and the fusion of different cultures in a single entity in the sense of pan-unification (where the dialogue between cultures is cancelled in order to achieve a higher degree of wholeness). It is evident that among these possibilities only philia represents a genuine critical dialogue and a full, mutual exchange based on mutual respect and knowledge of one another. Pageaux, quoting the moral judgments of the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, reminds us that philia observes the other and reveals that it definitely has a face because a glance at the other also involves looking at oneself, and that by looking at oneself the individual has not forgotten to turn and look at the other. The Other of philia is precisely the other other who can be represented only with an ethical expression. (2002: 124). Considering imagology as unquestionably interdisciplinary, Pageaux nevertheless emphasizes the meaning of poetic thinking, i.e., the study of literary aspects of the literary work itself (above all, the characters, the temporal and spatial framework, the vocabulary, etc.) which can be the point of departure for wider considerations of the positioning of the cultural identities.
Typology of dramatic texts
1. Migrant work as an aspect of Otherness
Migrant work, that eternal Macedonian theme, is the foundation stone of the following plays: Pecalbari (1936) by Anton Panov (1905-1968), a play about Macedonian life in four acts with music and song; Vejka na veterot (1957) by Kole Casule (1921), a play in three parts; Tetovirani dusi (1985) by Goran Stefanovski (1952), and Elesnik (1997) by Jugoslav Petrovski (1969). This typically our, typically national subject-matter acquires universal features and grows into a theme that knows no limits of time and space through the elaboration of a disturbed personal and cultural identity in a different, foreign environment.
In the plays which deal with the phenomenon of migrant workers the space is bipolar and divided into here (home) and there (abroad) or here (abroad) and there (home), depending on the perspective of the characters and their spatial location. Poetically speaking, the space resembles that of fairy tales: it is a world of happiness, warmth, a feeling of security, harmony these are the typical determinants of home, in contrast to the space outside the home and its attributes as foreign, hostile, frightening, ruinous
That which all the migrant worker characters in these plays have in common (Kostadin in Panov, Velko in Casule, a whole gallery of characters in Stefanovski, Stefan in Petrovski) is the unique myth of the home which transforms the geographical space from real into imaginary, from inside to outside; this indicates that the artistic topos of the home becomes a specific resonance of the soul and reveals the curse of the migrant worker as a psycho-social phenomenon, the curse of living in two worlds, that of the everyday life and that of memory. Hence, the essential determinant of this type of people as yearning beings. The paradox lies in the fact that they all go abroad of their own free will (with the exception, to some extent, of Kostadin), haunted by their dissatisfaction with their social status, the burden of harsh material conditions and life in dire poverty at home. Thus, before their departure, they associate their ideals, yearning and happiness with there, abroad, and build the real myth of somewhere else which precedes the myth of the home. However, it turns out that the characters are deceived by this ideal and that they are yearning for the distant (a concept coined by the German philosopher Walter Benjamin); this yearning is both deceitful and attractive and, as a rule, fatal: it destroys all those who are caught in its orbit.
The dilemma of integration or isolation in the new environment is one of the key questions when it comes to migrant work as a different and displaced position or a deviation from the normal. Customarily, the immigrants (migrant workers, Gastarbeiter, refugees, foreigners) spend their lives shut in worlds inaccessible to others; they are unhappy, they lose their personal freedom and their identity is threatened. In the play Elesnik (and to some extent in Pecalbari as well) the stress is on another type of problem, and that is the question of how the problem of migrant work is reflected in those who remain by their old hearths, and whether they are happier than those who have left. Through the character of Milka, Jugoslav Petrovski demonstrates and proves that those back home, too, are melancholy; that they, too, live their lives in fragments, in fear and uncertainty. The trauma of separation burdens them all, although in a different way.
2. The East-West Discourse
Why do we always have to compare ourselves with the West? Why not with China or Japan?
As early as in the Middle Ages, Europe had a literature whose subject-matter was the East. It was a favourite subject-matter in the period of the Enlightenment as well. Since Romanticism, the Orient, the East dreamt of in the West, has traditionally been associated with the exotic and the fantastic; it is an imaginary Orient seen through the tales of the Thousand and One Nights. In Macedonian literature (drama), the image of the Orient deviates from the Western European model, and this is logical, bearing in mind the five centuries of Ottoman repression in the Balkan region. This means that concrete socio-historical conditions shape in many aspects the image of the Other culture, nation, religion
It all began with the beginning of all beginnings, the Makedonska krvava svadba, a tragedy in five acts (1900) by Vojdan Cernodrinski (1875-1951). This cult text contains, as has already been pointed out, the intercultural prototype: Here we have an intercultural model of conflict which is an unproductive, brutal (violent), repressive (tyrannical), assimilatory and ultimative model of intercultural communication. It operates only on the basis and use of the arguments of force, violence, robbery, deprivation, where the Other is obligatorily projected into foe, opponent, mortal enemy (E. Seleva, 2000b: 188). Cveta remains/becomes the prototype of constancy and the endurance of national (religious) identity, especially with her last line, I am dead, but unconverted! In an intercultural duel she chooses death, but in the name of life. She sacrifices the personal (a luxurious life as a beys wife and material wealth) in the name of the collective (religion, spiritual values).
Makedonska krvava svadba, this great Macedonian theatrical myth, is used by Dejan Dukovski (1969) as a matrix for his Post Modern play The Balkans Is Not Dead ili magija edelvajs (1992). The discourse of Otherness (the use of the English language in the title) implies a non-congenial link with a foreign culture (Ana Stojanoska) and an explicit defiant message to the Others. On the other hand, the Balkans is not dead because it seems that nothing has changed since the time of Cernodrinski: the intercultural model which is, in essence, a model of conflict, has still obdurately and stubbornly persisted in these parts for centuries, and that is the model in which two faiths, Christianity and Islam, cross paths.
Dukovski chooses a highly delicate problem, the problem of forbidden love (i.e., love between members of two different ethnic communities) as the matrix of several plots that are edited and collaged as scenes in a Post Modern manner. These are the plots concerning Osman Bey (Turk), Eleni (Macedonian), Kemal Ataturk (Turk), Edis (Turkish, the Sultans first concubine) and Iconomo (Vlach). There is also the tragic love story between Cveta and Spase. Thus, here we are dealing with the phenomenon of the ethnically Other. And, while ethnic differences are no obstacle to love itself, on a global level they give those around them (the community) motive for the traditional intolerance between two religions, nations and cultures. Forbidden love is at variance with the social codex of the community because the intercultural relation is not based on the principle of equity but on the principle of force. Choosing Makedonska krvava svadba as his framework, Dukovski plays creatively with the myth (stereotype) of the oppressed Macedonian, the myth (stereotype) of the Macedonian woman, with the story itself, the myth (stereotype) of the Ottomans as oppressors or admirers of beautiful women and lechers and all this accompanied with plenty of irony and humour. He shows how irrelevant the differences are and so, in his play, Cveta marries Osman Bey who becomes a Christian (?). Thus, concession and compromise are required of both sides. The polarity of the relationship of victimizer (They) to victim (We) no longer functions. A mutual dialogue is required, as well as mutual understanding and tolerance - we need co-habitation. It is precisely this act (the wedding) and the reversed perspective of the finale (the Macedonians turn this wedding into a blood wedding) that reveals the absurdity of the intercultural duel.
Refusing to concede to the idea of irreconcilable differences between the two cultures, Dukovski tries to facilitate their encounter. It is love that bridges the differences between cultures. It is in love that the different identities come together and connect. Love is the only means of salvation for the Balkans, he seems to say. Love is worth living for, dreaming of, or, after all, killing for; better crimes of passion than crimes of hate, revenge or ethnic (religious) intolerance. In this sense Scene 38, entitled Process, is essential. In this scene Cveta (who, again, has the key role of a heroic character, but of a different kind) says: I decided to stay with Osman. No more blood. No more hate. It is not Osman who is the devil. We all are. You dont understand. I dont understand either. Condemn me. Say Ive lost my mind. I loved Spase more than anything. He died. We were left with either love or hate (63). And Cveta chooses love. Thus, the Macedonian myth becomes universal and leaves the narrow national frame; the problem of forbidden love is not only a Macedonian or Balkan malady and tragedy it is European and global, it knows no time or space. It is an intracultural code indicative not of differences but of the sameness in the Other.
The motif of forbidden love culminates in incest or incestuous love, one of the most characteristic categories of transgression, sin and damnation. Incest (as a form of forbidden love) is an old intracultural model (collective discourse) born in the dispute over the sacred and the profane (taboos and their violation). This phenomenon is the subject-mater of, for instance, Bolen Dojcin (1971) by Georgi Stalev (1930) and Lepa Angelina (1995) by Blagoja Risteski (1949). The proto-text for their plays is, in fact, a folklore matrix. The aspect of otherness is complex, and within this framework it is manifested in the love between brother (Dojcin) and sister (Angelina), the kind of love that the ancient Greeks called philia: Philia designates a kind of identity among the members of a family. Each member represents an alter ego to the other, i.e., a doubled or multiplied I. In this sense, philia stands in opposition to Eros or love passion directed towards someone else different from the I, to someone of the opposite sex, a member of another family. (Jean-Pierre Vernant, Pierre Vidal-Naquet 1993: 106). The message of the incestuous love in these plays is that the curse lies in us, not in the Others.
The plays of Risteski and Stalev can be indirectly linked - via the folklore matrix - with the intercultural model of reasoning through the threat of evil embodied in the character of Crna Arapina (the Black Arab) who comes from a different land, i.e., from the Far East.
Painful, sad and tragic is the fate of the peoples in these parts where different tribes, ethnoses, nations and cultures have crossed paths, communicated and, unfortunately, more often, waged war for centuries. Their differences have divided them, while their similarities have not brought them close together On a culturological level Lepa Angelina and, even more, The Balkans Is Not Dead re-actualize the generally accepted term or concept of balkanism as an imagological phenomenon used by the Bulgarian historian Marija Todorova in her study Imagining the Balkans (1996) as an analogy to Edward Saids term Orientalism promoted in his book of the same title (1978). Todorovs study discusses the mythologization of the Balkans, which has been transformed from a geographical concept into a stereotype of the kind found in the arrogant distinction between the barbarians (the East) on the one hand and the civilized (the West) on the other (Neil Asherson). Hence, balkanism is a discrediting term, an exhibit, a satanized, morbid excluded Other (in relation to Europe and the West) with emphatic negative connotations and frustrating determinants.
Dukovski is fully aware of such pejorative imagological stereotypes (mirages) which are the result of biased projective ideologies of the West, as well as of the cultural prejudices that such stereotypes generate. Therefore, starting from the famous epic drive of the Balkan (and Mediterranean) peoples to identify with the mythic and historical past (again, a stereotype, this time an imagological one) in The Balkans Is Not Dead Dukovski offers a different picture, a deconstruction of the stereotypes. The dramatic matrix of another play by Dukovski, MME koj prv pocna ili Golema brzina na stoenje (paranoja) (1997) is, once again, love. The problem of otherness in this dramatic text can be discussed on a psychological level as well. Do we, and to what extent do we, live for ourselves - and to what extent are we subjected to the desires, needs and expectations of others? How much of ourselves comes from the perspective of the Others? Do we define ourselves and our identity in interaction with the Others? The problem is a philosophical one, and deeply human. Thus, identity is melted into alterity. Facing oneself through the prism of the Other leads to ones own taking over of the perspective of the Other and the acceptance of the image of oneself as the Other.
The Third Circle in MME entitled Faith treats the phenomenon of the stranger. It is an intercultural encounter between the East/Balkans and the West through the encounter between the Youth (Macedonian) and Dr. Phallus (German) in the Black Pig Inn in Wittenberg, which means that both characters are strangers. Here, according to Pageauxs typology, the perspective of the Macedonian would be mania (the foreign is preferred to ones own) while the perspective of the German would be phobia (the foreign is inferior in relation to ones own). This is not merely a question of the superiority of one culture over another, but also a critically intoned imagological and auto-imagological projection. The Youth is a paradigm of the victim: he is the victim of the notorious Balkan a priori impressionability with western cultural models and the Balkan peoples own phantasmagoric image of Europe as a promised land, while Dr. Phallus (an ironic intertextual anagram of the famous lover of absolute knowledge, Dr. Faustus) is an eccentric and decadent teacher and perverted seducer who symbolizes the covert colonizing effect of western knowledge. (E. Seleva, 2003: 227).
An analogous critique of cultural scars (misconceptions) of imagological and auto-imagological patterns is also found in the work of Venko Andonovski (1964) and in his play Slovenski kovceg (1996). The title is suggestive of the model of Slavonic idea as a myth of togetherness, collectivity or a utopian concept from the world history of ideas. The concept of the Slavonic idea/cause as in musical terms, a minor sensibility (J. Luzina, 2000b: 240) corresponds to the well-known imagological stereotype of the Slavonic soul or exaggerated sensitivity which leads to catastrophe because it implies infirmity and inability to cope with the prosaic world of material values.
The title of the play (Slavonic Chest) refers to a symbolic artifact in which a lost world lies, a world of shadows and the secret soul of existence. The search for the Slavonic chest is a search for ones roots and identity, a search for self-emancipation. The choice of the time of the action (1993) is not random; it is the period of transition and the disintegration of various ideologies and ideological systems, a time in which the problem of identity was problematized. The key story upon which the dramatic conflict is built is the Slavonic folklore matrix in which the child finds his father with the help of a golden apple.
The aspect of otherness is emphatically chronotopic; it is read not only in relation to the distance between the East and the West, but also in terms of the East-East relationship. In other words, there is an intercultural duel between the old and the new East, between the old and modern (contemporary) Slavs. Thus, the exposure of otherness is directed not only towards the outside (the Other, the West) but also towards the inside, when the Slav observes himself and reveals himself as the Other. The juxtaposition is never only black or white. On the contrary, it is more a matter of hues of black: namely, in both worlds drugs and crime rule, both worlds are maimed. Eventually, the imagological pattern exposes the primitivism of imagological stereotypes and questions all possible identities, both those of others and ones own.
Where is the exit? Perhaps in the liberal principle of identity (as Petar Krastev would put it), in the free choice and creation of ones own identity. This is metaphorically represented through the denouement (Epilogue) in Slovenski kovceg, where the choice of the father by the Child is seen as a transposition of the plot in reality
3. The Others: friends or foes
The concept of the Other as a friend/foe finds its fullest expression in the plays codified as historical. The dialogism on the level of history is manifested as a historical dialogue of the chronotopes, as a dialogue between small and great times (according to the terminology of the ingenious Bakhtin), i.e., between modernity and the endless and universal time as an never-ending and never finished dialogue. Developing the established coordinates further, we can speak of dialogue between history and poetics or of dialogue between the work of art and cultural history understood as cultural tradition/memory.
These considerations are relevant for those Macedonian plays which thematize the closer or more distant historical past, such as Car Pir, a historical drama in five acts on the life of the Illyrians in 272 BC (1921) by Vojdan Cernodrinski, Vladimir i Kosara (1967) by Stefan Tanevski (1918) and Kuzman Kapidan, a play in five acts (1954) by Vasil Iljoski (1902-1995). Ilinden, a play in five acts (1923) by Nikola Kirov also belongs to this body of plays, although here we do not have the necessary historical distance between history and poetics due to the personal experience of the author himself, who participated in the given historical event. The incorporation of the Proclamation to the Turkish People and the reply to it from the village of Aldanci in the structure of the dramatic fibre of the text (Act II) is especially significant for the imagological aspect of this play. Both texts have the role of an intertext (quotation) and in an indirect manner illustrate the intracultural model as a model for connecting with that which is the same, i.e., the identical degrading, repressive and undignified treatment of the Macedonian and Turkish population by the authorities. Although the author has complete freedom in the choice of his discourse for the Other, he cannot ignore the specific historical, social and cultural code. The outlook of the Other (both of the Macedonians and the Turks) in this play is an outlook full of compassion, friendship, mutual respect, tolerance, understanding, support In contrast to the issue of differences between different national identities, here the stress is on the idea of an identical and complementary position within the framework of an order burdened by repressive strategies in circumstances of bondage as a condition of otherness which, ultimately, is metamorphosed into the condition of sameness. Paradoxical as it may sound, they are all the same and equal to zero. Personal identity (national, religious, ethnical and gender affiliation) disappears and is substituted by collective determinants and social stigmatization. Exceptional historical situations (wars, migrations, natural disasters) customarily result in a paradoxical togetherness and cohabitation between two entities. According to the unwritten philosophical rule, when in peril, people join together; thus, every general (common) tragedy bridges and cancels differences. The enemy becomes a friend.
In Car Pir and Vladimir i Kosara the aspect of otherness, in the sense of a historical determinant friend/foe, is even more complex. Here, antagonism is situated in the relation of the love couple: it involves matching with a stranger as a version of the impossible pair; moreover, the stranger belongs to the enemy socium, to the adversary's camp, and thus it becomes clear that, according to the moral law of the community, love is impossible. On the other hand, love with the stranger/foe emphasizes the image of uncontrolled, non-logocentric love.
According to Julia Kristeva, the primordial need to be One where there are two is problematized in the character of the stranger as one of the subjects of the love pair. Kristeva (Strangers to Ourselves, 1991) points out that the stranger is the hidden face of my own identity; according to her, the stranger becomes the symptom that makes the pair impossible, that turns the 'us' into a problem (quoted after J. Koteska, 2001: 101). In addition, she claims, the economy of the stranger is based on the simultaneous respect for and criticism of his difference. The face of the stranger is a testimony of uniqueness, exclusivity and difference (101-2).
The plays Car Pir and Vladimir i Kosara problematize another aspect as well, and that is the relation between parents and children which prevails over the intercultural relation and influences the treatment of the Others as friends or foes. Despite the undoubted animosity of both Tsar Samoil and Tsar Pir towards the slaves Vladimir and Delfina, they accept them into the family circle, i.e., they bless their childrens love.
The chronotope of Iljoskis Kuzman Kapidan promotes the concept of multiculturalism: the authorities are Turkish, the church is Greek, and the people are Macedonian. In terms of language, too, the play is a paradigm of multicultural theatre. On the other hand, as such, it manifests all the weaknesses of the multicultural model and the impossibility of its functioning and survival since inside this model, the cultural identities remain basically clearly delineated.
The historically determined division into two camps, those of the friend and of the foe (in circumstances of the oppression of the Ones by the Others) is highly complex and of intercultural character. On the one hand, the people stand in opposition to the Ottomans, Greeks and bandits and, on the other, the Ohrid beys and Greek bishops collaborate with Kuzman Kapidan (as a representative of the raja, the non-Muslim population in the Ottoman Empire) against the bandits of the Debar beys. Hence, the enemy is transformed into a friend, but only temporarily; it is a false friendship, friendship out of self-interest.
Exposing a number of representatives of the falsely benevolent Turkish and Greek authorities, the author introduces an impressive character from the enemy camp, the only character who remains constant in his benevolence to the Others, the Turkish dervish and entertainer Redzo-baba, a witty folk philosopher and wise man. The sympathy between Kuzman and Redzo-baba is mutual. This pair of characters cancels the differences along the friend-foe axis and transforms them into a trans-cultural concept of the encounter of the Other where man meets man.
4. Ideological images
Certain scholars in the field of imagology make a distinction between ideological and utopian images/representations of the Other. Ideological images include an insight into different ideological phenomena in a particular cultural epoch, such as ethics, religion, political views, etc. In other words, it is an interplay, confrontation and collision between several contradictory truths, outlooks, beliefs, ideological paths (ideologemes), cultural forms
We have already discussed this aspect of Otherness in some of the plays we have referred to: however, the most notable example of ideological Otherness and the primary pattern of dramatic conflict can be found in the following plays: Vitel, a play in three acts (1966) by Kole Casule, Let vo mesto (1981) by Goran Stefanovski, and Mazedonische Zustande (1984) by Jordan Plevnes (1953). Vitel and Mazedonische Zustande promote the political and Let vo mesto, the historical discourse. The political discourse has also historical implications (such plays thematize the so-called desperate themes in our history). The difference lies in the fact that Mazedonishe Zustande treats Fascism and Stalinism, and in Vitel, although the proto-text is a specific revolution (World War II) the theme is universal (without limiting chronotopic determinism). In addition, Vitel and Let vo mesto are also highly psychologically charged.
As far as their ideological concept is concerned, in all three plays there is a confrontational encounter between at least three ideologies. In Let vo mesto, Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian interests overlap, calling into question the legitimacy of the national ideology. This is due to the historical matrix which is marked by a turbulent time, the end of the 19th century, when the map of the Balkans was redesigned and when attempts were made to suffocate the indigenous way of life of the local people via various influences, propagandas, exploitation and foreign intervention in Macedonia. Mazedonische Zustande is characterized by a unique double Otherness, since within the framework of the same ideology, Communism, there is a gap and a double perspective, that from the position of the authorities and that from the position of blind belief and the promotion of a respective idea. In Vitel, the ideological battle is generalized within the relation between the system/order (the ruling ideological thought) and the individual authors and defenders of ideas (victims of the system).
Among all the aspects of Otherness, the ideological battle is perhaps the most ruthless, the most dangerous and, in a word, the most threatening in relation to identity.
The issues in the field of imagology or the discourse of the image are a highly significant area of literary and comparative studies. Imagology is part of a poetic consideration of the text which promotes the principle of a critical encounter with it; as such, it excludes both derision in ones approach to the text and its treatment as a cult object.
It is undoubted that imagologic studies are indispensable. Yuri Lotman was definitely right when he said, In order to function, consciousness needs another consciousness; the text needs another text; culture needs another culture. If we agree the first level of imagological studies is the necessary encounter with the other, then the second level points to the nature of that encounter an encounter which is genuine and which, without prejudices, includes equal interlocutors. Moreover, as the Orientalist Louis Massignon emphasized in the 1920s, a unique mutual absorption is also required. His advice a propos the numerous open questions and dilemmas concerning imagology has not lost its relevance to this day. In order to understand the other, he says, one should not appropriate, but be the others guest. It is a relevant example for todays intolerance of the other and of otherness in general, an intolerance which is a constant of modern life in which, to our regret, there is less and less room for dialogue
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Simona Jeselnik: The Land of the Rising Sun Sinking into the Eternity of the Mediterranean Sea
Theatre-makers throughout the world are using an increasing number of different elements from foreign theatre traditions in their productions, especially Oriental approaches. Authentic ritual forms from other cultures can also often be traced in recent performances. We have recently seen that theatre-makers are taking shortcuts when it comes to the authenticity of foreign cultural traditions. They seem to follow the practical aesthetical approaches of intercultural pioneers such as Ariane Mnouchkine (who used elements of Indian and Japanese theatre in her Shakespeare productions) and Peter Brook (he experimented to a great extent with the Indian Kathakali dance theatre).
While the Europeans admired and worshipped Oriental culture, a parallel story was happening in th opposite direction. Oriental artists found their ideals in the European culture. For instance, the Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa, whose work we could admire last year in Athens in his production of King Oedipus, combined the Noh theatre with Greek tragedy. But I must stress the fact that this instance of the development of cultural interchange is not something new: on the contrary, it began in the late 1960s.
There have not been too many attempts of this kind in Slovenia. More visible experiments would be those by two performers, Vladimir Sav and Romana Ercegovic and their ritual theatre. Unfortunately, they both kept their performances at the level of the presentation of rituals and ritual patterns as such; therefore, these performances did not funcition as immanently theatrical/dramatical.
Let us go back to the terms I used at the beginning. As soon as a theatre artist uses and adopts a certain tradition, a rite or a ritual, in his/her performance, they suddenly find themselves between the very thin line of cultural tradition on the one hand and theatre on the other, between acting and the presentation of the ritual. Using traditional elements may result in a failure to generate true creative art and an inability to discover contemporary meaning through "universal communication". Thus the performance often becomes more exotic, while the acting is only a kind of cultural tourism or a souvenir a foreign performance.
Actors use different traditional acting systems in their work and, with the support of these systems, explore their own strong connection to local cultural traditions. Once the actors comprehend the essence of traditional methods (for instance the principles of a Kabuki actor or perhaps the Stanislavski System) it becomes obvious that it is all about order and discipline: the method has to be constantly repeated (in the Kabuki theatre, from generation to generation). The working process should be similar to the ceremonies practiced by priests and the performance of a holy service. An actor may form his own holy method with experience from diverse acting traditions. So, the actors work is now a holy service, it is a collection of controlled ritual actions. With their help the actor is constantly being initiated into the acting process. Such a working process guarantees that the actor will become a master of the craft of acting. A performance may be especially successful if it is fused with other traditions.
King Oedipus was staged by the Slovensko mladinsko gledalisce from Ljubljana in 1998. This performance was a good example of a successful combination of various traditonal elements and their integration; the production was an instance of a successfully used dramatical and theatrical technique which emanated from the performance as a whole. From this point of view, the performance manifested elements of transculturalism. Why? As Patrice Pavis says: "The transcultural, indeed, transcends particular cultures on behalf of the universality of the human condition. Transcultural directors are concerned with particularities and traditions only in order to grasp more effectively what they have in common and what is not reducible to a specific culture". His definition is supported by Peter Brook : "I am concerned with the culture of links which connects people at the deepest levels of their humanity beyond and beneath ethnological and individual differences".
A new shift was made in Slovenian acting with the production of King Oedipus. This performance was the result of a drama laboratory experiment led by the Art of Acting Research Studio under the guidance of the young Slovenian director Tomi Janezic. At the beginning of a rehearsal in the Studio, the production of a play is not the main objective. The principal focus lies in self-questioning and in each participants consideration of the meaning and significance of dealing with theatre and acting; in fact, during the work, the actor/actress questions him/herself about universal human issues which are common regardless of race, gender, cultural environment, politics or financial/social position. Who am I? What do I want? How do I resolve the enigma of my identity? How do I confront the truth about my origin? Who am I, what is my destiny? . Instant art and art surrogates of amorphous forms surround modern man and they have only one goal enjoyment and pleasure. This is a problem of contemporary mankind: human beings today are so over-burdened that they have lost touch with their essence and their roots. Here lies the true value of this performance. In it, I see the potential for modern mans growth, I see the germination of its seeds.
The intertwining of different cultural influences within the creative process is no coincidence; these include various influences from the ancient Greek drama, the Russian theatre (the Stanislavski System), the Japanese tradition (Noh and Kabuki Theatre and the tea drinking ritual), the Slovenian theatre and that of of former Yugoslavia (actors bios). We should also add the encounter of the Western and Eastern European acting techniques and various acting methods developed by Mihail Cehov, Richard Boleslavsky, Strassberg (Actors Studio) and Stella Adler.
The dramaturgy of this performance is controlled by an acting method where the actor is not an interpreter, but a hic et nunc creator. The actor is like Oedipus himself, who gropes in the dark for the truth and the integrity of personal emotions. The rhythm of the play is dictated by a serene, relaxed and Zen-like acting tempo. Yoshi Oida, the famous Kabuki and Noh actor and leading member of Peter Brooks company explains: Describing acting as Zen means actually refering to the use of minimalism. In general, Japanese artists attempt to express the maximum truth through a minimum of means, and this approach certainly corresponds to the spirit of Zen. Oidas explanation illustrates the style of acting used in the performance referred to above. The action takes place in a Japanese living room or a temple. In it, a mixture of a warm family atmosphere and a feeling of looming danger is present. All actors are present on the stage and perform fictitious rituals. The Chorus is divided into two parts, male and female. Singing and live music performance accompany the actions of the leading actors. On the whole, the play functions more like a theatre ceremony, where a story from the past evolves at a slow tempo. There is no need for sudden reversals, stormy actions or over-emotional diction since the mythological story and the destiny are known. In this kind of atmosphere, ruled by the silent acting, tranquillity, meditation and ascetic set design, the chaos, restlessness and doubts of Oedipus and Jocasta are created. All the other paticipants are merely silent bystanders, mute witnesses to human destiny. The courtiers, messengers and servants are defined as "terracotta soldiers" by their insignificant tasks (pouring tea, drawing images in strewn rice/corn). Individual acting episodes have the effect of a rehearsal. In it, we can understand what the primary task of the actor in this production is: for instance, the task of Oedipus/Actor is to yearn for the truth: "I want to know the truth", "I want to confront myself". From this point of view, Sophocles text is an ideal foundation for the actor. It is natural and born of a primeval need which raises the awareness of another being. The actor responds to it, awakens his emotional memory and balances his physical actions accordingly. Using the Studios jargon, we could say that the text is very 'actable'. The wording is precise and clear, but at the same time cruel if the actor is not capable of following it. In this Slovenian production of King Oedipus, the leading role was performed by a young and therefore inexperienced actor, Sebastijan Cavazza. He occasionaly still resorts to acting cliches (acting emotions), but mainly follows the principal task of the character. Olga Kacjan in the role of Jocasta was placed as a foil to Oedipus, since she withholds and controls her emotions. She does not want to find out the truth, she does not want to come face to face with it. For that very reason she still lives in a deceptive world of appearances (e.g. the scene where Oedipus tells her about the slaughter of the travellers in the carriage). The actors inner responses are externally revealed as references to the question of identity or archetypical symbols which are universal and understandable to every spectator.
In this production the director used the same elements which already exist in the ancient Greek text: light (sightlessness/darkness), water (sounds of the sea, pouring tea), earth (dry flowers, rice, rugs), air (hanging fabrics in motion). These unobtrusive, fundamental/basic elements create an intimate confessional space from which the prehistoric myth of the holiness of the earth springs. This is also the moment which provides the space for the encounter of different cultures. As Jocasta enters the consecrated place, she/the actress enriches the melancholic atmosphere with a feeling of hope and unconditional love, love which forgives and does not condemn. She carries with her the awareness of her triple role and brings with her a frightening premonition. She is in the focus of the turning point of the action.
The production functioned as a unison of all fundamental elements, an organic soup out of which the human being was born and began to breathe the intangible air of god. Thus, the theatre ceases to be the site of the performance of an illusion and becomes a temple. Acting is a ritual and a holy service. Actors become high priests of the Eleusinian mysteries.
The authors of this production successfully opened the gate to the energy of our ancient ancestors and cultures. We have long been convinced that Western culture and its actors have lost the ability to access invisible aspects of experience. The materialistic and intellectual acting approach systematically demolished those inner impulses and energies which lead to the potential of imagination, representation and, last but not least, to the verbal expression that, as Peter Brooks puts it, usually bring us to the core of our deepest relationship with the world around us. We touch our mythopoetic consciousness which embraces magical and supernatural dimensions, accrediting them with an equivalent and perhaps fuller reality than reality itself.
This production was an instance of a theatrical search for universal language and an attempt to establish a cultural link with the past in order to reach human essence which is both contemporary and universally recognized.
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Ana Stojanoska: Intracultural Theatrical Dispersion or On Recent Macedonian Theatrical Matters
I could have entitled this text On the Ideal Theatre of the 21st Century, which would have been more simple. However, by defining the theatre as ideal, I would have had to consider it from a superior position, which is not my objective. Therefore, I remain within the framework of the above title, and I will refer to the ideal theatre later, as part of the logical solution of the equation Intracultural theatre or a model of the theatre for the new millennium. In the beginning, I should explain why I use the phrase intracultural theatrical dispersion or, more precisely, the concept of dispersion, a term adopted from physics, to which I ascribe theoretically referential semantics. Starting from the idea of intraculturalism as an idea for the identification/recognition of sameness between cultures and the need not to allow its globalisation, I propose its dispersion/diffusion everywhere, and especially by the theatre, whose intraculturalism is powerful, visible and recognizable. In order not to turn this concept into a lifeless and dull admixture of more cultures, I would like to focus in this text on its dispersion and explore it further within the framework of a global constellation and contextualisation.
1. The Original Impulse or Varied Cultures/Cultural Variety and the Theatre
As in the good old fairy tales, so in out theatrology, every idea has its magic, mystical and formulaic beginning. If in the tales the matrix begins with Once upon a time , then in theatrology the beginnings of the story of intracultural theatre can be discovered in the exotic study of theatre anthropology. It is one of those numerous scholarly theatrological disciplines which, as its father Eugenio Barba would put it, provides us with a series of small and useful pieces of advice as to how theatre is made.
Intracultural theatre is one of the subjects or, more precisely, one of the emanations of theatre anthropology.
Provoked by the title of this conference, I chose for my subject (in coordination with theatre anthropology) a phenomenon new to scholars, called INTRACULTURAL THEATRE.
What is intraculturalism, what are its basic coordinates, how is it defined, determined and explicated? These are the questions with which my game with intraculturalism begins. I find the motive in the need to detect, determine and explicate most of the faces of theatre anthropology. It is found in a specific in between place where, according to Roland Barthes, it shares its territory with both scholarship and pleasure.
Therefore I begin my text on intracultural theatre as a game, a game which is multi-layered, multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. I do this because by playing with the idea of the culture we live in and of the art we create, a culture which is multi-cultural and, I would say, poly-cultural, we should search for its roots in game theory. In this text, the game is the model for the establishment of the theory of intraculturalism. As the prominent Dutch philosopher Johan Huizinga puts it, the game is older than culture since, regardless of the fact that the term culture is insufficiently varied, it always involves human society; animals did not wait for the humans to teach them how to play (Huizinga, 2003:85). I make this digression on the game intentionally because my purpose is to clarify the explications that follow.
The theatre is a kind of game. Both the theory of the theatre and theatrology set the rules. This could be only one of the perspectives on the phenomenon of the theatrical work of art, which is in this context essential and indispensable. This text is aimed at defining the concept of intracultural theatre situated somewhere above multicultural and intercultural theatre, its potential application to the Macedonian situation, the elaboration of the idea of the ideal theatre and the possibilities for the exploration of intraculturalism in the Macedonian theatre. Although this appears to be a wide subject, I believe that it deserves more than one text in which it would be explored and elaborated.
2. Intracultural Theatre: Theoretical Explication
In order to make the approach to the concept of the intracultural theatre less elaborate, I would first like to draw attention to the basic ideas concerning the multicultural and intercultural theatres. These are the initial coordinates of the research that preceded this text. The beginning of the game involved consultations with a number of researchers of this phenomenon and authorities on this subject. The elaboration of the idea, the theory and its potential application are the result of my discussions with them and of my playing with texts, studies and books by a number of relevant authors consulted.
The game began with the essay The Grammar of the Feet in the collection entitled Way of Acting (1985) by the famous Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki, in which he quotes an opinion with which he himself does not agree; he gives an account of how he eventually decided to form his own troupe in which he could put into practice his ideas about the theatre. According to the opinion which he had to confront throughout his long career, in a particular period of world theatre history, plays could be performed only within homogenous cultures (and these are few, if any); according to that claim, this was due to our not being familiar with other cultures. To Tadashi Suzuki, and not only to him, but to the large family of other supporters of his idea, cultures are not homogenous, they are polyphonic. Polyphonic cultures contain the characteristics of the native culture from which they originate, but are consumed only as a whole and therefore sound as a polyphony in which the chaos of polysemy is replaced by an order of links between cultures, i.e., with interculturalism. In order to alleviate the theoretical explication of the intracultural theatre I take as my point of departure Suzukis opinion that it is not important to perform plays for homogenous cultures, but that it is of vital importance to explore all these cultures so that they can become our and familiar, and not unknown and strange.
The investigation of most of the cultures that are in our focus from the aspect of artistic creation, theoretical elaboration and their dissemination into theatrical works of art can be carried out from a number of perspectives, such as those of multiculturalism, interculturalism, transculturalism, intraculturalism, etc.
In one of the dictionaries of theatrical theory intraculturalism is defined as a specific philosophical and aesthetic perspective of the system of culture which involves the inclusion and activation of various cultures within a single concept. Unlike multiculturalism, it is a condition in which various cultures must, of necessity, come in touch. (www.mactheatre.edu.mk/Novi prilozi/Recnik na teorisko-teatroloski termini /interkulturalnost).
Therefore, in multicultural performances, native cultural signs exist simultaneously, one by the other, and do not interfere, but represent a politically correct exhibition of poly-cultural values. It is a theatre whose original idea is to transfer the values of other cultures without becoming familiar with them, without observing them and then transporting them from one culture to other. This stands in contrast to the intercultural theatre, which the dictionary mentioned above defines as the theatre focused on the search for obliterated and subordinated national traditions with the purpose of achieving a theatrical style in which the neglected origins will be given an opportunity to struggle for a better position in their relation with external influences (www.mactheatre.edu.mk/ Novi prilozi/Recnik na teorisko-teatroloski termini /interkulturen teatar). More precisely, the intercultural theatre involves studying, exploration, adoption and exchange between two or more cultures, and that can be easily identified. The intercultural theatre is a theatre of explorers, mainly theatre directors, to whom other cultures are a challenge which they tackle in order to get to know better their own culture.
So, where does the intracultural theatre come in? The idea of intracultural theatre is in direct relation with the intercultural theatre. On this occasion, we will observe it as the site where the elements of the native culture are explored, studied, elaborated and analysed in the context of other cultures. The process is irreversible. This means that we do not take other cultures as a starting position to get to know ourselves better (intercultural theatre) but we perceive our culture as a possibility for something universal, something which is not monocentric (as we could arrogantly put it, our one and only) but a culture which is ours, which is mine and which has the same elements as the majority of word cultures. This does not involve depersonalisation of the native culture, but a creation of a polyphonic culture based on Eugenio Barbas principle of similar principles - different performances. This idea is very practical due to the ritual and magic roots of the theatre and its generally accepted syncretism. This is so because the theatre is in its very nature varied, polyphonic, dependent on various factors and thus, per se, more available to exploration within the framework of various cultures. The theatrical performance consists of a number of participants, each with their own culture or, if they belong to a homogenous culture, each with their own understanding of the concept of culture. The intracultural theatre explores its own domain and exhibits the results of such research during the performance. The exploration of the intracultural theatre is always the logical consequence of the intercultural theatre. Therefore my text, too, is in correlation with the subject of this conference.
Intraculturalism is a specific model of the multicultural concept in a specific culture (www.mactheatre.edu.mk/Noviprilozi/Recnik na teorisko-teatroloski termini /interkulturalnost). If multiculturalism promotes differences between cultures in a society, then intraculturalism upholds the idea of sameness (the same elements) in cultures as the presence of other cultures in a particular society. Intraculturalism stands in fundamental opposition to the vulgarisation of multiculturalism: in contrast to its destructiveness, it promotes a positive approach. In other words, intraculturalism promotes the principle of sameness in different cultures, which is a specific form of the equation of differences. Hence, the simultaneous awareness of belonging to ones own (=different) group and a wider cultural milieu or cultural structure (www.mactheatre.edu.mk/Novi prilozi/Recnik na teorisko-teatroloski termini /interkulturalnost). It is on the basis of this definition that the concept of an intracultural theatre can be formed and determined.
The intracultural theatre is a specific form of theatrical performance which is focused on the detection, observation, elaboration and, above all, artistic creation of the homogenous elements of a culture in relation to polyphonic cultures. This does not mean that the elements of different cultures are reduced to a single one, but that they are studied and accepted by several different cultures as the same. I would like to clarify this statement with a simple example. If in a theatrical performance the directors concept is focused on the placing of the signs of is native culture on the level equal to that of the cultures of other participants (actors, stage designers, costume designers, musicians, stage hands, etc.) then his production will be intracultural. Of course, it must be preceded by the exploration of the issues of intraculturalism, an act which is required in order to introduce the awareness of intraculturalism.
The intracultural theatre is the model of the theatre of the 21st century. This is so because of the constantly growing possibilities of communication. We are speaking of the global Internet communication which is not closed within the three walls, with the audience watching from the perspective of the fourth wall of the traditional stage box. This is the theatre of the new kids on the block who share their fast thinking with the members of all world cultures and who present their own culture as part of the global world culture without clipping its wings; on the contrary, they grow new wings in order to surmount the obstacles more easily.
If, as Bonnie Maranca puts it, in the last decades of the 20th century interculturalism was a state of mind or way of working, then intraculturalism will be a way of life and a state of mind and emotions in the new age. In fact, I will take a radical position and say, ignoring political correctness, that the intracultural theatre is the model of the ideal theatre of the 21st century.
3. On the Ideal Theatre of the 21st Century
The concepts of the intracultural theatre and the ideal theatre of the 21st century are interconnected and intertwined. Antonen Artauds concept, or better said, vision of the theatre probably lies somewhere between these two concepts. If the intercultural theatre is the theatrical model and basis of the intracultural theatre, then Artauds vision of the theatre as cruel, basic and artistic can be freely assumed to be the basis of the ideal theatre of the 21st century.
These concepts should be linked in a number of ways in the domain if interculturalism as well. When I speak of the ideal theatre of the 21st century, I have in mind one of the possible directions in which the theatre could develop. I do not want to sound radical, but I have in mind breaking the ties with certain traditional chains of lethargy which characterize the theatre we live in today. Therefore, the intercultural theatre is a proper point of departure in the consideration of the intracultural theatre as the ideal theatre of the 21st century.
I would not like to enter into philosophical disputes over what the ideal theatre could and should be like. I only believe that it could be best defined as the most probable kind of theatre and a theatre which is the most appropriate for the basic theatre nuclei. It is ideal NOT from the point of view of the theoretician/critic/practitioner, but ONLY and SOLELY from the point of view of the THEATRE. In brief, we should have THEATRE FOR THEATRE. I would define it in the simplest terms with the help of Peter Brooks images of immediate theatre or Jerzy Grotowskis poor theatre. Both of these respected 20th century theatre directors (and much more than that) provided us, theoreticians and practitioners, with the foundation for our consideration of whether it is possible to create an intracultural theatre as a model for the ideal theatre of the new age.
In this context, I would like to refer to a view which is in the context of my considerations expressed above, a view based on quite contrary principles. Writing on the reasons why he decided to edit the book entitled Acting (Re) Considering: Theories and Practices (1995), Professor Phillip B. Zarilli from the University of Wisconsin articulates one of the ideas on the mixing of not only cultures, but theory and practice as well. Although focused only on acting, the collection of essays was to me a textbook from which I extracted the threads for weaving the concept of the intracultural theatre. In his General Introduction, Phillip B. Zarilli states the following: There are many languages and discourses of acting, each of them written/spoken from a single point of view. Theoreticians often talk to theoreticians, practitioners only to practitioners. Very rarely do they talk to each other He concludes by saying that, from this point of view, theatre-making is a means of socio-cultural practice. As such, it is not an innocent or naive activity separate from or above or beyond everyday reality, history, politics or economics. (Zarilli, 1995:1)
And that is the beginning. The main word is communication. The basis of every communication is exchange. If in the intercultural theatre it is important to travel, adopt and exchange, then in the intercultural theatre it has already been done and only superstructure remains to be added. On the basis of the awareness of the sameness between cultures (since, as Edward Said puts it, todays society is polyphonic) the consideration of the intracultural theatre should be placed within the framework of the native culture. Theory is always better consumed if it is practically applied and therefore I would like to elaborate some examples from the Macedonian theatre.
4. Macedonian Examples: Only Two, But Not Alone
Since the first part of the title of this text refers to the exploration of recent Macedonian theatrical matters, I would like to deal with this part of the story as well. Macedonian theatre people rarely tackle intraculturalism. The examples are few, and must therefore be cautiously explored if an at first glance subtle, but ontologically radical difference is to be made in the treatment of the varied cultures in contemporary Macedonian theatrical practice. The examples are often related to non-institutional performances and are frequently led by the idea of creating complete theatre whose poetics is in correlation with the person who manages the institution. In order to develop the idea of intraculturalism, there must be an awareness of the creation of a complete work of art or Gesamtkunstwerk. I feel free to claim, from the position of a young neophyte who has gradually been discovering intraculturalism in the Macedonian theatre, that few directors are important in its actualisation. Of course, this form of artistic expression also takes place within the context of the 'directors theatre'. This manner of theatre-making is still relevant and useful. One of the directors I have in mind is more focused, among other things, on the research and study of intercultural theatre, while the other still works within the context of the idea of intraculturalism, although he does not impose it on the manner of work of his theatre. These examples are interesting, because they are examples of two different ways of interpreting intraculturalism. The man who likes to research, travel, exchange and interpret things with deep insight is Vladimir Milcin. In his exploration of the theatre he is not exclusively focused on a specific period important to his poetics; here I have in mind several separate, but not random examples of intraculturalism. I would like to refer to some of his productions, but before I produce a list which would obscure things rather then explain them, I would like to mention that I have studied Vladimir Milcins productions on a number of occasions, primarily in my MA thesis entitled Macedonian Post Modern Theatre. Yet intracultural theatre, too, can be analysed as one of the attributes of Post Modern theatre because we are dealing with classification according to two different criteria (theatre poetics and practice in correlation with spatio-temporal contexts). Milcin begins his exploration of intraculturalism with the play Skici od predanieto Kainavelsko, based on two collections of poems by Slavko Janevski, Evangelie po Itar Pejo and Kainavelia, performed by the actors of the Kaj Sveti Nikita Goltarot theatre. This performance was an example of researched intraculturalism in accordance with the then relevant explorations of renowned director-travellers. However, this play is not intracultural in terms of theoretical determinants. Milcins second great step in the exploration of intraculturalism naturally not a direct one, but the result of certain personal efforts in the creation of a self-aware and organized theatre - are the plays Kaludericki tisini by Slobodan Snajder (Bitola National Theatre, 1987), Spiro Crna by Blagoja Risteski Platnar (Vojdan Cernodrinski National Theatre, 1989) and Krik by Blaze Minevski (Macedonian National Theatre, 1991) and, among others, Dervis i smrtta by Mesa Selimovic in its two versions: in 1985 on the stage of the then Theatre of the Autonomous Province Albanian Drama in Pristina, with Istref Begoli in the role of Ahmed Nurudin, and in 2003, on the stage of the Albanian Theatre in Skopje, with Refet Abazi in the same role.
In the plays directed by Ljupco Gjeorgievski based on patterns from traditional Macedonian folk life (Begalka, 1995, Makedonska krvava svadba, 1999, Parite se otepuvacka, 2002) an implicit interest in the exploration of the native culture can be detected, as well as its presentation in the context of world culture. However, it should be noted that in these performances intraculturalism, which is in its embryonic form, is the result of the directors personal affinities.
The director to whom I would like to give special attention is Rahim Burhan and his Romany Pralipe Theatre. Dr. Jelena Luzina, who has studied this theatre on a number of occasions, raises the question as to what kind of theatre the Pralipe in fact is. Her reply is highly useful for the objective of this text: In terms of its ethnic/cultural and linguistic affiliation, this theatre is Romany; in its organization, it is extra-institutional/alternative; it is directors theatre according to the theatrical model that it follows and according to the poetics that it builds and promotes; according to its scenic/theatrical expression, it is authentic; it is Macedonian in its origin; at present, it is German, according to its location; it is intercultural in terms of its approach/attitude to every authentic tradition (not only Romany, but primarily Romany); it is international in its mission (Luzina 2004/www.mactheatre.edu.mk/teatar tekst/Teatar na drugite jazici-Interkulturalen teatar). Explorations of this type of theatre have resulted in a complex body of material on the basis of which the foundations of intracultural theatre can be laid, and which includes the following elements:
- a guru director around whom the theatrical troupe gathers;
- the troupe functions as a brotherhood;
- the subject of research is the personal native culture in correlation with world culture;
- the results are shown, again, through the performance.
Although this model has been familiar since the time of the greatest directors of the 20th century, such as Stanislavski, Meyerhold, Brecht and Grotowski, it has also been practiced as the model for the creation of intracultural theatre. On this occasion, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this text is, in its own way, a primary confrontation with this phenomenon from the theatrical point of view.
The two performances of Federico Garcia Lorcas Blood Wedding by the Pralipe Theatre, in Macedonia in 1973 and in Germany in 1991, can be seen as a case in point. The directors personal account included in the Research Report on the 35th anniversary of the Pralipe Romany Theatre prepared by Rusomir Bogdanovski is a most impressive testimony in this regard. The entry on Blood Wedding runs as follows: RATVALE BIJAVA (Blood Wedding) by F.G. Lorca; first performance: 1973; language: Romany. We have already rehearsed at the Youth Cultural Centre. I made friends with Iso Rusi. He backed us there all the time. We stayed at the Youth Cultural Centre from this performance until the new version with which we came to Germany. It was sheer courage to dare translate the play into Romany. At that time very few writers wrote in Romany. To us, as Romanies, it was of great importance to speak in our language on the stage. But regardless of that, I took great care over every detail in the performance. Krum Stojanov, the actor from the Drama Theatre, made the stage design. He even gave me a small-scale model of it. I was holding a model in my hands for the first time! He even came to the rehearsal! We made the stage design as best as we could, and on the publicity poster was Krum Stojanovs name as stage designer! The difference between this performance and the second, except for the stage design, acting, stage metaphors and the play with props, is precisely in the radical cuts. I always search for a sort of unity between the Oriental and European theatre from my own point of view. I give it a kind of interpretation of my own, there is no recipe for it. The play with the props is very important to me. We made the translation together. I never work alone on the translation. I always ask someone to do the first version. (See Research Report for the project Intercultural Theatre: Theatre of Differences, entry 126.96.36.199.)
I quote Rahim Burhan in full since the account that he gives of his practical work can be used as the basis for a theoretical elaboration of the issue of intraculturalism. Firstly, we have here a specific culture, that of the Romany people, in whose genetic code the gene of nomadism dominates, and non-belonging to any state, nation, or system. Secondly, their theatre performed a play by Lorca, a specific poet who belongs to the Spanish culture and whose concept may be close to that of the Romany culture since it is characterised by the basic emotions of Eros and Thanatos emotions of passion. The Pralipe Romany Theatre worked until 1991 in Macedonia as an independent and alternative theatrical troupe gathered around its guru Rahim Burhan, to whom theatrical creation is an emotional construction, a personal commitment, intuition and talent. Here we do not have a case of conscious exploration which is based on scholarship or guided by familiar theoretical instruments. Here lies the significance of the rich experience of this theatre. Both Rahim Burhan and Vladimir Milcin create a radical change in the theatre and search for its intraculturalism from the position of gurus. A committed and direct theatre, as Peter Brook puts it, requires a leader, someone who can feel the theatre and can situate it within a context from a personal point of view.
The purpose of this text is not to marginalize the work of other theatre directors in the Macedonian theatre, but only to point to the possibilities of offering a perspective for a new theatre in the context of new world trends, not only in the theatre, but in culture in general.
5. The Dicovery of the Magic Formula: Intracultural Incantations
The examples discussed above indicate that intracultural theatre can be explored in the Macedonian theatre as well. However, it should be emphasized that we are speaking of an exceptionally subtle way of life where a distinction should be made between a number of traditional images of the theatre and manners of acting, bearing in mind, at the same time, all aspects of the fashion in which a theatrical performance is created. Potential researchers of the intracultural theatre should consider the following elements:
- it has been confirmed as the theatre of the new age;
- it is part of the directors theatre;
- it is guided by a guru director and develops into a troupe/brotherhood;
- it explores the native culture and places it within a network for the purpose of comparing it with world cultures;
- it explores the sameness between the native and other cultures;
- it studies theatrical anthropologists;
- it develops as a personal and emotional creation of the director and the troupe.
Even in its embryonic stages, the intracultural theatre emerges as a possible site for the exploration of a number of forms in the context of polyphonic cultures which have created the theatre of the new age. The Macedonian theatre, too, can join the network of new theatrical forms perceived as superstructures in relation to the basic monocultural dimension. The purpose of this text has been to give an impetus to and elaborate on intraculturalism from a naked theoretical perspective which could pave the way for wider research. If we want to define the place held by intracultural theatre, I would say that, physically, it is at the top of the pyramid formed by the monocultural theatre (base), multicultural theatre (first level) and intercultural theatre (second level). This does not imply literal assessment of the respective types of theatre since we are talking about art, and not a sports competition. However, this is a kind of theatre made of emotion, insight, passion and personal exploration. It is a theatre which corresponds with the times and technical potential. It is a theatre which constantly re-examines itself because the time in which it is created does not stand still, but moves and is measured in bytes. This is not a manifesto of the new theatre, but the personal view of a theatrologist of the direction in which the theatre, the ideal theatre of the new age, is going.
Obviously, the actors will do the rest!
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