Bazaar festival presents three days of theater and dance

Finished productions and works in progress will be at three venues in Prague

The Bazaar theater and dance festival will run March 17–19 at three venues in Prague: Alfred ve dvoře, Studio Hrdinů and Studio Alta. The festival will present four complete works and six works-in-progress over the course of three days. The focus is on the indie scene and politically themed shows. And as in any bazaar, people can have a chance to see what is happening and what is new. All of the presentations will be English friendly, meaning they are in English, have surtitles or are nonverbal.

Bazaar festival presents performance works mostly from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. The motto of this year’s festival is “More Than Nation.”

The opening event is Damned Be the Traitor of His Homeland!, which will be at Studio Hrdinů on March 17. This will be the first time that a performance by Oliver Frljić, an acclaimed director from former Yugoslavia, will be presented in Prague. Frljić has recently run into trouble in Poland for allegedly violating their laws against blasphemy and inciting hatred. The case is under investigation and applies to different play than what will be see in Prague. He has also faced criticism at home from right-wing groups over his depiction of some events.

Damned Be the Traitor of His Homeland!, performed by the Mladinsko theatre ensemble, is Frljić’s interpretation of cruelty of the Yugoslav civil wars. The play examines the breakup of a country and also tensions caused within an acting group that has members of different ethnic backgrounds. The play tries to look at events from the perspectives of different groups, festival organizer and artistic director of Alfred ve dvoře theater Ewan McLaren said. In the play personal dramas from the disintegration of Yugoslavia become intertwined with historical ones. The title comes from the final verse of the Yugoslav national anthem.

Frljić said the performance attempts, through the inflation of death, through the incessant repetition of the unrepeatable, to emphasize a theater mechanism that always remains a representation of a certain outside reality. “With its compulsive attempts to stage collective death, this performance challenges the theatrical representation of death, as well as the idea of theater representation itself,” he said.

“The repetitions of death that appear on stage in almost regular intervals and after which the protagonists ‘come back to life’ expose the standstill of theater mechanisms of representation. It is these very mechanisms for the production of fiction – that most often remain concealed – that push out any thematic-content frame and thus remain the only visible thing,” he added.

Another play that Ewan McLaren recommended was Mothers of Steel, a science fiction piece set in the future. It is performed by Polish and a Romanian women, Agata Siniarska and Mădălina Dan. The piece looks at two artificial beings who travel in time back to when people experienced emotions. The project had been in development during a previous festival in Prague and returns as a finished piece.

It also plays on March 17 at Alfred ve dvoře.

The centerpiece of the festival is the Saturday Bazaar, which is a survey of excerpts of future dance and theater works by indie artists from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Israel, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia and elsewhere. There are six works in progress, which will be presented in two blocks.

On the closing day, McLaren pointed out the Bulgarian work Transformability, by director Willy Prager It is described as an anti-musical for an era with no fixed point of reference. Three dancers and performers explore the theoretical writings of Bulgarian philosopher and cultural theorist Boyan Manchev. As adapted for the stage, Manchev’s text becomes a dance manifesto of foolishness. Together, they take total flexibility and the dynamics of the young ensemble to extremes that, off-stage, would be devastating, the description states. It is at Alfred ve dvoře on March 18.

For more information on the festival, visit www.alfredvedvore.cz.

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