The ELITES ended the Divadelná Nitra Theatre Festival 2017 with more than 6000 viewers altogether

02.10.2017 04:10

Standing ovations and star actors from the Threatre Company of the Slovak National Theatre ended the 26th international festival Divadelná Nitra on Tuesday evening with one of the most capturing plays – the ELITES. Irony and satire characterized the play about the creation of a powerful class that even today rule Slovakia. Directed by Jiří Havelka, it also covers the topics of #memory, #truth and #democracy.

The five-day theatrical feast (22nd – 26th September 2017) introduced tous10 plays from 7 countries (Belgium, Czech republic, Greece, Poland, USA, Slovenia, Slovakia) on its stage under the common thematic banner #FUNDAMENTALS. The main programme together with the accompanying events contemplated the fundamental values of human life and society.

The 14 performances within the main programme were visited by 3,650 viewers. The accompanying programme with 38 events scored an audience of 2000. 600 people participated on the discussions held in the morning and after the performances within the professional programme. Altogether, 6,250visitors attended the plays and events held during the whole year by the organisers of the festival. 






Diverse and inspirational edition

The 26th edition of the international festival Divadelná Nitra was diverse and inspirational, appealing to a variety of attendees and guests. The sympathetic, even enthusiastic responses of the audience during the plays testify for this, together with the creators and participants of the programmes. During the last discussions theatre professionals from various countries noted the diverse form of artworks presented on the festival, surpassing the boundaries of traditional drama, the ambition of the creators and the board of the festival to take risks regarding the themes and expressive means and the noticeably younger audience.

“Overlapping – geographically, culturally, and in age. Both in time, styles and various fields. The search for values as the crowning glory within the theme of the festival #fundamentals, represented in the visual as large word search puzzles showcased in every event venue. Divadelná Nitra 2017 enabled us to lead a dialogue with the current socio-political situation, as perceived by creators form various countries, whose work was a part of the festival. Their confessions, attitude and message strongly resonated with and brought added value to the public. Lively discussions of the spectators with the creators held after the plays introduced this year provided proof, that men of today are still interested in such dialogues.” said the festival director Darina Kárová, who came to the opening ceremony accompanied by the Slovak Minister of Culture Marek Maďarič.

Start in Tarantino´s style

The ceremonial introduction of the Divadelná Nitra 2017 festival brought to stage the work of Slovak Pavol Liška for the first time. He went to the USA 25 years ago and became famous. The Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, which he established with his partner Kelly Cooper in New York, belongs to one of the most awarded off-off broadway groups not only in the USA, but in Europe as well. After starring as guests on prestigious festivals, among which is the Festivale d´Avignon and the Theatertreffen in Berlin, they began Divadelná Nitra 2017on 22nd September with the play PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. In it, they explore and ironize the “American Dream” with a Tarantino´s style. The text combined “high” and “low”, mixing the banality of speech with philosophical references, delivered in an intense and masterful performance by the members of the EnKnapGroup dance theatre from Ljubljana, Slovenia, who come from six different countries (Great Britain, Sweden, Hungary, Slovenia, Belgium, Croatia). Their performance was rewarded with a standing ovation.

Crowded halls and standing ovations

The whole 26th edition of the festival carried the spirit of lasting applauses, lengthy and lively discussions after the performances, impactful theatrical experiences and surprises, and crowded halls.

Right on the second day the production ACTOR AND CARPENTER MAJER TALKS ABOUT THE STATE OF HIS HOMELAND, one of the most provocative and most awarded Czech playsfrom the Studio Hrdinů in Prague, received an extraordinary response. The monodrama casts the popular Czech actor Stanislav Majer, who accurately, meaningfully and soberly comments on the conditions in the Czech republic, its presidents and the people. The performance struck the audience in such way, that the discussion with the creators after the play lasted until midnight. 

The play performed on Sunday, BLACK BLACK WOODS, brought one of the apexes of the festival. The famous Czech Cirk La Putyka joined forces with the Greek-Slovak artist group Rootlessroot and during four hours of exquisite and physically challenging performance introduced the story about how each son fights with its father.

The audience viewed the meditative play performed by a real father and son pairing – Rostislav Novák, Jr. and Rostislav Novák, Sr.

Unique performancies

The festival Monday offered quite an unbelievable picture about two human fates called ZVIZDAĽ (Chernobyl so far, so close) produced by the BERLIN theatre group form Belgium. The production team visited a married couple in their late years for five years. Since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in 1986 they lived in seclusion in a contaminated area for almost three decades, on a place that everyone else left. The form of the performance was extraordinary as well, as it combined theatre with film. The audience sat on two sides of the film-screen, the documentary was accompanied by live shots of realistic replicas of the Ukrainian farm in different seasons.

Four actors with various levels of hearing impairment enabled the audience to see a world that is different from the worlds of French, German, or Polish. The performance of the Polish theatre Nowy Teatr JEDNO GESTO, which gained the prestigious main award on a Swiss festival right before the Divadelná Nitra festival and is considered to be one of the top ten most important Polish performances of the year, authentically portrays everyday situations that the deaf people face, for example a visit to the doctor or at a public office. Sign language gained aesthetic value on the premises of the theatre as it reminded us of dancing or miming. The discussion after the performance proved to be interesting as well, as it was held in five different sign languages and three European ones.

Sold out domestic works

The festival traditionally involved domestic works as well. They were chosen by this year’s curators of the Slovak programme appointed by the organizers of the festival: Miklós Forgács, the dramaturge of the Thália theatre in Košice and his colleague, director József Czajlik. The first standing ovation of the festival audience was claimed by the performance JÁNOŠÍK from the local Andrej Bagara Theatre on Saturday. It was an exploration of the Slovak national hero, uniquely conceived by the visionary director Rastislav Ballek. The visitors of the festival even travelled on Saturday evening, into the former king’s town of Bátovce. A unique, site-specific project took place on four different places there, created by the most distinct independent Slovak creators. Potôň Theatre, Debris Company, Med a prach and Sláva Daubnerová joined forces and under the management of Iveta Ditte Jurčová and Michal Ditte created the artwork MIRACLES. The audience returned from the search after miracles back to Nitra only after midnight. Sunday was marked by the performance of Rusyn artists from the Alexander Duchnovič Theatre in Prešov. They brought Dostoyevsky’s work POSSESSED in a vivacious portrayal under the direction of Braňo Mazúch, who we could also see on the stage.

The selection could not miss the winning play of the Nová drama 2017 festival WAR’S UNWOMANLY FACE from the Slovak Chamber Theatre Martin under the direction of Marián Pecko, which was based on the novel from the Nobel Prize laureate for the year 2015 Svetlana Alexijevič. Suggestively portrayed by the whole women ensemble of the theatre based in Martin with Jana Oľhová at the front, the audience could see stories of women who took part in the Second World War as soldiers in the first line.

Each festival day the public could meet with the creators personally and speak to them at the morning discussions called Breakfast with… and on the evening discussions right after the performances in the auditorium.

Rich accompanying events

The Divadelná Nitra international festival brought, even during the unfavourable weather during the weekend, three decades of accompanying events – exhibitions, films, concerts, discussions and events for children.

During the first early evening of the festival the music happening added a unique touch to the atmosphere. The sounds of shepherds signalling tools several meters high – trumpets and fujaras (overtone fipple flutes) came from different corners of the town square and the surrounding buildings, referencing within the theme of #FUNDAMENTALS the Slovak tradition and cultural heritage. During the festival a different town square in front of the Andreja Bagara Theatre was decorated with a large graffiti painting A Memory of Iraq, which was created by 55 children, healthy ones together with visually impaired ones and asylum seekers from Iraq within the integration project Darujem ti Tulipán (I’m Giving You a Tulip).

Large success with the children and their parents was also achieved by the sold-out plays of Little Red Riding Hood of Teatro Tatro in the Fairytale Hut on another townsquare.

Educational projects

Divadelná Nitragreeted young critics from the V4 and Eastern Partnership countries on their premises this year for the third time. The V4@Theatre Critics Residencyseminary for critical observation as a creative platform for theatre critics under 35 years old hosted 13 critics from 7 countries.

Divadelná Nitra 2017continued its year-round project that educates about theatre informally Ako na divadlo (How to Understand Theatre), that is active since the year 2008. Its two parts were attended by 41 high school and college students altogether.

Artists, technicians, volunteers…

Nitra was visited by 210 professionals – artists, production managers, technicians and other organizing forces from the 10 hosting groups within the main programme and other 40 technicians from both theatres based in Nitra, as well as other external co-workers that participated to ensure the realization of the programme.

The Divadelná Nitra 2017 festival was prepared by the organizing crew of 22 people. Even this year it couldn’t have managed without the help of volunteers, who are traditionally involved since the establishment of the festival. 70 young people partook in the organizing and added to the atmosphere of the festival.

Festival supported by