Global Spotlight

Compiled by Nicole Estvanik Taylor in the September 2010 issue of American Theatre magazine. (View Archives)

LONDON, ENGLAND, AND SHANGHAI, CHINA

KIEV, UKRAINE

KAMPALA, UGANDA

PARIS, FRANCE

NITRA, SLOVAKIA

HAARLEM, NETHERLANDS

GRAZ, AUSTRIA

LONDON, ENGLAND, AND SHANGHAI, CHINA

Orientations Trilogy: The British company Border Crossings is performing Re-Orientations, the final chapter of its ensemble-created Orientations Trilogy, at London's Soho Theatre this month, followed by a trip to Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre in October. The intercultural company's publishing arm will also issue the scripts of all three plays in the trilogy this month. Part one, Orientations, is set in India and uses a traditional all-male performance form called Yakshagana, while part two, Dis-Orientations, looks to China and its all-female tradition of Shanghai Yueju. The third play unites the Indian and Chinese storylines with a Swedish one. Artistic director Michael Walling has written of the piece, which caps off work that began in 2003: "It is very emphatically an expression of the contemporary world, where events happening in spaces very distant from one another are profoundly interdependent, to a degree that those involved can rarely understand." He adds, "Theatre like this can only be made by multiple voices. In the age of globalization, it isn't possible to give full expression to our way of living through the production of a single imagination. This doesn't mean that there is no space for the individual playwright—far from it—but it does mean that there is a new need emerging, the need for new theatre forms which allow the voices of many different people from many different spaces to speak simultaneously." (London: Sept. 7-25; Shanghai: Oct. 4-17; (44) 20-8829-8928; www.bordercrossings.org.uk)

KIEV, UKRAINE

Gogolfest: After Gogolfest's first few years of life at the Old Art Arsenal in Kiev, a loss of that expansive venue just a few months before this year's event sent its organizers scrambling. But Ukraine's premier multidisciplinary art attraction has found a new home and partner in the Dovzhenko Film Studio. An eight-day Ukrainian theatre showcase will feature Vilna Scena Theatre, Beregiv National Hungarian Theatre, National Dramatic Theatre, Novaya Scena Theatre, Lviv Academic Theatre, Kiev National Academic Theatre of Drama and Comedy and more. On the international side of things, Kiev's Dakh Theatre joins forces with tried-and-true spectacle-crafters La Fura dels Baus of Barcelona, for Multiverse, which involves some 100 participants and is scheduled to be broadcast live on local TV. Other international guests include Moscow's LIQUID Theatre, Paris's La Colline and Zurich's Plasma Theatre. Also, New York City's Yara Arts Group will return to Kiev, where it partially developed its musical piece Scythian Stones; the international collaboration incorporates traditional songs from Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan into the structure of an ancient Sumerian epic about the goddess Inanna's descent into the underworld. (Sept. 4-12; (38) 44-529-40-62; www.gogolfest.org.ua)

KAMPALA, UGANDA

Bayimba International Festival Of Music And Arts 2010: At Kampala's National Theatre, audiences get in free to this celebration, which features mostly Ugandan artists, along with a few East African and other international guests. On the theatre side of things, confirmed participants include Diamond Product and Capital Dramaters, both from Uganda, and Afri Remedy Arts for Development Trust, from Zimbabwe. It's the third such event from four-year-old Bayimba Cultural Foundation, founded to further the potential of the arts and creative arts industry in Uganda in terms of both social and economic development. Past festivals have also included artist workshops and debates on the role of culture and arts in society. (Sept. 17-19; (256) 414-591-670; www.bayimba.org)

PARIS, FRANCE

11th Festival of Iranian Theatre in Exile: This festival, held at Paris's Espace Quartier Latin, offers up several weeks of theatre, music, dance and poetry, in Persian, French or both. The festival features multiple generations of Iranian artists as well as Europeans, who have in common their efforts to express how it feels to be uprooted from one's own culture. Running concurrently is an exhibition by eight female visual artists. (Sept. 16-Oct. 3; (33) 1-45-42-20-16; www.artenexil.net)

NITRA, SLOVAKIA

Divadelná Nitra International Theatre Festival: At Divadelná Nitra, a platform for European arts, nontraditional is the norm. This year that's true in theme as well as style: "Out of the ordinary" is the operative phrase. Companies plumbing that territory include Belgian ensemble Les Ballets C. de la B., with the staging of a piece choreographed by Alain Platel to evoke unconscious and involuntary movement, from tics to convulsions; director Dmitriy Krymov's Opus No. 7, which by now needs little introduction to anyone who follows the international festival circuit; and Piece of Dirt, by Budapest's folk-inflected Béla Pintér and Company. Another highlight: The Slovak National Theatre will present its 2009 production HOLLYROTH, or Robert Roth Sings Ján Hollý, directed by Rastislav Ballek. The piece is a stylized meditation on the life of Hollý, who is an important figure to Slovaks: A writer, translator and Catholic priest of the late 18th and early 19th century, he was the first major poet to write in the newly standardized Slovak literary language, rather than sticking to the traditional Latin or Czech. With so much to chew over, the festival promises to turn the model of the late-night talkback on its head and host discussions over morning meals. Theatre people getting up in time for breakfast? Now that's out of the ordinary. (Sept. 24-29; (421) 37-6524-870; www.nitrafest.sk)

HAARLEM, NETHERLANDS

Madness And Arts Festival 2010: MAF lands in a different city every three years, and after Toronto (2003) and Münster, Germany (2006) had their turns, it's trotting round the globe to Haarlem. Several Dutch organizations for mental health care are getting involved; the city has a history of promoting public understanding of psychiatry through an event (Kwartiermakers Festival) that has been held several times over the last decade. Museums and orchestras are also among the participating institutions, setting the stage for an informed dialogue between disciplines of art and science. (Sept. 24-Oct. 3; taco@maf3.nl; www.mafhaarlem.nl)

GRAZ, AUSTRIA

Steirischer Herbst: Tricksters are celebrated at this year's festival for their virtuosity—a concept that may seem odd until you remember we have terms like "con artist." At the ongoing "Casino of Tricks," visitors can in fact sell their best tricks (of all kinds, from no-fail pick-up lines to sleight-of-hand) for cash. According to the German collective geheimagentur, which runs that endeavor, "Tricks are a special form of knowledge not concerned with the way the world is, but rather how it may be used or turned. Sticking to rules is a thing of the past."
    Stage tricks abound in This is how you will disappear, by France's Gisèle Vienne, who pushes naturalism to its limits with a tree-filled theatre and fog machines. U.S. director Annie Dorsen tries to teach new robots old tricks in Hello Hi There, in which Robby Garner's software drives two "chatbots" to test theories of artificial creativity. Mariano Pensotti of Argentina stages Encyclopaedia of unlived life, in which "everything comes true" in alphabetical order, courtesy of imaginative writers from around the world. And in C'est du Chinois, Amsterdam-based Hungarian theatremaker Edit Kaldor puts five people on stage to tell a story about a family under pressure. What's the trick there? The five people speak only Mandarin, so spectators whose Chinese-language skills are rusty must find new ways to connect and understand. Of course, that's precisely the point. (Sept. 24-Oct. 17; (43) 316-823-007-61; www.steirischerherbst.at)