Discussion about the connection between theatre(as also all other art practice) and life is as old as the hills. When an actor executes an action is this for “real” or is this imitation? When a performance happens in everyday space, is that closer to life? When a performance is staged in an architecturally modified space designated for the theatre, is it more like art?Why is it that the meaning of performance changes when it is staged in different material spaces? This is at the very heart of the practice of theatre making.
Performance in an actual space – fields, forests, ponds, buildings, factories, homes, seeks to alter the rules of the game of theatre. Everyday material presses upon the actors and their stories and forces them to respond to it, resist it, or harmonize with it. In any event, the way the spectators’ respond and the way the performers behave within that commonly used ordinary space, is altered.Everyday space is then employed in unfamiliar ways. Making both the action and space unfamiliar, strange, reassessed. Such stagings question behaviour and social codes. Codes are so manifestly inscribed in social spaces that to question them via performance is always a somewhat combustive activity.
As a member of the curatorial team I found these issues returning again again into our conversations as needs they must. Since of the frames within which this year’s ITFoK was conceptualized were theatre and the street. Performances that we viewed asked us to reimagine the street; cars, buses squares, crossroads, swimming pools were all thrown up in the air and recombined as theatre objects, scenery, reality.
Apart from this rubric new languages of performance—be it theatre with objects, puppets, and marionettes, or with large scale presences likes trucks or buses or ambulances made us plunge into the real word as it entered fiction, or as fiction entered the real world.
Thus performances that are part of this edition of ITFoK range from those in formal spaces, those played in architecturally defined space especially made for the theatre, like auditoriums, and those in everyday, found spaces, such as the street or park. Some plays are devised, some use already written up texts, others take flight from a classic in to unexpected areas, using no speech, only gibberish. The mark of this edition of ITFoK is the variousness of languages of theatre making in variousness of space.