Young artists return to the competition

Returning to its original programming formula, the 19th edition of the
Interpretations Festival of the Art of Directing 2018 in Katowice is going to
present the works by the youngest generation of Polish theatre directors, who
will compete for the Laurel of Conrad Swinarski, the patron of the
Interpretations Festival.

We wanted the Interpretations to stand out from the many theatre festivals in
Poland with a clear programming idea; we did not want the Festival to present
an eclectic set of shows with one ideological label or another. The young
directors’ return to the competition seems to be an obvious move; after all, it is
them who shape the image of contemporary theatre; their audiences fill theatre
auditoriums to the last seat; and the dominant generation of young directors
speak to their own audience, which has called for and co-created the new theatre
language that they have since come to own.

Young directors and their audiences have created a community of emotions and
ideas that have gripped contemporary theatre. Consequently, we should
attentively look and listen to what and how young artists discuss in their shows.
These are the immensely important voices from artists shaped following the
computer revolution who, in their use of the old-new iconographic base,
establish and run dramatic narratives in a new and probably more interesting
way, transform the traditional directing tools, the process of creating a
performance, work with actors, the concept of actors’ goals and roles within a
show, the method of composing a performance, the relationship with classical
drama and the creation/emergence of performance text, not necessarily written
by the playwright.

The young artists have made a strong community of dramatic artists with
backgrounds related to various fields of art, including visual arts and cinema. As
if nomadic tribes, they tour theatrical Poland and appropriate increasingly more
realms of the public discourse and oftentimes address unwanted topics swept
under the carpet, omitted or banalized. It seems that they have a point in their
exploration of the pre-existing, safe areas of pedestalized literature, historical
Gordian knots, or the moral standstills. The truism that “The world changes and
theatre changes with it” resonates today in a completely different way. We
realize this daily as we see the news and hear the words my generations views as
the harbinger of imminent outburst of accumulated emotions in the believers of
clashing worldviews and religions. We would like so much to forget about those
historical breakthroughs of the past and their consequences as they have affected
us throughout the second part of the 20th century and to this day. The modern
day has brought back the anxiety in us; we feel disoriented, stunned with the
pace of changes and revaluations across all realms of life. Who, if not the young
artists of theatre, a field of art that intuitively senses significant threats, exposes
lies, falsity, always supports individuals helpless in the face of the aggressive
collective, defines phenomena that we find baffling, poignant or might not be
able to understand or name. Who, if not them, should bring our attention to how
they define human and the world of today. The histories of art, theatre and
dramaturgy show that it is usually young artists who are right. I believe that we
need this artistic dialogue with them so much these days.

What is the art of directing today? Is it still a specific profession, a tool to
materialize concepts, obsessions, anxieties, a path to master the imagination of
play and film audiences, the subordinates of corporations, followers of another
religion, citizens of a country, continent or the world? We live in a digital reality,
which we explore thanks to the media that allows unknown authors and directors
to spread their messages. How to tell the truth from manipulation? Is it still
possible today?
During a series of research sessions, panel discussions and meetings with theatre
artists, philosophers, cultural anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists, we
will address these and other questions. Apart from master and competition plays,
we are going to present Teatr Telewizji plays, records of performances, radio
plays and feature and documentary shorts. Some of these pieces have been
created by the representatives of the young generation of radio and film
directors.

Festival events will be complemented by a book with essays on the art of
directing theatre, radio plays and film, essays about the plays, radio plays and
films presented at the Interpretations, artists’ profiles, interviews and pieces
dedicated to the patron of the Interpretations Konrad Swinarski. The Festival
will be accompanied by the “Interpretations” daily, our online TV channel,
where we will regularly discuss festival events with the participants of the
Interpretations and our guests. I hope you will enjoy this edition of the
Interpretations.

Ingmar Villqist
Art Director of the 19th Interpretations Festival of the Art of Directing