Saturday, 10 September 2016

Theaterfestival Basel 2016

The Theaterfestival Basel took place in Basel from August 30 until September 11 2016 presenting 20 productions from different countries. We saw amazing performances, theatre, dance, nouveau cirque and installations.
We would like to present two of the shows, the first one is a Nouveau Cirque Performance called Face Nord by the artists from un loup pour l'homme.

The performance of the four artists was breathtaking, it really was a nouveau cirque unlike anything we have seen before. Accompanied by music by Franz Schubert they created delicate human sculptures and pyramids and showed us a performance where the four artists were sometimes partners but a moment later opponents. One thing we loved about the performance was how they managed to make the strong masculinity look so soft and vulnerable in some parts of the performance. They made a movement that is very strong and almost brutal look light as a feather and almost tender, and a sometimes even comic touch loosened up the tension between breakneck acts.
This created a very powerful and captivating atmosphere where the audience had to switch between holding the breath and laughing constantly.

The Apocalypse by the Polish director Michał Borczuch and the scriptwriter Tomasz Śpiewak was a 2 hour play on a constantly changing stage, showing us mercilessly a cultural apocalypse, a broken Europe failing to solve current problems like conflicts, a refugee crisis, the divide between rich and poor. The director does not show us beauty and harmony but the ugliness and hopelessness in these problems and the modern Europe's reaction to them. This is shown in many different scenes, like the actress who can not cry as her role requests when she is facing the homeless guy, as she has just seen him eating sandwiches from the catering a moment before. She keeps constantly claiming that she is not responsible for his situation and could not change it even if she wanted to. The photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Carter gets confronted by a man and a woman about his infamous photo of a vulture waiting to feed on a starving toddler. Was the girl saved? Is she alive? What happened after he took this picture?
Another scene there is a refugee we can not see as he is hidden under a cover but we hear him talking. He came from Ghana in a boat, he gets questioned and examined upon his arrival by a man wearing protective clothing, only touching him with gloves.
During the whole play the journalist Oriana Fallaci and the director Pier Paolo Pasolini keep entering the scene, talking in monologues and disappearing again.
Pasolinis last interview is reenacted word for word, he talks about how we all have become puppets of the system, how there are no longer humans but machines, colliding with each other from time to time. That we are all victims of the system, but at the same time we are all guilty.
The power of the actors is incredible, every scene is very strong, confronting the audience directly in a thought-provoking and straightforward way.
After the play, which already gives you a lot to think about, the director talks to the audience about the current situation in Poland, they are "being attacked from the inside and afraid of the cultural future of Poland", asking for our solidarity. Another very strong and touching speech, leaving us pensive and upset.

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