has been so splendid
in its questions and
so miserable in its
Srečko Kosovel, 1925
Eight years have passed since I became artistic and general manager, driven by great ambitions and brimming with artistic inspiration. Soon, we all drifted into the banking crisis, together we watched the territorial crises, and together we continue to witness the plight of the refugees. And now, on top of all these crises, we are all gripped by the clutches of the virus-related and climate crisis. During this period, a hundred new productions have been made. And we have remained committed to each other. Committed to theatre. In this period, many dear friends and colleagues have left us, some, sadly, for good. A terrible and irreparable loss. New ones have come and keep coming, new friends and new inspirations. Governments have changed in a quick succession, and even more rapidly the ministers of culture. Meanwhile, the Drama building, for all the efforts remains untouched, patiently awaiting renovation.
Throughout the years, I have expounded in the introductions to repertoire publications the issues and themes that we pursued when designing the programme and made them nodes or the common denominator of what stirred us, inspired us, drove us to creativity. We used to give titles to seasons highlighting a particular concern about the fact that certain feelings, certain concepts and standards had been undergoing complete transformation or even disappearing. We used to respond to a troubled time. The past season was called Flotation. The title proved to be almost visionary, as we found ourselves in a period when we could neither go forward nor back, a time when corona virus compelled us to stay put in front of computer screens. There, alongside our friends or work colleagues’ faces, drastic images of a rapidly changing world stared at us. The title Flotation could, unfortunately, be mirrored in the forthcoming season too. We find ourselves in a hard-to-decipher context and the fact is that we are bereft of a real point of reference. What could engage us more than our own close-up on a geopolitical and social backdrop that keeps changing on a momentarily basis? I keep wondering what those people will have to be like who are going to take over and inhabit this ambiguous future. Probably unlike us, who helped to bring about this treacherous present … I suspect that the glorification of the famous IQ will probably have to be replaced by the currently less appreciated emotional intelligence. And what is its basic building block? The basic building block of emotional intelligence is empathy. The ability to empathise with others. The ability to empathise is, as it happens, also basic prerequisite for being an artist. Maybe that is why I believe so strongly that art is the most important lifeline to all the myriad crises.
The new season has no particular title. It is simply: Drama is. With the help of plays and the thematic cues we have selected, we keep posing questions. We wonder whether, just like Frisch’s naïve everyman, Biedermann, we will perhaps continue passing matches to arsonists to set our house on fire. We wonder whether it is possible to compile a list of all brilliant things. Things that make life worth living. Will we be able ever again, like the brilliant master Chaplin, to ridicule with painful lucidity the machinery of monomania? Will we be able ever again to understand, to respect or at least tolerate diversity? Or else, will it have to be immediately tamed, withdrawn, killed? And above all, the question we have been asking ourselves for some time: will the artist ever be able to dream again?
From the point of view of basic organisation of life and everyday activity, we are, of course, awaiting with fear and trepidation how the virus will evolve. In what way and for how long will it continue to interfere with our work and social life? We, the organisers, have drawn up a plan in all seriousness and responsibility, to enable events to take place indoors, without exposing performers and members of the audience to the risk of infection. We hope our efforts will be considered when the decisions about events will be taken.
Let us not forget the ritual of inspirational coming together under the coat of arms on our proscenium. The coat of arms reads: Libertas.
I warmly welcome you and invite you to a new theatrical journey,