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Twenty Years After – Dramaturgy and Theatre in the Visegrad Countries and in Central-Eastern Europe

Slovak Cultural Institute, 26-28 November 2009 9.30 AM - 6.30 PM
Budapest, VIII. Rákóczi út 15.

In English and Hungarian with English and Hungarian simultaneous translation
Entrance free.

The program of the Contemporary Drama Festival Budapest traditionally offers a series of scientific events. In 2007 Professor Hans-Thies Lehmann led a week-long seminar on the questions of post-dramatic theatre and the festival hosted a conference in connection with the topic. In 2008 the symposium titled What Was There Before The After? dared to ask the most important questions regarding the theatrical elaboration of past, talking over our most recent histories. At the same time at the workshop titled Theatre.Criticism.Today led by Ian Herbert young critics discussed the main problems of writing quality theatre criticism. There are several publications tightly connected with the events. Hans-Thies Lehmann's book will be published in December 2009 in Hungarian with the cooperation of the festival, while the materials of last year's workshop and conference can be found in the periodicals Színház and Criticai Lapok. The organizers really hope to publish last year's and this year's conference material including the lectures and the edited transcripts of the roundtable-talks.

This series is continued in 2009. It seems evident to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the regime change in Central-Eastern-Europe with an investigation of the role of theatre art and the playwright in this social structure which has underwent fundamental changes. Is it intentional, is it even possible for theatre(art) to reflect on these changes and their effect, new problems emerging in our societies?

The novelties in the form and language of theatre art in the past twenty years made it clear that one cannot discuss theatre and dramatic texts apart from each other: investigating their problematic relations will clearly map a cross-section of changes in society and theatre art as well. The three-day conference aims to facilitate dialog and exchange of experiences of the young democracies in Central-Eastern-Europe (especially the four Visegrád countries: Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary), mapping similarities and striking differences alike.

The proposed topics emphasize three different aspects, while the different approaches and interpretations of the regime change and the experiences stemming from it will be present as a guideline. The scope is continuously reduced during the six panels: the first day investigates sociological aspects that are inevitable to define our subject matter and speak a common language. The second day focuses on the questions of dramatic texts asking the most imperative questions about the last twenty years: how do these texts deal with the new features, roles and problems of these past decades? The last day then questions the new methods of performance creation and theatrical text writing. Its focus is the future opportunities and perspectives of playwrights. The conference closes with a panel of case-studies of theatrical projects and plays, which aimed to set theatre art against the historical and social reality, while the final closing event is a roundtable discussion inquiring whether it is possible to divide the functions of playwright, dramaturge and director.

26th November  (Thursday)

9.30 Official opening

Milan Kurucz (Szlovák Cultural Institute), Mária Szilágyi (Contemporary Drama Festival Budapest)

10:00 – 12.30 1989 as a borderline – historical, sociological aspects related to theatre and playwrighting

Alice Georgescu (RO) Ending hope, starting fear

Jiri Adamek (CZ) What is the sense of contemporary theatre for today's society?

Anka Herbut (PL) The politics of the Involving art

Anja Bajda - Denis Poniz (SL) In Slovenia, the year 1989 happend 1991

Péter P. Müller (HU) Major Changes in Institutional Structure and Social Function of Hungarian Theatre

István Szabó (HU) The Regime went - the theatres remained. Changes in the unchangingness.

13.30 – 17:00 The metamorphosis of theatrical spaces and venues (the 'studio theatre fever' phenomenon)

László Bérczes (HU) Encounter or Consumption?

Iulia Popovici (RO) Act Theatre - the Rise and Fall of the First Private Theatre in Romania

Maja Hriesik (SK) Is Slovak Independent Theatre Forever Doomed to be a Squatter?

Natalia Yakubova (RU/HU) The Changing Notions of "Alternative Theatre" and "Repertory Theatre" over Last Two Decades in the Post-Communist Region

moderator: Attila Szabó (HU)


27th November (Friday)

9.30 – 13:00 'Glocal' (global + local) problems in the thematic choice of plays written after 1989, Nation Nationality Europe

Kamelia Nikolova (BG) Creative and Archaic Trends in Bulgarian Theatre

Anna Czékmány (HU) The Genesis of an Irresponsible Society - The Short History of the Hungarian National Theatre

Tereza Sieglova (SK) The Actual Problems and Media World in Contemporary Czech Theatre

Veronika Darida (HU) In Theatre Minority

Jasen Boko (HR) How New World order has influenced changes in subjects of play in New Europe

moderator: Romana Maliti (SK)


14.30 – 17:00 "OFF-section" international insight

David Peimer (ZA/USA/CZ) Post Revolution South African and Czech Theatre: Creativ Comparisons

Robert Gordon (UK) Harold Pinter's View of the 'New World Order' after 1989

Carol Martin (CA) Dramaturgy of the Real

Katalin Vecsey (USA/HU) Between Place and Time: Social and Cultural "Reality" of Post-Communist Hungary in the Contemporary American Drama Balaton

28th November (Saturday)

9.30 – 13:00 Changes of stage writing: from closet plays to disposable scenarios. The role of playwright, post-dramatic wave

Zsuzsa Radnóti (HU) Apocalypse Tomorrow - the Present and Past of our Society in the Contemporary Plays

Gordana Vnuk (HR) Misreading the Playwright

Daria Feherová (SK) The "Real" Contemporary Drama - Always Looking Back (In Anger)?

Alina Nelega (RO) Things that have to do with us: A Playwright's Notes on the Struggle for New Romanian Plays

14.30 – 17:00 Case-studies of norm-breaking encounters between theatre and reality

Anna Grusková (SK) Sarcophaguses and Cash Points - Collective Writing - Case Study

Attila Szabó (HU) A Palpable Fictive Reality

Kinga Anna Gajda (PL) Photo Theatre by Magda Hueckel

Kinga Boros (RO) 20/20 - Case Study

moderator: Tompa Andrea (HU)

17:00 – 18:00 Roundtable of playwrights

Péter Kárpáti (HU)

Márton Kiss (HU)

István Tasnádi (HU)

moderator: Annamária Radnai (HU)