The Prague Crossroads international festival aims primarily to bring to Prague plays that respond to the current social situation in the world in innovative ways. Indeed, constant confrontation with foreign theatre, in its various forms, is one of the most important means of cultivating the domestic theatre scene – and hence the taste of Czech theatregoers. The comparison with different approaches is very beneficial for theatre as its development in fact reflects social changes and, in many aspects, it is situated in the social context. The purpose of the festival is to provide an opportunity to look around and get acquainted with remarkable authors whose work has not yet been presented in the Czech Republic, rather than copying new trends or imitating foreign patters.
The idea common to all the performances shown at this year's festival, which we set last year and intend to follow in the future, is that the presented pieces should relate to the present and respond to the mood of our contemporaries. The Polish Teatr Rozmaitości from Warsaw will open the festival week. The directress Anna Karasińska brings her performance Fantasia, where six actors are given instructions on the fly as to who they shall become on the stage. Rather than a psychological portrait, this is a game involving words, the performer's physical presence and the viewers' imagination – can all these elements meet and create a miraculous spectacle?
Another star is the Austrian-French choreographer and directress Gisèle Vienne, who will present her project The Ventriloquist Convention, a performance she created in co-operation with puppeteers of the Puppentheatre in Halle. This is no fairy tale, but a reconstruction of a regular ventriloquists meeting where bodies are separated from voices and the borderline between the animator and the animated blurred, dangerously reminding us of the current world situation.
Flora Détraz, too, explores the theme of puppets in her dance performance without movement, Muyte Maker. Four female dancers of the Pli group sit at the table, tightened to the ceiling with their hair, and communicate with the audience through minimal movements – and very intense facial expressions.
On the contrary, in the play Three Sisters by the German directress Susanne Kennedy, which premiered in Kammerspiele Munich in spring 2019, the actors have to refrain from any facial expression altogether. The author uses methods that deny psychological acting, yet she manages to create intense atmosphere: actors hidden behind masks, limited gestures, reproduced sound – a strangely alienate world reminding of an intense rite...
The New Stage – building B hosts two projects this year, whose main theme is sound – the first one, All Ears by Kate McIntosh, who comes from New Zealand and works in Belgium, sets up acoustic experiments directly with the audience in the theatre; the second, ironically titled Happy New Fear, is a scenic concert directed by Rima Najdi, featuring experimental music, sound art and live radio drama that follows Madame Bomba and her search for her lover...
The festival further offers meetings with the authors after each performance, accompanying discourses and other events that will transform the New Stage, for the third time, into a space of truly living theatre.