In the series about the productions within the main Festival programme featuring international and Slovak theatres, created in cooperation with the curators, we will gradually introduce individual productions from the beginning of the Festival. First Responses … are largely ecological. We shall present take on the trilogy Mining Stories, Pleasant Island and Out of Blue by the Belgian artists Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere, and Miro Zwiefelhofer’s notes on the documentary project from the Zvolen theatre We Are the Land [Sme krajina].
The Belgian project takes an uncommon form – lecture performance. It comprises three separate works: Mining Stories, Pleasant Island and Out of Blue. It brings to light meticulously researched and unknown ecological topics in three stories.
In November 2015, a dam containing toxic mining waste collapsed in southern Brazil, a few kilometres from where Silke comes from. Massive mudslide destroyed several villages located below the dam. The environmental pollution and ecological consequences were the greatest ever recorded. Based on recordings from interviews in the field, the performance Mining Stories brings multiple perspectives on the consequences of the disaster.
The island of Nauru, which European explorers named Pleasant Island, was severely affected by colonisation, capitalism, migration and ecological issues, the consequences of which continue to this day. Nauru is currently best known for hosting Australia’s refugee detention centres. This prompted the local government to ban most journalists and researchers from the island in an attempt to prevent the spread of bad news. One of them is the likelihood that the island gets swallowed by the ocean as the sea level continues to rise.
We seem to know more about the surface of the Moon than about the bottom of the ocean. In fact, only 10 percent of the world’s ocean floor has been charted and explored. The performance Out of the Blue focuses on the ecological threat of deep-sea mining. As resources on land become increasingly scarce and overexploited, mining companies are turning to the ocean.
The Jozef Gregor Tajovský Theatre in Zvolen is on the rise, attacking and overcoming its utmost artistic limits. Director, author and performer Petra Tejnorová is an extraordinary artist and major name on the Czech independent scene. The creative merger brings about an exceptional documentary theatre. With the author and dramaturge Marta Ljubková and the team, it explores environmentalism, civic engagement and an individual’s responsibility for his or her surroundings in an original project and author’s text about the never-made water work Slatinka. The theatre says on its website: “Slatinka is an ecological, though mainly a socio-political reflection of the way we live. It is seven decades of searching, finding and losing, it is a drama of civic responsibility and individual destinies, a drama of the river and its valley.” The production We are the Land is a stage essay about the country of which we are a part, based on a variety of documentary material: period materials, records of discussions, memories of monuments and actors.