Phillippe Quesne once said that “a possible escape lies in dreaming and in poetry”. For the festival opening in Erlangen, he digs a parallel world in his piece “The Night of the Moles” in which blind creatures perform meaningless activities; eating, sleeping, dying, all the while reflecting human existence. But they also discover art and music! For the opening night in Nuremberg, Liquid Loft’s “Foreign Tongues” is all about polyphony, multilingualism and communication in a time of globalization. The first evening in Fürth will be opened by Puppentheater Magdeburg. Using reenactments of Fritz Lang’s legendary film “M – eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder”, the company explores all the mechanisms of propaganda and hysteria in a time of “alternative facts”.
Hot topics, sleepless nights, plans which are forged, rejected and then scooped up again: we are ready to present the programme of the 20th international figuren.theater.festival to you. With performances by groups like Stuffed Puppet, Puppentheater Halle, Theater Waidspeicher, Figurentheater Wilde & Vogel, Sandglass Theater, Les Ateliers du Spectacle, Yeung Faï, Bühne Cipolla and many more, the festival will ensure that all fans of classic puppet and object theatre get their money’s worth. Needcompany, Antje Pfundtner, Miet Warlop, Meinhardt Krauss Feigl, Kate McIntosh, Pieter Ampe, Berlin, Rimini Protokoll, Karla Kracht – one could also think this is a contemporary dance or avant-garde performance festival. 25 children’s theatre pieces from Thalias Kompagnons, to the Ensemble Materialtheater all the way to TJP Strasbourg – maybe a theatre festival for young audiences? Compagnie 111, Etienne Saglio, La Trócola Circo – Nouveau Cirque? Ariel Doron and Rabih Mroué deal with war and violence, Ulrike Quade and the O-Team will take on love and sexuality in times of virtual reality, a few companies such as Kulunka Teatro and the Schuberttheater Vienna will examine ageing in today’s society …
The international figuren.theater.festival is a whole bunch of festivals wrapped into one. Something we also wanted to express with the new logo and wording. It’s not only about the puppet theatre genre. The event-like nature and spectacularity of a festival, which lifts us out of our daily lives is the cornerstone of the programme. Everything that we present is of course – theatre. And the “Figur” is the binding element of our programme; a puppet, a mask, an object, the light, a projection, a sound, a machine … The puppet theatre theorist Anna Kavrakova-Lorenz describes it as the “Theatre of Things”, in France they call it the “Other Theatre”. It is a form of performance that deals with the theatre as a place “in between”, according to Silvia Brendenal, the long-standing director of the Schaubude Berlin, “the place between life and death, between the living and the dead, between the holy and profane, between gods and people.”
This year we are celebrating the 20th edition of the festival. In 1979 there was already a performance in Turkish shown in Erlangen. It’s amazing sometimes just how long certain processes in society take. Integration and inclusion are topics which the cultural promoters are intensely examining. While others are thinking about diversity, how to change what’s on offer in order to connect with as many people as possible, we have the good fortune to celebrate a genre that emits diversity – emotionally, visually and very often without language or words, and so is in itself already inclusive. This particular feature is something we look forward to highlighting even more in the future. Taking down the barriers – in a time where politicians are gaining popularity with simple slogans and freedom of opinion is being questioned – we are seeking to inspire even more people through art and culture. The theatre doesn’t necessarily offer easy answers, but it can contribute to a better future. It requires courage to grapple with the unknown, the willingness to understand and the free exchange of words, images and ideas.
We invite you to come along and join us!
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