Photo: Jovica Drobnjak
The director Oliver Frljić will be a part of this year's edition of the festival with two performances - Six character in search for an author produced by Kerempuh Satirical Theatre and inspired by the famous drama by Luigi Pirandello and Gorki - Alternative for Germany? produced by the famous Maksim Gorki Theatre from Berlin. Both performances recognize and condemn the phenomenon of strengthening right-wing populism, xenophobia, intolerance and authoritarian regimes in Europe, as well as the world. Both performaces are also opposed to a phenomenon of the regime that breaks down democratic institutions and a system of human rights, all in conjunction with wild neoliberal capitalism. When we talk about Frljić’s work, as always, these pieces also re-examine the position of the theater in such an environment, its willingness and the ability to oppose it.
Expecting the upcoming festival, we asked Oliver a few questions about his emotions towards Bitef, but also about the performances that are a part of the main program, and what are his thoughts about this year title World Without Us.
What does the title World Without Us means for you?
Although human nature has been overtaking this poor planet for a long time, it rarely succeeded in realizing what we naively believed was the essence of the notion of man. The history of the human species is the history of dehumanization. In that sense, I understand this year's slogan Bitef.
What does it mean for you to be part of this year's Bitef?
Bitef is always a chance to meet people who had the strength and the need to emerge from the space of national narrow mindedness and to create a more universal language than an ethnocentric blunder which currently communicates a large part of Europe and the world.
The themes of a death and a memory are inevitable when we talk about the main program of this year's festival. In that sense, we have to ask you - how would you like people to remember you?
As a chronic atheist, I pray God every day to become a part of the collective forgetting when I die. I think that the biggest defeat would be any form of posthumous recognition of what I did or integration into any national corps. I have fought most of my life against the logic of the national blood, so I hope that when I come to a beautiful day, my death will not erase that fact. In other words - about the deceased all the worst.
Please describe your performance Gorki - Alternative for Germany? in one sentence?
The notion of the impossibility of democracy to stop fascism or deny its identity.
And your performance Six character in search for an author in one sentence?
Radical reading of Pirandell's classic in the context of Croatian right-wing populism.