The 56th Bitef edition will be held in Belgrade from 23rd September till 2nd October under the slogan We, the Heroes of Our Own Labour. The audience will have the opportunity to see nine performances in the main programme, coming from Germany, Belgium, Mexico, France, Serbia, Slovenia, and Great Britain. Among others, the programme presents productions by some of the most famous world authors, Katie Mitchell, Jan Martens, and Alexander Zeldin.
Zeldin’s performance Love will definitely be one of the festival’s big events. The coproduction between the author’s company and the Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe from Paris, it will be performed three times in Luka Beograd. After the London National Theatre, Paris Odéon-Théâtre, Schaubühne Berlin, and Wiener Festwochen, Bitef too will have the pleasure to show one of the most wanted productions in the world, after which the BBC produced a movie of the same name.
It is a part of Zeldin’s trilogy The Inequalities, which, as the title suggests, tackles social issues.
The performance Love follows the destinies of several people driven to a homeless shelter by adverse circumstances, loss of home, homeland, and/or job. The intensity of their destinies, excellent realistic acting, and a very convincing setting, make us believe it is based on documentary material although it is fiction, albeit a hyperrealist one. The title is in stark contrast with this raw and cruel material, but only seemingly so - no matter how dismal and difficult the lives of the protagonists may be, what characterizes them are human dignity and love for their close ones.
The performance is typically described by the critics as irresistible and entertaining, but also “uncomfortable” and emotional for the audience. According to them, the secret of Zeldin’s success is that he displays disadvantaged people in mutual tensions while emphasizing their kindness, dignity and love they feel, without being pathetic.
Alexander Zeldin is a British writer and director, born in 1985. Besides Great Britain, he has also worked in Russia, South Korea, and the Middle East. He has won some major awards in Great Britain, and has worked as a resident director in Birmingham theatre, the National Theatre in London and in Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe. The audiences know him by his extremely naturalist directions which resemble some sort of documentary theatre, and in which he explores the destinies of people from social margins.
The festival is traditionally supported by the Secretariat for Culture of the City of Belgrade and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, a well as the Delegation of EU to Serbia. With us, this year, are again the Goethe Institute, the British Council, and the French Institute in Belgrade. Bitef’s partner and friend is I&F Grupa, and within it McCann Beograd, the creative agency of the festival. The partners of the festival are Pošta Srbije and Generali Osiguranje Srbija, as well as a yearlong friend of the festival, Coca-Cola Hellenic Srbija.