Roma Theatre Retrospective 2021

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Celebrating Four Years of Contemporary, International Romani Theatre

Independent Theater Hungary, in partnership with HowlRound Theatre Commons, presents the Roma Theatre Retrospective 2021. An entirely virtual endeavor, this project features forty livestreamed events—twenty performances and interviews, each streamed twice—from seventy Romani artists in ten countries. These livestreams enact a climate and public health-conscious approach to theatremaking and viewing. An entirely virtual endeavor, the Retrospective anticipates carbon emissions similar to flying just six artists round-trip from New York to Budapest. Simultaneously, it invites international connection and access to this unique and robust performance community.

These performances were all initially featured during four editions of the Roma Heroes International Theater Festival in Budapest, which the Independent Theater Hungary has organized annually since 2017. The Roma Heroes International Theater Festival is the only international Roma theatre encounter in the world. It aims to showcase the diversity and value of Roma theatre and to draw attention to Roma communities by focusing on the challenges of their everyday heroes.

Although Romani or Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Europe, they still experience high levels of racism and social barriers. Additionally, Roma regularly face stereotypical representation in media and culture. Stigmas like these contribute to Roma theatre being relatively unknown despite more than a century of performance history within professional theatre groups in many countries. Join us in changing that narrative, and introduce yourself to the work of Roma artists from across Europe during the 2021 Retrospective.

Broadcast Schedule
1.week

My story

In these plays we can see everyday heroes through the authors’ personal stories that provide an insight into the diverse Roma community, the possibilities, challenges, joys and problems the Roma people.

Performances:

  • I Declare at My Own Risk – Alina Serban (19 October and 29 November)
  • Roma from the Duvet or Enter the Majority! – František Balog (20 October and 29 November)
  • Perkucigo – Zsolt Fekete-Lovas (21 October and 30 November)
  • Tell Them About Me – Mihaela Drăgan (22 October and 30 November)

 

2. week

Roma women

Within the theme ’strong women’ we present the stories of women who were able to change their destiny despite many hurdles. This way we show possible solutions to girls living in similar situations. Through the personal examples presented, they can gain insight into life stories where the main character is an active, determined dramatic hero.

Performances:

  • Gypsy Wheels – Nataliya Tsekova (26 October and 1 December)
  • Chameleon Girl – Tamás Szegedi and Márton Illés (27 October and 1 December)
  • Village Day – Rodrigó Balogh and Márton Illés (27 October and 1 December)
  • Bambina, The Queen of Flowers – Alex Fifea (29 October and 2 December)
3. week

Fortress Europe

What is it like living in an Austrian refugee camp and in an Italian ghetto without a job, money and opportunities? Why does a Roma artist prefer invisibility and anonymity? What can a parent who gets a letter stating that her children can no longer live in the country until then considered to be their homeland do? In the selected plays various life stories of European refugees make the picture of present Europe more nuanced.

Performances:

  • Heroes – Sandra Selimović and Simonida Selimović (2 November and 3 December)
  • I Can See You – Nebojša Marković and Rebecca Surber (3 November and 3 December)
  • Forever Holiday?! – Sandra Selimović, Simonida Selimović, and Joschla Weiss (4 November and 6 December)
  • Children of the Wind – Sebastiano Spinella (5 November and 6 December)
4.week

Different Perspectives

Which social issue do you consider so important that you would like to stand up for? Fighting against dictatorships, reforming the healthcare system or traditions, or the right for education? This week you can get to know heroes who are brave enough to stand up for what they believe in. The performances related to the above-mentioned themes highlight different viewpoints.

Performances:

  • With Profound Dignity – Sonia Carmona Tapia and Jaime Vicent Bohórquez (9 November and 7 December)
  • Shoddies – Rodrigó Balogh and Márton Illés (10 November and 7 December)
  • European Family – Richard O’Neill and Tamás Szegedi (11 November and 8 December)
  • Who Killed Szomna Grancsa? – Mihaela Drăgan (12 November and 8 December)
5. week

Change the System!

What kind of difficulties must a Roma child wishing to learn but deprived from the learning possibilities face? What would you do to defend the right of your people? What can we do to live in an accepting and open world?

Performances:

  • You Didn’t See Anything! – Alex Fifea and David Schwartz (16 November and 9 December)
  • It’s a Cultural Thing. Or is it? – Michael Collins (17 November and 9 December)
  • The Hardest Word – Richard O’Neill (18 November and 10 December)
  • Romacen – The Age of the Witch – Mihaela Drăgan (19 November and 10 December)

 

The 2021 Roma Theatre Retrospective is supported in part by a grant from the Trust for Mutual Understanding.