New publication – see the full material at the end of the article
In the past months theaters around the World face numerous challenges because of lockdown. We reacted to these challenges with theater videos created directly for online surfaces, with outdoor hiking theater performances, and also with the video recording and online dissemination of traditional performances. We summarized our cases and methods in the publication ‘Theater in the Time of Corona’. We trust that our methods, experiences and suggestions can inspire the work of other theaters, too.
HOW TO DO ONLINE THEATER BY ISOLATED ACTORS?
When the lockdown started in March 2020 around Europe, just as many other businesses and services, theaters also had to put on hold their performances. In such a challenging period of time it seemed that theater lovers needed to remain without the strong emotional and intellectual support of the theater. Theater artists had to live without their work, which is a passion from one hand and also the source of their financial income on the other hand.
When the lockdown started in Hungary the Independent Theater Hungary planned a reading theater performance for the World Theater Day (on the 27th March 2020) on the play ‘Kosovo, mon Amour’ written by Ruzdija Sejdovic and Jovan Nikolic. How does hatred influence society? How can we stand up for our identity and values? The play deals with these topics. The Independent Theatre Hungary has paid tribute to the International Theatre Day for many years and the stage reading of Kosovo Mon Amour would have been introduced on this occasion, too. However, adjusting to the current situation, it is introduced in a new form: in a video series recorded by a smart phone.
Second Adventure – Work online on international level is European Family
International theater productions are usually very expensive. Above the basic costs related to the creation of a performance you also need to cover the expenses of travel, accommodation, per diem – too. For example the Gorki Theater in Berlin created a performance with international cooperation of Roma artists – The Roma Army – and from the budget of this performance – more Roma theaters could work for years and reach thousands of people in their communities. In our experimental case – which we would not like to compare with the above mentioned grandiose mainstream theater production – we wanted to do cooperation without traveling to each other.
European Family – Members of a Roma family live in different points when the lock-down comes. They can only communicate on video chat, and have to face losses, challenges in their isolated lives and also hidden conflicts and secrets among each other. It finally seems that only magic can help. All the four episodes of the online theater series are streamed together this time. The story is based on real stories Roma people faced during the time of the lockdown in diverse countries of Europe and the personal stories and improvisations of the artists, who created this piece together from their home countries connected only by internet and common passion for theater
The goal of the project is to create an online theater play recorded internationally via the actors. By that during the global pandemic we can still manage to execute the production for an independent theater play without the need of being together at the same location.
OUTDOOR WALKING THEATER
As the theaters were closed down, but outdoor activities were allowed to be realized in late spring and early summer 2020 in Hungary, we were the first theater in our country who were able to do an offline performance – actually a hiking theater one.
Lápos can be any village in Hungary today: with inhabitants who struggle for their daily living, better or worse but they are lovable residents. Misery-tourists visit the village day every year and the participants of the gastro-theatre performance meet real human tragedies in the pokey but inventive village. How much chance does a Gypsy woman have if she raises her child on her own without any opportunity to work? Where is the boundary between humanity and inhumanity? Similar questions arise when the tourists are walking on the lush side of Gellért Hill, Budapest during the performance and they can taste the special delicacies of the village during the premiere, too.
We would suggest the form of walking theater to initiatives, which want to move outfrom traditional theater venues, mobilize their audience and also work during some restrictions related Covid-19.
Full material: Theater_in_Time_of_Corona
The creation of this material has been supported by the European Cultural Foundation, the ERIAC and
the Badur Foundation.