TRUTH IN THEATRE
Truth is a notion which the humanity has been addressing through its philosophers ever since they first appeared. The philosophers have not found the solution for this simple word nor will they ever find it. Philosophy only asks fundamental questions and offers solutions characteristic of a particular age and at times its great thinkers even determine the fate of the world.
Art also addresses the so-called truth. This applies in particular to the theatre which is in part made of the same stuff as the reality: man of flesh and blood. And everything else that is man.
One of possible relations between theatre and truth is the exploration of the social reality of our days, yesterday, today and tomorrow, with theatrical means. On this occasion Bitef proposes the paradigm „Truth in Theatre” as the subject of its special programme organised for the first time, with two examples of the exploration of true events with theatrical means. It will be an opportunity for our and foreign artists and thinkers around the 42 Bitef 08 to give thought to this topic.
We thought up the subject by drawing on a production by South African artists and an American director entitled Truth in Translation after the film Lost in Translation and decided to call our special programme „Truth in Theatre”.
Jovan Ćirilov and Anja Suša
ROUND TABLE „TRUTH IN THEATRE”
27th September, 2008, 12:00 / Centre for Cultural Decontamination
Edited and moderated by: Ana Vujanović PhD
The special programme of 42 Bitef 08 „Truth in Theatre” will close with a round table discussion, the idea of which is to initiate a discourse which would analyse the interrelationship between reality in theatre and theatre in reality through the use of theoretical, philosophical and artistic categories.
The intention behind the round table is the examination of the status of truth or, more precisely, factual base and elements of reality in theatre and, on the other hand, the status of theatre as a unique form of social practice in the world that surrounds it: its truth and truthfulness, its reality and the potential to influence current social contexts as well as people’s intimate intellectual and emotional habits. Why this duality? Inspired by the play’s title Truth in translation and the selector’s metonymic intervention in the title of the special programme („Truth in theatre”), I turned to Walter Benjamin and his view of the task of a translator. It is very likely that his Marxist theoretical study, at the time, exerted the greatest influence on the understanding of translation as well as copying, no matter how objective the intermediary and no matter how truthful the representation and interpretation of one language through the medium of another. For Benjamin, there is no exact translation, because every language, just as any other social reality, forces us to face up to our own materiality and our own context, so the circle of translation never really stops but takes us through the uninterrupted mechanism of editing, improvement and additions to the contents and reality in which we live. With that in mind, the translating that we need to look at, and the one which really concerns us is, above all, translating which searches for suitable equivalents and references in the target language and the target audience, rather than blindly following the original, the source of which we are bound to lose anyway, the moment the translation process is initiated. Translation, rather than the original, is the real world which we inhabit, gaining amazing impetus in 20th and 21st centuries, through mass media and digital technology expansion. Therefore, the only thorough search for truth in theatre today, as an intermediary of reality, cannot be only the quest for the hidden meaning of the preceding reality, but has to become, at the same time, if not even more, a search for what the theatre delivers in the place of reality in which we carry on living.
The intention behind the round table is to, based on the exchange of ideas about the actual performances and the work behind them, initiate a wider discussion on the status of truth, factual base and reality in theatre as well as truthfulness of theatre fiction in the current social context. With that in mind, the round table session is divided into two segments. The first session is professional and includes critical reflections on performances and theoretical discourses discussing the topic in the context of contemporary theatre and performing arts, whilst the idea behind the second session is a more open discussion and exchange of ideas which would broaden the initial topic, incorporating various forms of media usage and representation of reality in contemporary art, culture and society.
Lecturers and participants in the discussion are: Jovan Ćirilov, Aleksandra Jovićević PhD, Hans-Thies Lehmann PhD, Borka Pavićević, Ivana Sajko, Miško Šuvaković PhD, Jelena Vesić, Bojan Djordjev MA, students of this year’s Bitef school of criticism „The Walking Critic”, the creators of Truth in Translation and Will You Ever Be Happy Again?, Mirka Janković i Iskra Gešoska, guests and audiences.
Round table duration: 12:00 – 13:30 (lectures) / 15’ interval / 13:45-15:00 (discussion)
Language: English (no translation)