A TRIP TO THE TRUTH
To perceive theatre as a trip to the truth is no mean feat. Needless to say, the difficulty does not rest with the first word – trip. It tells us that this journey is temporary and that one can return from it. It is not irrelevant that it is also a journey involving no obligations, undertaken of one’s free will and without great expectations. In this sense a production could certainly be understood as a kind of trip. .However, if this temporary, non-mandatory and voluntary trip is undertaken to arrive at the truth, then the subject becomes more than complex.
Truth has been one of the fundamental notions in philosophy ever since its inception at the very beginning of the European civilisation in the age of ancient Greeks.
Of course, in theatre’s rich and long history, no artist saw it as either a means or the arena where truth could be discovered in the philosophical sense. And yet, theatre can be seen as a pursuer of truth in the broadest sense of the word. When it gets serious, theatre tries, even risking the image of a Don Quixote, to communicate something about the reality, the phenomena of this reality and even its essence or, better said, essences.
Depending on how much this pursuit resembled the reality or represented this reality with its own resources, many periods in the life of theatre appeared and disappeared under different names, usually very close or even eponymous with streams in other arts, notably in literature: such as classicism, romantism, realism, naturalism, expressionism, surrealism, modernism... What a particular phenomenon in the theatre would come to be called was, and is, contingent on how this theatre practice related to the reality or, in other words, the truth.
Whatever its relation was in different periods of its age-long history, whether it addressed more the reality of a given moment or tried to delve into the poetic quest for the essence of the world and man’s existence under the visible surface of phenomenology, the theatre has always been a kind of a trip to the truth. And – the greater the crisis in a society, be it historical, economic or moral, the more exciting, the more dramatic, the more indispensable has been the theatre’s trip to the truth..
On the eve of 46th BITEF 2012
Jovan Ćirilov i Anja Suša