Sonntag, 01. August 2021

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Theatrical Landscape of Bulgaria

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Theatrical Landscape of Bulgaria
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How Stanislawski fell into a coma and awoke again

by Violeta Detcheva

"The stone is inhabited. In the spacious nose and ear orifices, in the folds of the skin and uniform of the shattered image dwells the poorer population of the metropolis." (Heiner Müller). In Bulgarian theatre as well as in the other Eastern countries that inhabit the stone, radical changes took place – in its institutional structure, in the language on stage, in the preferred dramaturgy and in its relationship to the audience. The "new position" went through its great transformation in the 1990's. If the keyword was 'transformation' until 1990, it has been 'stability' for the past ten years. The theatre of the nineties used its performative experiences which it had gained in the second half of the 20th century and reacted to the consequences of socialism, as well as to the turmoil of the post communistic period. New directions appeared.

One of the most interesting new directions was the founding of Sfumato Theatre. The name derives from a phrase by Leonardo, which describes a way of drawing air. It was founded in 1988 as a reaction to the unstoppable late socialism. The stage directors Ivan Dobchev (*1947) and Margarita Mladenova (*1947) conceived it as a workshop, as a room for experiments. This was the beginning of a long research programme that is based on a new ethos. Both stage directors often talked of "reaching the holistic human".  In other words, this new theatre seems like a reaction to the deep ethical deficiency.

The loss of a transcendental horizon
The metaphysical view on the world determines what is researched for theatres. The rehearsal is the most important in the spirit of the theatres of Bruck, Grotowski and A. Wassiliew: the search and not the result. In their research programme "Tschewow", "Radichkow", "Jowkow" and "Myths" the aesthetic forms a poetic-ascetic theatre. The performances of key authors of European modernism and Bulgarian authors as well - like Jordan Jowkow, Jordan Radichkow, Konstantin Iliev and Bojan Papazow – express the inner world of the modern human, its deep and mental breaches, its disbelief and lost transcendental horizon.