The terrifying and traumatic history of Romania, placed in the context of today, seems as if it serves as a warning and treats our everyday life in a strongly engaging way.
Zvezda Angelovska/ Kristina Lelovac
Actors on video:
Producer & Poster Designer:
Ivana Karanfilovska Ugurovska
Video and Photographer:
Premiere 23 November 2014
in Youth Cultural Center (Hall 25 May)
Duration: 95 min
Every culture has its own dominant historical events which are so dramatic per se, that are already ready to be used as the basic material for the development of a fable. One of those major, key historical events is the Romanian Revolution in 1989 – taken as the main theme of the play Mad Forest by the British writer Caryl Churchill. However, its staging in 2014 in Macedonia would not have been theatrically justified without a parallel to the current situation in society, and hence it is quite important to specify the context in which this performance has been produced. Of course, starting from such a dramatic foundation, according to the principles of the trend of documentary theatre, the social context has been presented through specific family and intimate stories of the characters, and the fable, based on the author’s fragmentary dramatic structure, is presented in three main chapters.
The director Nina Nikolikj has produced a performance that is positioned on several levels in order to make a jigsaw puzzle of the main event and the characters involved in it. The video clips, the specific stage performances, and the internweavement of the several dominant micro-stories are set as a kind of texture, which is used to highlight the main question, posed also in the title of the performance. The fable is clear both for those who are familiar with these historical events and those who encounter them for the first time, and hence it is subject to its social contextualization. The main issue – the historic act of the collapse of a dictatorship is depicted through the intimate stories of several participants, witnesses, contemporaries of that event. Moreover, they are not some great people; rather, they are ordinary people, some are even children, who directly experience the very revolution. According to the principles of documentary theatre, the performance actively takes place before our eyes, and we as spectators are part of the creative process of the performance itself. On the one hand, the actors are not placed in front of us as opponents, but as our collaborators, who will help us go through the dramatic action more easily. And then, on the other hand, the recorded material, which should be interpreted as authentic/documentary, also helps to master the subject and make us, as viewers, direct participants in the performance. The terrifying and traumatic history of Romania, placed in the context of today, seems as if it serves as a warning and treats our everyday life in a strongly engaging way. The performance Mad Forest is a paradigmatic example of a performance working in a precise time context even though it refers to another space-time model.
The acting is collective, composed of actors from various theatres and freelancers, completely focused on the dramatic action, i.e. on the process of mastering the tragedy, and its role as the main element around which the very performance develops. This means that, on account of the actors and their immediate acting, the classic, emotional connection with the story has been avoided, making a contemporary acting intervention in the production of the performance instead. This is a warning, affecting, breathing, and moving performance which is present in a present moment – a performance which needs to be seen.
The director Nina Nikolikj drew a parallel to political demonstrations in today’s Macedonia. The performance is defined by multiple sources of documentation formally supported by sounds of unrest in Romania during the 1980s as well as in contemporary Macedonia. Video transmission of the play was also introduced, enhancing the documentary value. This is basically a challenging social-political performance about the multiple layers of the meaning of a revolution, its different points of view, results and interests.
“[…] A production that is entirely in the context of the theater that is created/played in Europe today: committed, authentic, here and now. It starts and it ends without "hidden" places in the actors’ performance, in the original video materials nor in the interpretation.”
”The performance is perfectly documented, very well interpreted […] all the characters are authentic, the performance is a real success. And the best of all is that the authors reveal the link between the Romanian revolution and the present situation in Macedonia.”
FESTIVALS & TOURS:
27.09.2015 – International Theatre Festival MOT,
23.05.2016 - Euroregional Theatre Festival
Timișoara - TESZT