HOW would you describe what Europe is like? Some people think it's like a playground, or a circus.
Twelve actors from 11 countries bring their Europe to life in a performance called One Day in Europe. This performance is the final piece, created by theatres from 11 European countries under the auspices of the Magic Net, a European theatre network.
The actors created the international piece under the leadership of Slovak director Patrik Lančarič.
"I did not want to push anyone into anything and I tried to bring out the special characteristics of each actor," Lančarič told the Sme daily. "A playground was the basic inspiration, a metaphor for Europe. In Europe, as in a playground, people are jammed together side by side, each of them simultaneously working on their own heaps of sand. One builds something, another admires or destroys it. Or they build something together."
During the first phase, each of 12 actors prepared a piece alone in his or her native theatre. Then, groups of four actors met in three countries within so-called labs. Here, under the leadership of Lančarič, they looked for relationships and links between the characters. In mid-May, the actors met in the Slovak town of Beckov to work together. During the first week of June they completed the project in Bratislava's Astorka Korzo '90 Theatre, performing the final piece, a mosaic of stories of 12 people, on June 6. After two repeat performances, they set out on a European tour.
"I think that common themes such as unfulfilling relationships, loneliness, and powerlessness, link the stories together," Lančarič told Sme. "At first I thought the show might be very depressing, but they all are excellent actors, who managed to find humor in the characters."
On the stage the audience can meet Antonio, a Spanish bar owner; Andrzej, a dead Polish coal miner; Aki, a 300-year-old Finnish fisherman living in St Petersburg; Frank, the owner of a German fence-construction company; and Eva, a divorced mother of two who killed her children to protect them from the evil in the world; and many others.
Slovakia is represented by Petra Vajdová. She plays Sonja, a politician's daughter, who has always had everything. And so, when she runs over and kills an elderly woman, she knows that she will go unpunished.
In total there are 12 actors ranging in age from 22 to 58 years old and hailing from Portugal, Norway, Great Britain, Germany (two actors), Estonia, Russia, Spain, Poland, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Each of the actors speaks in their native language, and individual stories are introduced with one sentence in English projected onto the scene.
"One Day in Europe is sometimes funny, sometimes sad," Lančarič told the Pravda daily. "It is full of bizarre people from various parts of Europe, who meet in a very diverse children's playground. I'm glad that it is possible to experience this Tower of Babel of languages, but you don't need to speak them to understand the performance."