THE ISTROPOLITANA Project, an international festival of drama academies, takes place every second year in Bratislava. The 2012 festival was organised by the Bratislava Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) between June 22 and 27 in several locations around the Slovak capital. The festival saw performances by drama schools from not just Slovakia and the Czech Republic but also Moldova, Croatia, Poland, Macedonia, Lithuania, Germany, the UK, Romania, Italy, Indonesia and Iran.
Some smaller venues were sold out, and the Indonesian production Bomb Bomb Bomb, by the Performing Arts Faculty of the Jakarta Institute of Arts, on the evening of June 24, was packed out. The staging, inspired by Bom, a short story by Indonesian author Putu Wijaya, and directed by Yayu Aw Unru, was in effect a series of pantomime sketches, an unconventional outline of what can become a bomb, ready to explode at any time: religion, football, food, cigarettes… “This modern play is the connection between contemporary and traditional theatres,” the programme stated.
“VŠMU students have the opportunity to try almost everything, and foreign schools also nominate different kinds of productions for the festival,” organiser Svetlana Waradzinová, who is also a lecturer at VŠMU, said in an interview published in the festival magazine. “This year, there are more productions in the programme that are not classical … [and] even though they’re not classical I think they will definitely be successful at the festival.”
The festival, apart from offering public performances, is also a competition with two juries – a professional one, and a student one. Among the 2012 winners were Veronica Arizancu and Maria Popa from Romania, who jointly won the best actress award, and Moldovan Dan Melnic, who was declared best actor. The student jury chose a British staging of Pages from the Book of... by Bruno Schulz as best production, while the audience award went to a Slovak production of Lucrative Post by A.N. Ostrovskij.