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Drama festival to stage eight plays with English subtitles

IT SEEMS that after a meagre winter season, a wave of Slovak drama is heading to the capital: after the Slovak National Theatre’s (SND) production of Oresteia, and alternative theatre Stoka’s staging of Uncertain Ground, the Nová drama / New Drama festival will offer eight plays, all with English subtitles, by several Slovak theatres, all of which will be competing for awards. The festival will offer a sampling of what is happening in contemporary Slovak drama, with productions by the SND and other Bratislava-based theatres, as well as various regional and alternative theatres from Martin, Žilina and Košice.

IT SEEMS that after a meagre winter season, a wave of Slovak drama is heading to the capital: after the Slovak National Theatre’s (SND) production of Oresteia, and alternative theatre Stoka’s staging of Uncertain Ground, the Nová drama / New Drama festival will offer eight plays, all with English subtitles, by several Slovak theatres, all of which will be competing for awards. The festival will offer a sampling of what is happening in contemporary Slovak drama, with productions by the SND and other Bratislava-based theatres, as well as various regional and alternative theatres from Martin, Žilina and Košice.

The eight plays for the drama competition will compete for three awards, the Grand Prix, the Students’ Jury Award and the Bratislava Viewer’s Award. Five separate Bratislava stages will host the productions between May 13 and 18.

The festival’s programme manager, Dária Fehérová-Fojtíková, said that of the eight plays that premiered between March 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013 six were original Slovak works, and only two were translated from other languages. As for themes, she said that some of the dramas looked back at national history (e.g. the Holocaust with Steel My Heart) but often in an innovative and humorous way (Národný cintorín or Jánošík 00 7). Thus, the festival will offer a taste of current developments in Slovak theatre for English-speakers.

The festival will be accompanied by a host of other events as well, including lectures by Macedonian dramatist Goran Stefanovski on May 16, and Dutch director and dramatist Jibbe Willems on May 17, which will be conducted in English.

Other events include a conference on Slovak dramatics, an exhibition of the work of Lukasz Wojciechowski (the winner of the Theatre Photography Biennale 2012), Trojboj - a reading of the winning pieces of the 2012 Drama competition of playwrights; and a guest performance of Cabaret Kafka by the Národní divadlo / National Theatre from the Czech city of Brno on May 18. Following this performance, the festival will culminate in an awards ceremony. All events are open to public.

After Bratislava, the New Drama festival will travel to theatres in Prešov (on May 21-22) and Žilina (on June 18-23). A brief overview in English can be found at www.theatre.sk/en and tickets can be purchased at the venues (City Theatre of P.O. Hviezdoslav, Štúdio 12, the SND and Aréna Theatre).

Head festival organiser Vladislava Fekete summed up: “Slovak theatre is excellent, we have very good authors, excellent plays, but maybe we are too modest and sometimes are not able to ‘sell’ [ourselves] well.”

She added that the festival is a good opportunity to show its foreign guests – consisting mostly of drama professionals – creative Slovak works and productions.

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