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Maribor Theatre Festival — Archive 2010 - 2016

Foreign guests: Showcase close up

Friday, 27 December 2013

Thomas Irmer - Theatre Critic (Berlin, Germany)
For me it was an excellent update of Slovenian theater after two years so that I could continue my studies of certain directors and theaters. In accordance with the jury and probably most everybody I could praise the Crazy Locomotive again. Ivo van Hove was, then, an additional gain, as was seeing Karoline for the second time in the international program.
Organization was excellent. Being there for four days is for me the perfect duration of a stay. The gathering of international guests was also a good meeting point, as I finally met Artur Sonnen for example.

Martina Vannayová - Theatre Festival Divadelna Nitra (Nitra, Slovakia)
I will be in contact with professionals from Drama Maribor, Drama Ljubljana, Gledališče Kranj. There are no concrete plans for future, but thanks showcase and advises from Alja Predan we already showed the performance 25.671 at our festival and last year we presented the work of Janez Janša. We would like to continue to present the most original theatre work from Slovenia in future and showcase is very good opportunity to see internationally interesting shows.

Noel Witts - Leeds Metropolitan University (Oakham, UK)
Programme excellent – one of the best presented and organized festivals I have been to. Accommodation, transport etc. also excellent. I would have liked some time to have seen some of the student shows, but this proved impossible. Content was an interesting mix between Slovenian and foreign work. And the division into panel discussions, seminars etc. worked well. I was really impressed by the quality of the Slovenian work – so much from such a small country! It was good to meet critics from other countries and to be able to share experiences during the period of the showcase.

Roiha Mikko - Director/member of Jury for Tampere Theater Festival (Tampere, Finland)
First of all and once again: the best organized festival I have visited. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the hospitality which you showed all the time and with everything. Met great people, great discussions in smaller or bigger groups. I had a chat with Igor Samobor and the producer from SNG Drama Ljubjana. Try to get of their performances to get invited but of course our festival works as a team, so you never know. And of course new friends, the way you put things together is great. The attitude how you handle things is fantastic, your program is "breathing” (it's not stuck in one theme), the quality of the festival is high, and your hospitality is overwhelming. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Maribor! I miss you already I keep telling everybody how I enjoyed my being in Slovenia.

Asen Terziev - International Theatre Festival "Varna Summer"; theatrologist and main coordinator (Sofia, Bulgaria)
I believe that the Showcase program provides a very good way to get acquainted with the recent tendencies of contemporary Slovenian theatre for a short time. I think it is also really good that the programming allows you to watch 3 full performances per evening, where one can watch not just the Slovenian shows, but also part of the international program – this provides broader context for comparison. The overall impression is for a theatre of very high professional and artistic quality. I am particularly impressed by the works of Jernej Lorenci, Sebastian Horvat and Oliver Frlijc and their artistic strength to treat modern themes through new and classical texts. It is great that all performances had subtitles in English and Slovene. The organization was perfect and I congratulate the whole festival team for that.

Arthur Sonnen - DutchCulture (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
This Showcase was as usual a great success. Not only because it shows outstanding productions, but also because of the atmosphere. In the way it’s presented it’s still on a human level. One literally can attend all the productions and the city is small enough to generously celebrating the old tradition of hospitality. The secret of your guides is that you don’t see them, but they see you. They know your program and the venue you are supposed to be.
Productions were of good quality and gave a good view on the rich Slovenian theatre culture. I don’t think it’s a surprise that I will do my utmost to promote the work of Lorenci. His Locomotive of this year was of the same outstanding quality as last year’s Storm. He really is a great artistic discovery. Borkman was very inventive in decoration and acting, I only found the project too much condensed. For an audience that does not know the play it’s a difficult evening. If the decoration is a personage, than you must treat it like that and not only play with it. The Lesson was beautifully acted, but explained everything, which does not stimulate an audience to think. Master and Marguerita started promising, but after 10 minutes it stayed the same. The Mother was a very intelligent production about making theatre about theatre, it’s political meaning (communism doesn’t work) was a very actual and for local circumstances very important. That is the same for Exercises for Anxiety. But teatre is not reality and a political action (how important it may be) does not belong into theatre. Even Brecht never got further than powerfully stimulating his public to act by leaving the theatre. Three Elizabethan tragedies was impossible to understand for a non Slovenian speaking audience and looked also a bit outdated.
O showcaseu / About the Showcase
Keep it as it is now. There is never a vast audience for readings, so what you do is already a small miracle. A beautiful compact program is – at least for your foreign visitors – a fantastic opportunity to be aware of what’s going on in Slovenian theatre in a short time.
Marcin Zawada - Demoludy Theatre Festival (Olsztyn, Poljska)
It was one of the best organized festival I have ever been to. There was a unique atmosphere among the guests. It is because the artistic director and the people who worked for the festival were always with us. Four days were perfect too. I know how much effort it takes to prepare a festival and I do admire the whole staff for being so professional. And the range of performances was also impressive. They gave rise to many substantive discussions.

Ivor Martinić - playwright (Croatia)
I find program of the showcase Borstnikovo srecanje very interesting  and complex. There was lots of very interesting events I could attend and still enough time to rest and make a contacts with other guests. I find very good that there was lots of project for professionals but also for students of the Academy of Drama. It’s very important to involve young people in such a well known festival as Borstnikovo is. Organization of the showcase and accommodation was great. Three days of showcase was enough to have a quick look into Slovenian theatre. I find that all the productions were very good and interesting and I'm very happy to had a opportunity to have a look into Slovenian theatre of today. I liked that there was diversity in production, so we could see political theatre, well made classical drama and also very innovating performances.

Lovisa Björkman - Project Manager/ Information Officer, Teaterunionen – Swedish ITI (Stokholm, Sweden)
I’m very happy that I was invited to the Maribor festival and had a great time during the days in Slovenia. All the showcase performances were of high professionally and it worked very well with the translations of the productions. Not all of the performances were in my taste, but that is how it is during a festival. Of the showcase productions, I appreciated The Mother the most.
The festival was very well organized and as an international guest, I felt very well taken care of! I would also like to give you extra credit for making places and time for all the international professionals to meet during the days.
In Sweden, we rarely get to hear about or see Slovenian performing arts at all, so this was a very new and interesting experience. I met both to representatives from Borstnikovo and other Slovenian theatres as well as a lot of the other international guests.
We hope that the Maribor festival is planning to have Swedish focus in 2015, and would love to help you organize this. Therefore, Teaterunionen hopes to stay in touch will all the festival organizers to be able to plan this.

Katarina Pejović - Dramatug (Zagreb, Croatia)
Programme-wise, the showcase was excellently organised. The top selection of Slovenian productions intertwined with both foreign programmes (Bridges and Dutch Focus) has offered a truly versatile and dynamic panoply. I must admit that, apart from the Hungarian production of Kasimir und Karoline, I found more food for theatrical thoughts within the Slovenian selection – but that already belongs to the realm of individual aesthetics and taste. In the times of dire financial means and increasing economic uncertainty, it is already a big accomplishment to maintain the spectrum and scope of the festival and not only to keep the overall level of quality of the programme but to even surpass it compared to previous years. So, sincere congratulations for that!
As far as the organisation is concerned, I have absolutely nothing to say but compliments. I was well informed, well guided and warmly hosted. I am sure this also has to do with the fact that I feel somewhat at home at Borštnik but then again, this has to do with your overall hospitality and well-managed logistics that is obviously one of your trademarks.

Zuzana Uličianska - Theatre Critic, Journalist, Daily SME (Bratislava, Slovakia)
I was very satisfied with the programme of showcase, especially all the three performance from the National Drama Ljubljana (Christmas at Ivanovs, Mati and most of all The Crazy Locomotive) were extremely interesting from various points of view. For some performance I missed a background info about the artist (Tri Elizabetinkske tragedije) and translation, but some felling came through even in this case.
I have seen 25.671 already at the Nitra festival, but I considered this performance worth presenting on such platform as well. It is a very good starting point to a wider discussion. 
I will write about my experiences in Maribor to the theatre monthly KOD which will appear in January 2014.


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