A form of art whose substance is human, with all its boldness, prejudices, morals and immoralities, in flesh and bone.
Theater is living art! Not a single performance is the same as the others. As our beloved playwright William Shakespeare had Hamlet declare, the purpose of theater “is to represent reality, holding a mirror up to virtue, to vice, and to the spirit of the times.” In fact it is a mirror with such power that it does not only represent reality but reflect also the fantasy.
Isn’t this, what life is all about?
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.
Lyrics from Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
Thanks to International Theatre Institute (ITI), we celebrate a day devoted to addressing political issues, experiencing a lover’s despair, witnessing history or understanding life at its essence by this living art, since 1961. 27 March is World Theater Day, the opening date of the “Theatre of Nations” season in Paris. It is not only a day when a variety of events are organized but a day to remind the mission of the ITI: “ITI advances UNESCO’s goals of mutual understanding and peace and advocates for the protection and promotion of cultural expressions, regardless of age, gender, creed or ethnicity.”
Every year ITI also circulates the World Theatre Day International Message, this year written by Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski. His message begins with these words:
“The true masters of the theater are most easily found far from the stage. And they generally have no interest in theater as a machine for replicating conventions and reproducing clichés. They search out the pulsing source, the living currents that tend to bypass performance halls and the throngs of people bent on copying some world or another. We copy instead of create worlds that are focused or even reliant on debate with an audience, on emotions that swell below the surface. And actually there is nothing that can reveal hidden passions better than the theater.”
In his message, Warlikowski also points out to the struggles we face in the modern world of media directed consuming and reminds us where we should find the strength from.
“For us who live after the end of the world. Who live in the face of crimes and conflicts that daily flare in new places faster even than the ubiquitous media can keep up. These fires quickly grow boring and vanish from the press reports, never to return. And we feel helpless, horrified and hemmed in. We are no longer able to build towers, and the walls we stubbornly construct do not protect us from anything—on the contrary, they themselves demand protection and care that consumes a great part of our life energy. We no longer have the strength to try and glimpse what lies beyond the gate, behind the wall. And that’s exactly why theater should exist and where it should seek its strength. To peek inside where looking is forbidden.”