This year, I had the pleasure of watching over forty artistically exciting plays that shared many common points, yet each brought its own world to the stage – significant, authentic and different. There were many plays that revisited ancient tragedies, classical comedies and dramas, as well as cult novels, offering them a new generational perspective – primarily a rebellious one that confronts authorities of various kinds. It was immensely exciting for me to notice that in several plays, young people played with socially imposed stereotypes, erasing the boundaries between gender and sex in terms of their performance. Unfortunately, it is noticeable that topics of violence and repression
dominated, whether we talk about the position of women or different minority groups. Multiple plays shared an atmosphere and topics of absurdity, routine, haste and the cacophony of a superficial society that seeks quick solutions to every kind of problem, thus raising the important question of mental health and the voices of young people seeking help, but going unheard. Several plays explored the influence of artificial intelligence on our future, erasing the boundaries between media and giving the term “acting” an entirely new meaning. Lastly, it is interesting to note that there is an increasing number of original projects where young people themselves create performance text based on their own life experiences or documentary materials, as well as plays where movement dominates as the primary means of expression.
Therefore, it was truly difficult to choose only six plays that would best embody what the festival and its role in the development of high school theatre is – and that is to offer diverse artistic aesthetics and authentic voices, to recognize quality drama-based pedagogical work with young people and to provide an overview of the most important topics that young people feel the need to talk about at the moment
This year’s selection includes:
“THE FALLIBILITY OF MAN”, directed by Kinga Szent-Ivány, Nemes Nagy Ágnes Művészeti Szakgimnázium – NNÁ, Budapest, Hungary
“SERGEJ AND HIS SHADOWS”, directed by Iva Milley, Zagreb Youth Theatre/College, Zagreb, Croatia
“A CLOCKWORK ORANGE”, directed by Sandra Maksimović, Kulturociklin and Cultural Centre Kruševac, Kruševac, Serbia
“SPEAK UP”, directed by Oriana Kunčić, Croatian National Theatre in Šibenik – Drama Studio “Ivana Jelić”, Šibenik, Croatia
“THE OCTOPUS IS SLOWLY CRAWLING BACK INTO ITSELF”, directed by Lara Nia Matos, Secondary Preschool Education, Grammar School and Performing Arts Grammar School Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
“FREE THE ARTISTS”, directed by Nick Teunissen, Bosnian National Theatre Zenica, Zenica, Bosnia
In all the plays, young performers, in various ways, search for themselves, for hope, for a better future, for a complete picture of the fragmented world we live in…
I invite you to join us at the 11th Juventafest, so that together we can try to find at least some of the answers to the questions that young people ask us from the stage.
Emina Omerović, selector of Juventafest