There is a widespread belief that 2016 was a year of dramatic societal developments and changes, one proved to be milestone in many aspects and for many people. It seems that new demons of fear and anxiety have left the bottle to tour the world. We have indeed been used to upheavals throughout history. Yet the current ones have penetrated European mind and seem to have caught the Old Continent off-guard. Or perhaps they have exposed the yet unhealed wounds. Civilisation Impeding Civilisation: the leitmotif of the 2017 drama edition of the International Theatre Festival of the Slovak National Theatre, Eurokontext.sk, is a logical outcome that reflects the developments.
The choice may seem, prima facie, to be a direct response to the refugee crisis and to the military conflict in the Middle East. Yet it is becoming increasingly apparent that we, too, pose a threat to our civilisation. This doesn't merely concern the much-feared clash of civilisations, a contact with the Unknown and Other, but it also touches upon the civilisation that can
impede itself by resigning on its values of tolerance, love, democracy, faith, by making humanistic concessions to materialism. Yet there is also our ecological barbarism, our inability to learn the lessons, amnesia affecting our historic memory.
European theatres and directorial poetics perceptively respond to these developments. We are witnessing a birth of a full-bodied and straightforward theatre. Paradoxically, though, the Festival productions can present the civilisational threats in comic and grotesque spirit, as well as poetic language. Theatre bears inner power and magic that enable it to speak of the most difficult issues with such ease and creativity that couldn't be viable in any other medium.
The drama edition of the International Film Festival of the Slovak National Theatre, Eurokontext.sk is an invitation to view some of the finest European productions that are far from being indifferent about what is going on with the world and with us in it.