HOW MUCH DOES FREEDOM COST
In today’s world, perhaps it is excessive to pose the question, “does freedom have a price?”. The question is, solely, “how much is that price?”. What do we lose? What do we gain? What are we prepared to sacrifice, to renounce, who or what will we betray? We may even be prepared to pay a high price to preserve our freedom and integrity. In the shadow of right-wing policies having flourished in Europe, in the shadow of terrorist attacks, waves of refugees, social malfeasance, cruel employers...., what kind of freedom is this, and what is its extent? The one that, if one is a wrongdoer, can be purchased from a judge or from the authorities. And one that can be bought through silence and obedience.
In this year’s repertoire at Infant, Shakespeare, Toller, Ibsen, Végel on one hand, and Torbica, Mladenović, Estaràs, Koležnik, Urbán, on the other, question the personal and social mechanisms that place conditions on individual freedoms and challenge one’s conscience.
Ibsen’s heroine Hedda Gabler shows that a lack of freedom also comes at a high price. In performances by Mateja Kolažnik and the SNG Maribor ensemble, we, from behind a glass wall, witness a laboratory-type analysis of the characters and their interpersonal interactions.
Living in a state of longing and emptiness, imprisoned by conventions and social norms, the lead heroine decides to commit suicide.
In real-life, the great German writer Ernst Toller shared such a fate. He states that the human race, “is troubled by two types of distress: that caused by human life, and caused by an unjust social system”. His beliefs would be strengthened by the fact that the neoliberal gap between the rich and the poor grows larger from year to year, and that social injustice clearly cannot be done away with. In the exciting staging of Toller’s famous work, “Hinkemann”, with the Zagreb ZKM ensemble, a young Igor Vuk Torbica creates a strong, dark, and disturbing play. In it, Toller’s denuded expressionist poetry about a young disabled veteran is fully manifested. Alongside a reduced, and well thought-out, directorial procedure, it conveys a powerful anti-war message to the audience.
In the performance, What Is Europe
, produced by the MESS Theatre from Sarajevo, uncompromising author András Urbán addresses the matter of the extent to which the political ideas and decisions of European leaders correspond to European historical and cultural heritage. Do the rights and freedoms that are proclaimed align with European political practices? Through the destinies of ordinary people, answers are sought to these questions: Where has our consumerist society taken us? How will Europe and Islam, the Left, or Liberals, be reconciled? Can we be free alongside the promoters of the idea of an open society, those who are keeping quiet and waiting for the Right and false traditionalists to do their dirty work?
Bojan Djordjev, in his performance-happening, Future Read in Concrete and Stone
, questions where freedom was won in the National Liberation Struggle, whether it has survived, and in what form. At the beginning of the performance, the author, in his inspired monologue, implies that Communism is not just our past, but also our future. For a moment, it seems as though one could believe this, because the human aspiration for a more fair and just society is clearly as utopian as it is indestructible.
Another socially-engaged project addresses the elusiveness of freedom, revolutions and coup d’état that become compromised and fail, abandoning the true principles of freedom.
In staging the famous Shakespearean drama about Julius Caesar, Kokan Mladenović points to the crash of noble revolutionary ideas that occurs when they are met with human greed and hunger for power.
This year, INFANT also presents the work of notable European author Lisi Estaràs. Lisi is a choreographer with the famous French troupe, “C de la B”. In collaboration with eminent Belgian author Ayelen Parolin, she performs her solo piece, La Esclava,
a unique authorial introspection in which she examines her attitude towards history and the world. Simultaneously vulnerable and strong, she digs through her memories, and through oneiric stage images, builds an original dance language.
INFANT will open with a performance of, Only Mine Alone,
a project of the leading authors of our independent dance scene Ana Dubljević and Igora Koruga. Saša Milosavić Davies’, Constellations,
will follow, as well as Dénes Döbrei’s, A Strange Loop.
Next is a mono-opera by Marjan Nećak, a Macedonian composer and director, who while considering Gogol’s, Diary of a Madman,
concludes, “everyone who struggles for normality ends up looking like a fool”.
Welcome to INFANT.
Jelena Kajgo, Selector