11th International Youth M.@rt.Contact Theatre Forum demonstrates its artistic essence
This year, around 4,500 tickets were sold to the Mogilev forum, while the first event attracted just 2,500 visitors. Every year, М.@rt.Contact is gaining momentum, strengthening its position. Culture Minister Boris Svetlov noted at the opening ceremony, “The Mogilev forum has become a key venue for young and talented theatrical figures of Belarus and foreign states. The most modern and original shows are staged here.”
The number of participants is also growing annually. Six performances were presented at the first festival and there were 20 this year, from theatres across Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Bulgaria, Armenia and Belarus. Most presented classical pieces but actors and directors continue to surprise audiences. The youth event is always full of fresh interpretations, and experimentation. Poland’s Master and Margarita (based on Bulgakov’s work) was no mere presentation of plot, while the Warsaw theatre also used elements of the novel.
М.@rt.Contact invites the new and unusual. With this in mind, famous actors, directors and art critics come to Mogilev from various cities and countries. Andrey Moskvin, from Poland, is already a permanent participant. He comments, “I come, knowing that I’m guaranteed pleasure. Almost every show brings a burst of emotions. М.@rt.Contact is of special interest, as most of the performances are new to me. I have a wonderful surprise, as do the other visitors.”
Mr. Moskvin’s colleague, a famous theatrical critic from Hannover, Nina Mazur, is also willing to travel many kilometres to attend. “I can hardly imagine my spring without М.@rt.Contact. I hurry to Mogilev, and love seeing everyone. We live across various countries but this forum unites us. Unlike some other international festivals, it teaches you to appreciate beauty, kindness and humanity,” she says.
Theatrical critics came to regional centre despite the absence of a professional jury this year. Organisers decided not to award a Grand Prix, first prizes, or awards for the best director or male or female actor (unlike in previous years). Instead, the event was held as a celebration of theatre, and ticket prices remained unchanged.
Besides offering affordable entertainment, the event allows young people to learn from experienced masters, actors, critics and directors, notes famous Belarusian theatre critic Tatiana Orlova. She tells us, “М.@rt.Contact enjoys a very good reputation in the Belarusian theatrical sphere. We don’t just present performances; we offer something new, inspiring the development of Mogilev theatre and theatrical art in general. This is an artistic laboratory, testing new means, methods and forms.”
Critics and audiences particularly enjoyed Dreams of Love, or Balzaminov’s Marriage, staged by St. Petersburg’s Masterskaya. Director Grigory Kozlov, who has Belarusian roots, participated in the forum some years ago and returned this time, noting that he wishes to become ‘acquainted with the artistry of colleagues’. “This is important. I’m interested in young Belarusian directors and, in Belarus, I attended a show by your modern playwright Dmitry Bogoslavsky, and was impressed,” he asserts.
A performance in the ‘unusual space’ has been for the first time staged at the forum this year: it was hosted not by a traditional theatre but the Ethnography Museum.
By Olga Kislitskaya