By Viktar Korbut
This year, the 8th International Teatralny Koufar Student Theatre Festival took place on a large scale, including teams from Brazil, Morocco, Israel and Georgia for the first time. The programme was rich in classical pieces — including works by Tennessee Williams and Shakespeare. There were even two Belarusian-language performances based on Yakub Kolas and Vladimir Korotkevich’s works. Meanwhile, hundreds of theatre lovers attended master classes offered by Hungarian and Portuguese directors and actors.
The Lublin Culture Centre, of Poland, opened the event, staged in the Belarusian State University’s courtyard, giving their global premiere of Bio Object — (a four hour synthesis stage mastery, choreography, music and, even, architecture).
The Festival’s Director, Yekaterina Solodukha, stresses, “This year, Teatralny Koufar is being held for the eighth time, as if on an endless path to perfection. The figure ‘8’ is a reversed infinity sign — ‘?’; moreover, the ancient Chinese saw eight as a lucky number. We hope this will bring success, as infinity implies depth; each performance has its own deep message.”
This year, demand for tickets was such that the organisers decided to introduce fees at the symbolic price of about one Euro. Ms. Solodukha notes that the halls, while being large, cannot accommodate all those wishing to attend. “We have around four hundred participants who always come to performances. However, our sites at the Belarusian State University’s Lyceum and the Palace of Trade Unions can accommodate only 200. Our experience shows that at least 500 people are eager to attend, with about half being disappointed.”
The best performance was chosen by audience vote. The Festival’s Art Director, Sergey Turban, summarises, “The level of our Festival was defined by good dramaturgy. Interestingly, many works focused on the fragile destiny of womankind, with spectators invited to attend discussion clubs as well as performances. This year, young foreign literary critics lectured: Claudio Fokinelli, of Italy, and Andrew Chippendale, from the UK. In addition, master classes were offered by Hungarian director Petar Fargo (Intolerable Burden of Existence) and Portuguese actor and jury member Jose Guerra (Theatri_X).”
No doubt, the Teatralny Koufar Festival lived up to its excellent reputation. In 2012, Minsk is to host the 9th World Congress of the International University Theatre Association, from June 25th-29th, gathering troupes from 50 countries worldwide.