The third edition of the MITsp – International Theater Festival of São Paulo takes place between the 4th and the 13th of March, 2016, in several venues of São Paulo. Featuring ten shows created by some of the most important directors of France, Poland, South Africa, Greece, Belgium, Congo, Germany and Brazil, MITsp also hosts debates and educational activities that seek to encourage deep thought, stimulate the audience’s eye and the exchange of artistic experiences.
Created by Antônio Araújo (director of Teatro da Vertigem and professor at the art department of USP – University of São Paulo) and Guilherme Marques (head director of CIT-Ecum – International Theater Center Ecum), since 2014, the Festival has brought to the Brazilian public a number of contemporary international productions focused on experimentation and research in the performing arts; works that explore the forms and limits of theatricality and the performance, aligning themselves with other artistic languages.
In 2016, the contemporary international scene and its critical branches will be addressed on three fronts:
In the course of 10 days, the MITsp concentrates cutting edge performative experiments regarding aesthetics, ethics and politics. Featuring the French director Joël Pommerat with two works from his repertoire: the Festival opens with Cinderella, a Grimm Brothers tale adaptation that exposes the tragic side of childhood. Ça Ira, his most recent production, is inspired by the revolutionary process of 1789, which discusses the implications of power, governing mechanisms of individuals actions and the collective dimension of political action.
In (A)pollonia, the Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski also investigates the past of his country, especially the tragedy of the Holocaust. Based on classical and contemporary texts from Ésquilo to Coetzee, the play puts into question the sacrifice and the self-sacrifice.
The German collective Rimini Protokoll recreates the project 100% City under the title 100% São Paulo, as a mapping of the urban space, gathering one hundred citizens onstage to represent different ethnicities and the social and cultural diversity within the city’s population to publicly express their opinions in a performance.
In the solo Le Cargo, the choreographer and dancer Faustin Linyekula reviews the history of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in search of a possible future. African music and dance are also part of the show Revolting Music – Inventory of Protest Songs That Released South Africa, created by the musician and performer Neo Muyanga. There, he deconstructs the colonial songs and the mourning that accompanied the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.
STILL LIFE carries the power of the visual images. The Greek director Dimitris Papaioannou, known worldwide for designing the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympics, associates the myth of Sisyphus to the working class condition.
Old age gets a delicate and architectural treatment from the Belgian Josse De Pauw in An Old Monk, a kind of dramatic concert in which the actor-dancer-director, with three musicians, pay tribute to the jazz musician Thelonious Monk, associating dance to freedom.
Two Brazilian premieres complete the programme. Cidade Vodu (Vodou City), directed by José Fernando de Azevedo, from Teatro de Narradores group (Theatre of Storytellers group), retraces the political and cultural context of the Haitian immigrants in Brazil after the 2010 earthquake. The Tragédia Latino-Americana (Latin American Tragedy), from the “Ultralíricos” and the director Felipe Hirsch, takes to the stage fragments and adaptations of Latin American contemporary works of literature.
This axis promotes critical thinking activities that bring together artists, researchers and critics to boost the encounter between the audience and the works. During Crossing Dialogues, thinkers of theater and of other fields expose their views on the presented shows. In the Essays Space, Brazilian university researchers write about the artistic processes of the directors that compose the Festival. In the activities of Ongoing Thought, the artists themselves share their creative paths. In the Practicing Criticism, members of the online reviewing platforms: “DocumentaCena”, “Plataforma de Crítica”, “Agora” and “Antro Positivo” write about the works presented. Finally, in Esthetic-Political Thinking, guests discuss ethics and aesthetics of the past and present theater.
Exchanges between international and Brazilian artists happen in residencies, workshops, lectures and debate tables. The news of this year is the three-week artistic residency of the Russian director Yuri Butusov with local actors, and also two open process exhibitions, of the Brazil-Poland Meeting, a meeting of the “Núcleo Bartolomeu de Depoimentos” (Bartholomew Testimonial Core) with the Polish director Radoslaw Rychcik, and the Laboratório Ó (Ó Laboratory), from choreographer and dancer Cristian Duarte.
The MITsp Cabaret is an after show meeting point for artists and audience to exchange in relaxed evenings.
The idea to create an international theatre festival in the city of São Paulo came from director Antônio Araújo and producer Guilherme Marques, with the intent of recovering the spirit of the historical theater festivals created and coordinated by actress Ruth Escobar in the 70’s, which became a reference to many artists, researchers and curators from all over the country. The MITsp first edition happened between March 8th and 16th of 2014, hosting shows from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Netherlands, Turkey, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, France and South Africa. It had over 14.000 spectators in nine venues of the city. The second edition took place between March 6th and 16th of 2015, and gathered shows from Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Colombia and Brazil, seen by over 17.000 spectators.