The opening performance of the Basel International Theatre Festival - 'Sans Object' by the French ensemble Compagnie 111, enacted by a two-tonne robot with tentacles and antennae all over the auditorium as well as human actors - is a powerful example of the visual theatre and serves well to introduce the territory of interests of the whole festival. The festival programme spans a diverse range of the contemporary theatre, including the visual theatre, outdoor performance, dance productions, puppet theatre, as well as film.
The festival presents 'Before Your Very Eyes' by the German-British ensemble Gob Squad, a production that was included into this year's Top Ten list of the most noteworthy German-language theatre productions as compiled by the Berlin Theatertreffen festival. The piece is enacted by seven children who travel through time, from childhood through puberty, crossing the border of midlife crisis and finally reaching the end of their lives and meeting their on-stage death. The production offers an insight into seven different lives, experienced, conceived and reflected on from the perspective of a 11 - 16-year old human being.
A production well worth not missing is 'The Rodin Project' staged in London by the Canadian choreographer Russell Maliphant, a piece dedicated to the energetic and emotional field of the French artist Auguste Rodin's art. 'The Rodin Project' was created as a result of one of the most interesting contemporary choreographers exploring the possibilities of balancing corporeity and weightlessness in sculpture and in man. The first part of the show deals with Rodin's watercolours while the second is a tribute to the artist's unique legacy of sculpture. In Russel Maliphant's language, classical dance styles merge with contemporary choreographic forms of expression like hip hop, popping, locking, the tai chi and quigong martial arts, contact improvisation, yoga and other forms and philosophies of movement; it is an attempt to view Rodin's works using the whole 360-degree range, opening up various aesthetic, historical and stylistic perspectives.
The Basel Festival offers an opportunity to get acquainted with some of the viewpoints and thoughts of the contemporary Polish theatre. In his 'Ein Stück über Mutter und Vaterland' ('A Piece on Mother and the Fatherland'), Jan Klata, one of the most outstanding directors of the middle generation, known for the powerful visuality and musicality of his works, takes a closer look at psychological traumas that are handed down from one generation to the next. The horrific human experiences of World War Two stay alive in people through generations.
As for the hosts, the production of 'Urwald' by the Swiss Far A Day Cage theatre company promises to become a noteworthy event; the piece was developed in the forest as the artists placed themselves in an existential confrontation with the magnificent power of nature.
Keywords: Basel, festival