On the 9th edition of the Dialog-Wrocław International Theatre Festival

In an increasingly chaotic world, in which values like freedom, openness to others and empathy are being displaced by exclusive and xenophobic attitudes, we need to reflect again on what kind of world we desire, what kind of community we want to build. Is this community supposed to be one that builds its position in opposition to others, aggressively appropriating both material and symbolic spaces? Or perhaps a community constituted by empathy, need for mutual understanding and proximity? It seems that the question we are facing today is fundamental: are we still able to make decisions about our own place in the world or are we doomed to being only supernumeraries in great global processes? “Onward – but where to?!” is the motto of this year’s Festival, during which we would like to reflect on the destination of the march in which we all, whether we want it or not, are taking part.

We have invited outstanding theatre personalities who will guide us in this march without any clear destination or direction. Alain Platel, the main protagonist of this year’s Festival, who will present two productions in Wrocław, is particularly interested in the way in which a community is constituted, and in the energies and values it generates. In En avant, marche! he tells a story of the passing away of an elderly musician, also asking whether the hope for continuing one’s existence in someone else’s memory can make death less tragic. In nicht schlafen he shows the world after a catastrophe as well as radical attempts to rebuild a community, attempts often based on primal instincts. In An Enemy of the People Jan Klata, asking what one should do to become a public enemy today, demonstrates how difficult it is to fight for ideals in a world dominated by coteries and interests. MDLSX, a production of the Italian collective MOTUS based on Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel, is an important contribution to the discussion about the need to guarantee full freedom to self-determine one’s identity and sexuality. Wojtek Ziemilski’s Jeden gest is a story in gestures and voices about the need for empathy as well as the need, fundamental to us all, to understand others and be understood by them. In Hymn o miłości Marta Górnicka confronts us with the threats carried by rising xenophobia and nationalism. Finally, in his brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare’s historical chronicles Ivo van Hove exposes the mechanisms governing modern politics, provoking us into taking greater responsibility for the world around us.

What comes to the fore in the productions invited to the Dialog-Wrocław Festival? It is undoubtedly concern about the direction in which we are heading. Above all, however, we find in them a great belief in community, in empathy and in ordinary being together based on our interest in the needs of the other.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us meet in Wrocław in October.

We need each other.

Krystyna Meissner – Artistic Director of the Festival

Tomasz Kireńczuk – Festival Programme Consultant