About the human and nature
Gundega Laiviņa | Artistic Director
“About the human in nature and the nature in a human and what remains after the human is gone” – is how the director Krista Burāne precisely describes the programme of the International Festival of Contemporary Theatre “Homo Novus” in her Twitter account. Having become an annual event, the festival, along with a programme of guest performances, this year is also presenting seven new works, while it populates the Pārdaugava neighbourhood of Riga and has its central stage on the new Dirty Deal Teatro premises along with the Eduarda Smiļģa Theatre Museum.
We are opening the festival on September 6th with Anna Ķirse and Andris Kalnozols’ miniature performance of “Tree Opera. The City”, a dedication to the trees of our city at a time quite unpredictable for them. The complex relationship between man and nature is also being examined in a new opera by the director Viesturs Meikšāns and the composer Oliver Christophe Leith, “Unknown Unknown”, and a collaboration between artists Krista Burāne and Andy Field in “Nocturne”, inviting us on a walk in the twilight to take a look at the world through the eyes of an animal. Having begun with trees that speak to us in human voices, the festival is going to close with a six-voice virtuoso nature sounds “symphony” in an audial performance by Myriam Van Imschoot, “What Nature Says”.
Several new works will examine the performative aspects of visual arts and music. The puppet theatre director Māra Gaņģe and the artist Kate Krolle are working together for the first time after having discovered a mutual interest in the relationships between people, things, and time. Gian Maria Tosatti’s installation “My Heart Is a Void. The Void Is a Mirror” invites the viewer to look behind Europe’s well-kept facade, while Jon Law uses sound to draw our attention to forgotten and desolate structures within urban landscapes. In the contemporary dance section – new solo performances by the artists Elīna Lutce, Mira Kautto and Rósa Ómarsdóttir, inspired by the spatial characteristics of the Smiļģa Museum. And for the first time at the festival we have guests from Australia – the choreographer James Bachelor with a show called “Deepspace”, which was born out of a scientific expedition into the Subantarctic.
In collaboration with the Lithuanian National Theatre we present an evening of new Baltic dramaturgy: Matīss Gricmanis’ documentary study of homosexuality in the Soviet Latvia, Vladas Suncovas’ magic realism narrative “In Love with a Sea Troll”, and an ironic commentary on life as school by three brilliant Estonian artists, “The Workshop”, which is returning to Riga by popular demand. A proof of the power of the theatre and the artist’s potential is Benny Claessens’ show “Hello Useless” and Silvia Calderoni’s semi-autobiographical performance with elements of a dj set, “MDLSX”, our invitation to hear out a person who, at the time when the issues of gender and sex are as burning as ever here, has tread a long and complicated path to a true identity.