Festival Norma 2019
The fourth edition of Festival NORMA returns after a year’s gap and for the first time will be situated in the completely reconstructed spaces of PLATO, the Gallery of the City of OSTRAVA, in the former Bauhaus hobby market. The principal theme of the fourth edition’s programme is woman, femininity and the related social engagement, criticism, sexuality, poetry, sensitivity…
This year the festival is built around the axis of powerful solos presenting variations on the different positions of female energy, emancipation and an ability to enthral the viewer with minimalist consistency. This enthralment can go as far as being manipulative, such as in the projects of Giuseppe Chico and Barbara Matijevič – Forecasting and Núria Guiu – Likes. Forecasting playfully intertwines a precise concept of physical movement with the inexhaustible emptiness of videos on YouTube. The self-confident performance of Fani Benages is capable of captivating an audience willing to play her game, in which she ingeniously interlaces the phenomena of media pop culture with spiritual ones.
Drawing on her personal experience, the Polish performance Pure Gold Is Sleeping Out of Meby Renata Piotrowská confronts her yearning for motherhood with the desire for artistic self-fulfilment. With her Cellule project the French performer Nach makes references to a street dance called Krump, which emerged spontaneously in the USA at the beginning of the century during racial riots. Her interpretation is very personal with an underlying theme of the sadness and loneliness of a black performer in the “white” world of dance theatre.
The other projects are the very opposite of these extrovert and to some extent socially critical shows. The performance of Seeking Unicorns by Chiara Bersani is refined minimalist activism, which intentionally works with our prejudices and sensibility. Chiara evokes a girl’s unicorn world as a universal desire for beauty and a right to it. The physical minimalist “still-life” by Luna Cenere Kokoro makes references to inspiration by Japanese culture. Luna materialises the “inner being” which resonates with us through meditatively sparse movement of the naked body. Don’t Stop, a performance by Tereza Hradilková, combines the subject of desire and the world of music as something highly intimate, untouchable, even painful in an effort to fully grasp and understand these passions.
The only “drama” in this year’s edition, which is otherwise focused on physical and dance theatre, is a stage adaptation of Pain (Memoir of War) by Marguerite Duras directed by Ladislav Babuščák. The monodrama with Anita Krausová evokes the anxiety and helplessness of a woman in an extreme life situation.
After Eva Koťátková, Dominik Gajarský and Vladimíra Večeřová, the guest of this year’s NORMA from the world of fine art is the visual artist and performer Johana Střížková.
Although the programme of the festival’s fourth edition puts woman into the spotlight, it has no feminist ambitions. Rather than the “Woman and …” headline at the beginning of this concept there was an opportunity to give this fluid moniker a more specific form, which does not pretend to classify and enclose something. As usual, our ambition is that the viewer approaches each of the days as a compact programme unit and ideally sees all the performances.
Art Director of Festival NORMA