Fringe Theatre and Politics

Web Slides Jpegs 10-21-06

Two powerful films about international theatre companies producing work that strikes challenging political chords at home, Fringe Story (Israel) and Ash and Money (Estonia), will be screened. The films will be accompanied by the theatre directors, who will participate in a dialogue on experimental theatre and politics.

Fringe Story with Yinon Tzafrir, founder and artistic director of Israel’s Orto-Da Theatre Group, and film director Tor Ben Mayor

Towards the end of the Second World War, sculptor Natan Rapoport used granite stones to create a sculpture commemorating the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Forty years later, Yinon Tzafrir and his theatre group, Orto-Da, arrived in Poland to perform their play, ‘Meta-Rabin, which deals with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. With movement and gestures of a ‘live’ sculpture, the performance presents the Israeli Jewish narrative from the period of the Holocaust until today, showing a critical, at times grotesque, view of the Israeli Jewish existence.

Orto-Da Theatre Group was established in Israel at the initiative of Yinon Tzafrir, with Yifat Zandani Tzafrir & Avi Gibson Barel joining in 1996. Orto-Da has won many international theatre prizes since then. The group’s purpose is to create and perform unique theatre events, using an original international language, based on the research of human and physical behavior. Orto-Da’s name conveys the tension between the desires to save old ways of thinking and the ambition to create new ones. In English, the first half of the name is cut from the word “Orthodox,” which expresses cultural memory and roots. The second half of the name is cut from the word “Dada,” a cultural movement that explored new territories of art. In Hebrew, “Orto-Da” divides into two different words: “or” means “light,” and “toda” means “thank you”.

Presented in collaboration with EPOS International Art Film Festival, the first Israeli film festival dedicated, like Houston Cinema Arts Festival, to the intersections between the arts and cinema.

FRINGE STORY
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 12:30 P.M.
SUNDANCE CINEMAS

Ash and Money with Artistic Directors Tiit Ojasoo and Ene-Liis Semper of Theatre NO99

In 2010, Theatre NO99 came out with a production that theatricalized the entire Estonian society. NO75 Unified Estonia assembly, created by Theatre NO99, was a fictitious political movement that a large portion of the public treated as a real political force. Ash and Money is a full-length making-of documentary that sheds light into how NO75 Unified Estonia came to be.

Theatre NO99 is a theatre in Tallinn, Estonia, with a troupe of 10 actors at the center of it, led artistically by Tiit Ojasoo and Ene-Liis Semper. It was founded in 2004 and produced its first play in 2005. Three to four new plays are produced each season. Ojasoo’s and Semper’s original idea was for a theatre where only 99 stage productions would open, thus moving along sequential numbers to zero, towards oblivion. Tiit Ojasoo, Ene-Liis Semper, and the troupe often cooperate to create plays by improvising scenes and texts, using the ideas of the directors as reference points. The production ultimately takes shape through these improvisations. Several productions have been notably successful internationally: they have participated in around fifty festivals and venues around the world. Tiit Ojasoo and Ene-Liis Semper have been praised for the explosive energy of their actors, the courage to address socially and politically relevant issues, and the aesthetic forms they use that are questioning the boundaries of performativity.

ASH AND MONEY
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 3:00 P.M.
SUNDANCE CINEMAS

FRINGE THEATER AND POLITICS: A CONVERSATION WITH TIIT OJASOO, ENE-LIIS SEMPER, AND YINON TZAFRIR
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2:00 P.M., FREE
ARCHITECTURE CENTER (315 CAPITOL)