Article on IUGTE International Multidisciplinary Conference
researching the Bridge between Tradition and Contemporaneity in performing arts
(Retzhof Castle 17.12.-21.12.2015)

by Janka Fedešová - Academy of Arts, Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia


        First of all I would like to thank you for the opportunity to be a part of International Conference "Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity" in Retzhof Castle. It was a great time, not only because of beautifull castle and nature, but mainly for the perfect „art“ people. The castle was perfect! It´s spaces exponentiate experience from the conference programme. Accomodation was great, warm and near. Also great was, that everything was happening at the same place. Meal was delitious and we had a posiibility to taste specialities from Austria region. Breakfast, lunch and the dinner was also a time for communication. We alwas change the seats, so we were talking with nearly everybody. It also helped us to be more friendly, opened for common work and to trust each other much more, than at some „classical“ conference.

This conference opened for me a new level of of looking upon the way of conecting between the theatre tradition and contemporary ways of performing arts. It offered a great overwiev on the theatrical world and different possibilities how we can create a real theatrical space full of truth.  In the Slovakian´s context it is very important question. How to create theatre, which is full of truth and interesting for the old, but also young people. Therefore this conference bring me very needed and interesting answers for the main question in area of my work and research. In a nutshell it helps me in this ways:
- I met a perfect people, who were full of passion in art, especially in acting, directing and dance. This is very important point for me, because to meet such an enthusiastic „art“ people is in this days not usuall. With their passion I have reached a new ambition and audacity to work much more over our traditional Slovak theatre assise. 
- This conference open for me a new ways how we can approach to acting and directing. Especially Sergei Otrenko and Carrie Ann Quinn helped me a lot with an approaches of biomachanics and Lee Strasberg method of acting. They had a practical workshops, which helped me to understand this two acting techniques much more, like heretofore. Thank to them I realized, that this two methods offers a new possibilities how to work on actor´s concentration, development of human body´s perceptivity and conection between movement, voice and mind in actor´s work. This is also very iportand point, because our students always fight with this „compact unity of all body“. By this exercises, we may suppose elimination of constantly re-occurig problems.  With this new experiences I can also make my personal acting work much deeper. And finally I can also help our students at University with understanding different approaches to acting and directing, especially in our subject Theatre Technigues, which is unfortunatelly teached mailny by theoretical way. It is a shame. But in our country we don´t have so many opportunities to participate in workshops of various acting styles. Therefore I am very thankfull, that IUGTE conference gave us an opportunity to understand the acting styles also in practicall way.
- For helping the people understand much more of bulding a charakter came the Litvian professor Lauris Gundars. I have to say, that his presentation gave me a new ideas and principles how I can approach to character in a play and also how I can build it up. He as not only a writer, but also a lawyer and director (Russian school) gave us a great insite in the Litvian way of creating a play, which he would like to change. It was very original approach. Unfortunaltelly his boook DRAMATIKA was only in Latvian. We need to wait for english translation, which can help us a lot with creating a quality dramatic plays.
- Meeting with the people from different countries helped me with comparition of our system of Theatre education with the different countries. Especially with Turkey, Singapore, Taiwan, USA. The most interesting was comparition wihh Turkey school. We realized, that we both use a Stanislavsky system. But we have found not only the things in common, but also some of the diferences (in improvisation, learning the text...etc.). In this case, very interesting for me was also a conversation with Tara Snyder. We were talking about the voice trainig for musical actors (ESTILL voice training). Also her presentation helped me a lot to understand more of the basic vocal chord principles .

I have to say, that all of the people, in spite of, that they were mainly academic professors were very kindly and open for everybody. They were full of energy to talk with us (students), they gave us a lot of inspirations to our researches and how to develop our approach to acting in our countries. So big thank you our great speakers!!!

- Every presentation was interesting. But I prefered the workshops. In spite of it I really enjoyed the Liminality in Wu Hsing-Kuo’s Metamorphosis by by Phoenix Tsailuan Chang (Taiwan). Mainly because Franz Kafka is my favourite writer and his work is full of ideas, which we can apply for every era. The Wu Hsing Kuo´s way of perfoming this fenomenal Kafka´s peace was for me very shocking (in positive way), full of fantasy and chinese tradition. It is one of the new knowledges, which I would like to talk about at our University. Because Kafka is Czech- so very famous also in Slovakia, I am sure, that it would be attractive for our professors and students at our University.

- The programm was  full of variability, different areas of Theatre and we had an opportunity to have a deep insite also to technologies, which we can use in contemporary theatres. I am still fascinated of different ways how we can apply a visual art  by using a computer to live theatre performance- as it was in presentation of Eric Brandt Nielsen with his choreodrama. Very original apporach how to connect tradition and contemporary dance theatre. I have never know about such a possibility – with using a special programm of computer. During his presentation, in spite of technical problems, everyone could feel the passion for the dance and looking for a new ways how to make a dance theatre more and more interesting. 

- At the end I need to mentioned also the interactive discussion of Jeffrey Bracco. It was absolutely perfect! He was talking yout the futurists so interesting, that I can remeber nearly everything. He gave me a new way of looking at the futurists as people, who were full of passion, love to the art and a huge brave to change the traditions, which for them didn´t make sense. His presentation was full of interactive discussions, but also of his own acting monoloque of manifesto. It gaves the presentation very original scope. 

-  I tis very sad, that our speakers from Iran couldn´t come because of the things, which had happend in the world for the last months. I was looking forward especially for the practical workshop with masks. But we had an opportunity to see the traditional Venetian masks created by the masters of Bluemoon Venice workshop. They were absolutely beautifull. I saw many of the masks from commedia dell ´arte, but what I saw during the conference was amazing. They were made very eleganter, full of typical commedia dell ´arte history. Immediately as anybody saw this masks, must feel the concrete character- pantalone, dottore, etc. So that little exibition was very good idea. Thank to organizers.

IUGTE Conference is an international place, where people, who really love arts came to share their ideas and passion for their art work. I think, that everyone, who is interested in evolution of Theatre should be a part of such a type of Conference. It is not only about power point presentation, as we are used to- from simmilar conferences. But this special conference offers much more. Interactive discussions, workshops and the place, where everyone can share previous experiences and confront himself with the different approaches from nearly all over the world. If it will be possible, I would love to have more time for practical workshops. I also missed a small book of abstracts, which can help us to be more oriented in different presentations. And also free coffe/tea, which would be available during the breaks between the presentations. But doesn´t matter, if it will be, or not- this was the best conference ever! Thank you very much for a great organization, care and creating a perfect space, where arts is not only the work, but also a way of life.

Janka Fedešová/ graduant/ Academy of Arts/ Faculty of Dramatic Arts / Banská Bystrica/ Slovakia


Zvolen/ Slovakia/ 2.1.2016