The Varna Summer Festival is, unfortunately, one of the very few opportunities to watch quality European and international theater in Bulgaria. Because theater is a living art involving movement of people rather than products, each stage production, even of the smallest-scale performance, requires complex and expensive logistics. Naturally, this results in plays usually remaining where they are originally produced. Yet without the stimulus that interaction with diverse audiences and cultures provides, a production may remain static and understandable solely within its local context. This is also the reason why theater constantly runs the risk of being outof-touch with contemporary life, where cultural differences are often more a matter of mindset than geography. Imagine a music or movie lover who only had access to Bulgarian music or movies. Dire straits, indeed! Well, this is the fate of most theater lovers in Bulgaria all year round – unless, of course, they can afford frequent travel and expensive theater tickets abroad. Fortunately, the Varna Summer Festival’s growing popularity over the years has allowed it to import theater events of an ever-increasing quality. This year, for the first time, as many as four performances will be given not only in Varna but in Sofia, too, thanks to the City of Sofia’s support. These shows will not simply be random entries from a list of world-renowned playwrights, but will be very different from the theater one would normally see on domestic stages. The focus is on alternative modern theater productions, which tend to provoke and inspire – and to offer completely new
Romeo Castellucci’s visual theater: Hey, Girl! Often called “Europe’s Robert Lepage” and dubbed by Variety as the “most daring and ingenious image creator in contemporary theater”, Italian-born Romeo Castellucci has been one of the most influential figures on the global stage since the 1990s. He is definitely this year’s Big Name on the Varna festival program. Castellucci was awarded the Europe Theater Prize “New Theatrical Realities”, as well as the title “Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres” in France. Before committing himself solely to theater, Castellucci was an architect. The unique stage language he creates is a spectacular hybrid between theater, opera, music and visual effects made possible by modern technology. Romeo Castellucci’s performances feel like dreams full of imagery, charged with the energy of body, matter, movement, flesh and sound. Hey, Girl! is difficult to summarize. In the words of its author, it is “a study of the female body and sensitivity; of the metaphors they are pregnant with, such as submission, violence, and slavery, which women today still fall victim to… The central character is a girl who knows nothing about herself. Rather, all she knows about herself is that she can react to a random call: ‘Hey, girl!’ This anonymous girl is far from being the icon of feminism; she is the human race itself. She is just somebody hidden deep in the archaeology of the female shape”.