On the world stage: Acting troupes from 11 countries make their way to Venice for the 2010 International Theatre Festival

Published June 16, 2010

American Association of Community Theatre’s 2010 International Theatre Festival June 22-27, Venice Theatre, 140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice, 488-1115 or venicestage.com/international, $230 for the entire event, $75 for single day passes including access to performances, workshops and parties, $25 show tickets for a block of three one-hour performances, visit website for more information.

Every four years the American Association of Community Theatre holds a gathering of community and amateur theatres from all over the world to join for a week of cultural exchange in celebration of performance art. The site chosen for AACT International 2010 is our very own Venice Theatre, where 11 countries will showcase the traditional theatrical styles of their respective homelands. Appropriately dubbed “Festival in Paradise,” the event will host workshops, seminars and parties throughout the week.

The festival will feature productions from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain and Zimbabwe, with the United States being represented by yet another local, The Players Theatre, with their highly acclaimed production of The Who’s Tommy. We asked some of the theatre aficionados making their way to Venice from far and wide about their community theatres and their expectations for the festival:

Milena Nascimento, Producer of Circo Poeira, São Paulo, Brazil:

What are some of the traditional theatre styles of your country and what do they entail? What is the style of the show you will be performing at the festival?

“In our country there are many artistic events. We will present a show at the International Festival that mixes the languages of circus, theater and puppets. We present this play in Tunisia, Croatia, Colombia and Venezuela. This is a poetic play and tells the story of an old circus master and his memories.”

Yuri Bobkov, Artistic Director of Maneken Theatre, Chelyabinsk, South Urals, Russia:

What aspect of your performance do you think will stand out most to American audiences?

“Our performance is psychological drama. I think that the performance will be interesting for the American audience as it is after the well-known American play by William Gibson – The Miracle Worker. This play is about a real person, Helen Keller, who was well known in the USA between 19th and 20th century. There are a lot of scenes without words in the production that will be understandable without translation. There are a lot of emotions, which is a distinctive point of Russian actors.”

Which other country’s performance are you most excited to see and why?

“Looking forward to the plays of American and Italian theatres — as they work in genre Del-Arto and we have made a performance in this genre. Any performances in traditional genres are of a great interest to us.”

Hanan (Halil) Itzhak, Community Program Coordinator of SELA, Tel-Aviv, Israel:

What role does theatre play in your local community?

“Our community works to empower the neighborhood residents and allows them to be exposed to theater, as well as to give them tools for individual growth and development through different projects in theatre. The acting students of the 2nd and 3rd grade are committed to lead 15 drama groups within the community such as youth at risk, immigrants’ children in distress, children with special needs and emotional problems, elderly and many more. For most of the people in the community it is the first time in their lives to see theatre. By attending our shows, which are played by the third year acting students, they are exposed to the best classic and modern theater repertoire.”

What do you hope to take away from your experience at the International Theatre Festival and how would you apply it to your programs back home?

“We are hoping to widen our international networking, to gain more knowledge, to observe and to understand how to manage international festivals, to be inspired from other people and shows. For the other part of the question, we will just wait, experience the festival and then decide how to implement our knowledge.”

Manuel Bueno Rubio, Colesterol Teatro, Torrevieja, Spain:

What are some of the traditional theatre styles of your country and what do they entail? What is the style of the show you will be performing at the festival?

“In my country, especially two: “zarzuela” (little opera about customs from some Spanish typical place) and the pure classical theatre (about our own Spanish history). Our show is contemporary style especially. Acid and absurd humor about real problems we have as humans.”

What aspect of your performance do you think will stand out most to American audiences?

“Understanding the text. The big problem the couple has when they live together. They lost the good perspective about the other and care of the relationship. All these things show with humor, of course. The visual way, you will see, is true in the actors and original scenography, good rhythm, and a few songs to hear with love.”

PHOTO COURTESY LAURIE COLTON

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