51st Bitef, bearing the slogan Epic Trip, will be held in the period between 22nd and 30th September at various venues in Belgrade. In its main programme, we will have an opportunity to see the performances from Belgium, Great Britain, Slovenia, Iran, Germany, Switzerland and Serbia. The main thematic stream is outlined by the productions based on great epic topics, defining for our civilization, while the aesthetic one is created through durational performances.
The performance Mount Olympus: to Glorify the Cult of Tragedy – a 24h-Performance, by the renowned Belgic director Jan Fabre, opens the 51st Bitef on 23rd September at 18:00 in Centre Sava. This fascinating spectacle with 27 first-class dancers, actors and performers from various countries, is based on ancient mythology in toto, as described through epics and tragedies. After the ticket has been scanned, each audience member will receive a wristband that allows them to come in and out freely, and use numerous opportunities to relax and repose: Sleeping Zone, Food Zone, Bitef Library, Business WiFi Zone. The audience will also have a chance to enjoy the healing sounds of music in Chill and Healing Zone, and yoga lessons in the morning. Besides all of those, Bitef is preparing numerous surprises which will help the audience experience this event to the full. The seat-allocation is in order only for the first four hours, after that, everyone will be able to sit wherever they want.
The performance which will announce Bitef this year in the Prologue Day on 22nd September is Quizoola!, by the famous British theatre company Forced Entertainment, devised as an endless quiz of alternating questions and answers on various topics. The original duration of the play is 24 hours, but this year at Bitef it will be played in its six-hour long version.
The audience will also be able to see the performance Bible – the First Attempt, based on biblical texts, and the performance Kingdom of Heaven, based on Serbian Epic literature, both directed by the Slovenian director Jernej Lorenci, who is already well-known to Belgrade audience.
To this year’s Bitef comes also Hearing by Amir Reza Koohestani, a performance which tackles the issue of listening, and the position of women in present day Iran. The challenges of the Muslim world are also presented in the performance Snow by the famous Thalia Theater from Hamburg, directed by the young Berlin director Ersan Mondtag, who originates from Turkish community and is one of the rising stars of German-speaking theatre today.
The same director will be presented though yet another performance, The Extermination, in the production by Konzert Theater Bern (Switzerland), which is to close this year’s Bitef on 30th September at the National Theatre in Belgrade main stage.
This Bitef will, traditionally, present numerous side programmes: Meeting the Authors, Bitef Polyphony, Showcase, panel discussions, Bitef Library, and many After Ten parties.
The author of the visual: Milutin Marković, New Moment New Ideas Company.
This year, Bitef visual is devised by New Moment New Ideas Company or, to be more precise, by the designer and art director Milutin Marković. As the agency explains, the festival’s visual identity is a unique illustration of the eternal “half-step” we keep making on that trip. That is how the greatest trip known to man – the trip to the Moon – acquired a new, freer form. This year, the famous footprint is placed into the mud. Although the famous questions “Where are we headed to?” has no simple answer, some glimmer of hope is still there – in the blue skies reflected on the water surface.