Conversation with theater producer Tanya Deshko: Our goal is and will always be good theater!
The second screening within the "Theater on Screen" project of "ArtActUm" will be held on May 31 (Wednesday), starting at 19:XNUMX p.m., in the Cinematheque, where the theater play "Donka - Letter to Chekhov" directed by Daniele Finci Paska.
Projection of a theater performance that you can see on a theater stage will probably not be a big challenge for the theater audience. But if it's a projection of a theatrical masterpiece that you can't possibly see live, then you'll understand the idea of the "Theater on Canvas" project of the newly founded company "ArtActUm".
We spoke with the theater producer Tanya Deshko about the impressions from the first and upcoming screening of the next one within the project.
Last month, the first activity of the "Theater on Screen" project, produced by the "ArtActUm" company, took place with a projection of a dance performance by Pina Bausch. What is the concept of the whole project for showing theatrical performances on screen?
- We are a very young company, but we have very ambitious goals. The first and most important goal of the "Theatre on Screen" project is to share with the audience significant and impressive performances, which in some sense changed the path of the performative experience. Some of those performances are still alive and performing, and we would very much like to bring them to Macedonia someday. And in addition to this, there is another very important thing – after every play we do a discussion – a conversation together with the audience and with expert "provocateurs" to try to discover the secrets, metaphors and multiple meanings of those plays.
The first such meeting after "Café Müller" (Café Müller) showed us that the Macedonian audience has a great interest and need for it, and after the conversation I am sure that everyone left with some new feelings and thoughts. It would mean a lot to us if we create a tradition of such events.
Taking into account the attendance of the first event and the curiosity of the audience, what are your impressions after the first screening within the project?
- It seems to me that people are very hungry for this kind of theater, for these kinds of performances that they probably heard about but didn't have the opportunity to see, and an additional plus is that they can share their impressions and feel themselves as part of a company with the same interests. As I already said, I was fascinated by the great interest of the audience. But look at the pictures, what an interesting, intelligent, open and spirited audience we had at the first event, with many interesting thoughts and questions that arose from the conversation. The feeling that people really miss what we did was right for us. And I expect that the interest will increase with each subsequent performance and conversation.
The next screening at the Cinematheque will be held on May 31, when the play "Donka - Letter to Chekhov" will be shown. What are the main features of the play?
- "Donka" is a genius play by Daniele Finzi Pasca, the director of the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Turin and Sochi, as well as two shows of the "Circus of the Sun" (Cirque du Soleil). This play was made in 2010 in Russia in co-production with the "Chekhov" festival, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Chekhov's birth. On the one hand, the play is completely non-Chekhovian, where we will see a circus, clowns, acrobats, projections, contemporary music... But in the end, you realize that it contains the most important thing from Chekhov - weight in a world of its own, subtle relationships between the characters and his (Chekhovian) philosophy. Finzi Paska plunged into the life of the writer through his works and diaries, deciphering his notes and giving color and form to everything that Chekhov himself mysteriously kept silent.
A donka is a bottom-dwelling fish fishing rod with a bell that rings when a fish is caught. The director was fascinated by this picture and, in my opinion, he goes quite deep into Chekhov's philosophy, looking for his points and plunges his fishing rod into the lake of circus fantasy, giving birth to a visual poetry of objects and bodies suspended in space. And here Finci Paska tells us about Chekhov - doctor, Chekhov - writer, Chekhov - ordinary man with his weaknesses, Chekhov - master of subtexts. And as a viewer, most of the time you don't know whether you should laugh or cry, and in the end you do both.
There is not much text in the play, but that is Finci Paska's philosophy of work – he attaches more importance to the subtext, images, symbols, music, with which he creates the whole atmosphere of the play. And through that atmosphere, in fact, he tells us about Chekhov, without many words. Unlike many Russian researchers of Chekhov's life, perhaps here Finci Paska understood and felt him more sensitively and deeply. In the play, there is an emphasis on one of Chekhov's sentences: life should be presented not as it is and not as it should be, but as we imagine it in our dreams.
According to what criteria do you select the plays and how many screenings are planned in the project?
– The criterion is one, the play should be interesting, exciting, so that we have something to talk about and discover in it after the screening. We try not to be biased and not to choose only those productions that we like, but those plays and directors without which theater history cannot be written. The project will last as long as there is interest, which we hope will grow and not fade away.
For what purpose was the company "ArtActUm" founded, who are the founders and collaborators of the production?
- Now for now there are very few of us, only three, but what three! The most important positions are occupied by people who would be the envy of all Macedonian companies: the artistic director of "ArtActUm" is the director Ivan Popovski, and the technical manager is the producer Pavle Ignovski. And I think that in this company we have a very healthy, inspiring, cheerful, working, friendly atmosphere, and I hope that these feelings will not end. Of course, we also have many friends who help "ArtActUm" who knows and knows how: we have inspirers, promoters, theoreticians, journalists, artists, designers...
There is also the Cinematheque, embodied in Vladimir Lj. Angelov, who was also very interested in the project and whose support means a lot to us. Our goal is and always will be good theater! Good theater is the most important criterion, which we absolutely follow in the selection for "Theatre on Screen", in the selection of performances for guest appearances in Macedonia, and also in the creation of our future productions, which we are thinking about intensively. But for now, I won't reveal all the secrets!
(The interview was published in "Cultural Press" number 180, in the printed edition of the newspaper "Sloboden Pechat" on 27-28.5.2023)