Bitef 2017: An epic trip is underway

“Epic Trip” is a motto of this year’s BITEF, a traditional event owing to which Belgrade, for the 51st time is becoming the world theatre capital.

Bitef 2017: An epic trip is underway

Belgrade International Theatre Festival (BITEF) is one of the cultural events which has been offering the Belgrade people the highest quality theatre achievements for more than 50 years. This year the festival marks its 51st birthday and as all these years it’s a genuine treat for all theatre goers who will be able to attend, at various locations, the fantastic achievements of theatre groups from Great Britain, Slovenia, Belgium, Iran, Germany, Switzerland and Serbia.

The 51st Bitef festival takes place from September, 22-30 and once again the loyal audience will experience an entirely different theatre programme.

The expression “Epic” is perhaps the most important one for this year’s Bitef and is reflected through three substantial characteristics of this year’s programme. The first characteristic is epic content, considering that this year, most plays are based on mythology. This was also the case with the play Mount Olympus by the renowned Belgian director Jan Fabre, which opened the 51st Bitef festival in the Sava Centre, and which is based on the entire Greek mythology. Also, similar topics, based on the fundamental principles underlying our civilization, can be found in two plays by a Slovenian director Jernej Lorenci – Bible, the First Attempt, based on Biblical texts, and the play the Kingdom of Heaven, inspired by Serbian epic literature.


Another characteristic of the plays in this year’s programme is the narrative mode, as the primary feature of ‘epic’. All the plays in this year’s selection are dominantly based on listening to the words and speech.

The third characteristic of the plays in this year’s Bitef is their duration (the so-called “durational performances"). In addition to the spectacular Mount Olympus which lasted for 24 hours, this phenomenon is also reflected by the play Quizoola! done by a well-known English acting company Forced Entertainment. In its original version, the play also lasts for 24 hours, however, at Bitef festival the 6-hour version will be performed. Lorenci’s play The Bible also lasts relatively long (over three hours).

The specific challenges in the Muslim world, such as the fundamental civil rights and the role of women, are depicted in the play Hearing and the play Snow, by the famous Thalia Theatre from Hamburg, directed by Ersan Mondtag, based on the “epic” material – the novel Snow, written by Turkish Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk.

„Epic trip" of this year’s 51st Bitef will finish by the play The Extermination, performed by Konzert Theatre from Bern, Switzerland.

If you’re fond of theatre stage and keen on a bit different artistic approach in performance and theatre art, web site strongly recommends that you visit at least one of the plays being performed at different locations within this traditional Belgrade event.

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