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Burak Kiroglu, general manager of Beko Balkans

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Ivan Medenica, Artistic Director and Selector of Bitef, theatre critic and professor at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts

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The state is obliged not to bury its head in the sand, but rather to simultaneously develop several scenarios for the time to come, and be ready for different trade-offs. Unfortunately, we seem to have been left to the elements.
Ivan Medenica

Summer passes quickly, so we shouldn’t talk about it in the future tense, but rather in the present, and maybe even in the past. This merging of perspectives of time is the best indicator of the situation in which we’ve lived since the beginning of the pandemic, in which we are still living, and will probably live in for the coming months. As a result of the complete uncertainty that accompanies the pandemic of this unknown virus, everything that we are planning today could seem absurd, unnecessary or impossible tomorrow, while it seems as though we’re reliving the same day over and over again. As in the epic poem The Building of Skadar: “what the maestros build in a day / the fairy destroys it all in a night”.

The state is obliged not to bury its head in the sand, but rather to simultaneously develop several scenarios for the time to come, and be ready for different trade-offs. One doesn’t get the impression that this is happening, but rather that we have been left to the elements, which actually suits our society anyway, with our unwillingness to plan anything strategically and over the long term…

Unlike the state, we as individuals have the right to build towers every day on that same sand that will be carried away on the tide of a new morning. We thus have the right to deceive ourselves with some impossible projects, for objective reasons related to the pandemic, but I don’t think that’s good psychologically. That constant effect of betrayed expectations is terribly exhausting.

I don’t think things will return to normal for a long time, but nor do I believe that this situation will change us permanently: I simply think that the recovery will be slow… I fear that it will be particularly difficult for theatres and artists

The most important thing in times like these is to assess which activities we can personally control to a greater or lesser extent, from the professional to the private, and then to invest the most attention and energy in them, because in that way we will get at least some satisfaction, albeit perhaps only psychological satisfaction, but that is also the most important kind.

I don’t think things will return to normal for a long time, but nor do I believe that this situation will change us permanently: I simply think that the recovery will be slow. Paradoxically, I think that first of all, in one way or another, we will raise our immunity, protect ourselves from viruses and restore our health, and that recovery in other areas, primarily economic and social, will progress much slower…

I’m afraid that theatre will be one of the human activities that will recover the slowest, because – paradoxically and unfairly – theatre operations will remain suspended completely until the conditions for more or less normal physical contact are created. Recovery will be slow because it will very possibly be necessary to overcome the audience’s fears of returning to these closed spaces, which now – unlike shopping centres, restaurants, vehicles and gyms – have been unreasonably marked as high risk.

The question is whether and how performers, musicians, dancers and actors will maintain their creative condition in this interim period, and the level it will be at when things normalise. Still, my greatest fear is about the kind of financial consequences the theatre will suffer, whether it will be marked as a luxury and surplus to social requirements, because, obviously, we’ve been able to go without it for months.

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News

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