Now it’s been a week since The International Theater Universiade finished and we can reflect on the meaning of creating an event to celebrate theater, the coming together and partaking of one mutual experience. We have discussed in what ways a common experience influence a community, but with little success in finding a final answer. Our thoughts have orbited around how these kinds of events create a sense of belonging and unity. In ancient Greece the theater’s role was to teach and bring the members of the society closer. The theater was obligatory and a normal habit in people’s life. Unfortunately, we have the notion that nowadays the theater is viewed as a high cultural occasion exclusively for a selected few. Theater denotes the posh and pretentious, partly because it’s costsome and partly because of its unfavorable reputation as an upper class activity. Either way, this has a dividing effect on a society rather than a uniting one. Due to this sad change, we were more than happy to be offered and undertake the task of promoting a theater festival with free entry.
The International Theater Universiade changes the perspective on this by reaching out to the mass and making a festival where everyone is invited regardless of their age and background. The reintegration of theater as a cultural expression here is not only possible because of the free entrance, but also because this event has invited theater groups from many different Greek cities as well as foreign countries like Serbia and Bulgaria. Thanks to such diversity theater transcends into a multidimensional art form, as the highlight is allowed to shift away from the verbal language and focus on the scenography or the expressions of actors and actresses instead. Furthermore, we appreciated the mix of amateur and professional actors, most of whom were university students. Because the exclusion is not only applicable to the audience, but also within the entertainment business. Hence, it was nice to see that young and less established actors are given the opportunity to perform at a big event like this.
Nevertheless, the theater is a place and a room for belonging and unity - a belonging that is borderless and an extending absolute, as the latin word is implying. We have witnessed this through the event, as we have seen men and women of all ages come from different cities to share a common experience. We have have been touched to laughter and rapture and we are grateful to have participated in this theatrical journey. To promote such an important and cheerful event has been a fantastic experience, and we hope that the our work has been helpful and that the Facebook page we co-created will be used many years onwards. Arrangements like The International Theater Universiade make us hopeful about the future of theater and its role in our society. Perhaps theater will regain its reputation from the ancient Greece - a united ground for sharing and inspiration for everyone.
Ewa Florin and Jenny Giang
Link to the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/445323072909750/