We have entitled the upcoming season Love. I would like to make it clear that the designation of the season simply reflects our humble desire that the plays to be staged are worth our common attention that we feel they deserve. Similarly, collections of poetry have titles that are key to the reading of the poems therein and provide ‘reading glasses’ to enable us to experience the world of the poets. Likewise, the same goes for the theatre season titles. The title of the season aims to be nothing but a spotlight on the countless background »topical themes« that will steer course of the selected subject matters to be staged and will point our perspective on the most intimate feeling of the world. Why Love? To claim that fear is a primaeval human emotion is nothing new. Fear is the main survival engine of the species. Having said that, fear is also the most productive setting for manipulation of any kind. It has been so since the time immemorial. At a time when globalization, above all the financial one, has reached and surpassed every forecast, and when a new era of migration begins to join the »precariat«, a new and barely born social class of »the redundant« or »the unnecessary«, caused by technological advancement and robotization, fear can easily turn into hatred, defiance, xenophobia, racism, and many other negative emotions. People continue building walls and erecting barbed wire fences. The feeling is that the world has never been so widely torn apart. It seems as if love, the only force that could possibly outweigh hatred, is losing the ongoing battle. The word empathy sounds nothing but an expression from a distant the past. In human history, there have been periods when people at least for a moment were united by the idea of an utopia governed by love.
Jesus introduced his faith in forgiveness, empathy, and love. In the 1960s, the hippies tried to replace the war with love. Alas, it did not work, and it continues not to. A world of fear and constant struggle to survive is obviously a human natural habitat, while love and happiness seem to be reserved for personal and intimate feelings. In today’s world, it seems that love is losing the battle even at the most intimate level; a battle against new technologies and new possibilities offered by them. No wonder many thinkers reflecting on the world of today have devoted much of their attention to the ultimate human right of being loved and happy. As Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twersk, has put it: »We live in a time when love is nothing but a vehicle for our gratification. « Or, as Slavoj Žižek put it, »we live in a time when we desire coffee without caffeine, sugar-free sugar, sex without love. We live in the time of fake reality. « According to the Croatian philosopher Srečko Horvat, »we live in the age of hyperrealism, in the age of narcissistic culture, we hire subcontractors to assist us and make true our mutual emotional connections. « The so-called Žižek-Peterson duel was entitled Happiness. And so on and so forth. In the age of selfies and narcissistic culture, love has become a marketing asset. Dating agencies’ mathematical algorithms have replaced »precarious« personal contacts. Having said that, new technologies allow Orwellian control over us and endless manipulation possibilities of our own desires and fears. What a paradox indeed that globalization which is supposed to mean aggregation, and the new technologies that should make it possible to connect easily, have achieved precisely the opposite on a personal level. They have caused alienation, fear of communication, lack of empathy ... which will obviously become signifiers of the age we live in.
It is hardly our desire to moralize, let alone to presume that we can fix the world in the course of its mad and unstoppable globalization rush. We stand no chance of achieving such a momentous goal. Nonetheless, we may try, for a moment at least, a moment that lasts while a theatre production takes place, and in so doing, add a tiny piece into a mosaic of a slightly different, perhaps a utopian world. The plays we have chosen for the upcoming season help us to turn our attention to the primaeval essence of our existence: empathy and love that we currently feel as the major shortcoming. In ancient Greek, they used a lot of names for love: eros, philia, storge, ludus, mania, pragma, philautia, agape. No matter how meticulously they divided live into fractions and put names to them, the ancient Greeks invariably referred to a feeling that is opposite to hatred. Therefore, I extend my invitation to you to embark on a journey with us that will present bits of reality, filtered in the artists’ net. The journey will involve the fear of a prophet in Wilde’s Salome as well as the searching for roots in the devastated countries of the Middle East in Mouawadi's Scorched, as well as two original theatre projects by Mirjana Medojević and Jernej Lorenci respectively; a science cabaret 2020, inspired by the works of the famous historian and sociologist Yuval Noah Harari; a perspicuous Susan Sontag and a sarcastic Matjaž Zupančič; Ibsen’s fjords and Stephens’ urban feel … The authors, directors and actors are rooted in the world of today. We create out of this moment for this moment. We are translators of reality into a stage language. The title of the season is simply a signpost for your special attention.
I extend my invitation to you to experience and share with us a theatre assemblage called Love.
Nearly a century and a half ago, Arthur Rimbaud famously said,
»if love was to have any future, it will have to be reinvented … «