Press release

The Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward in China, Pinochet's coup and the women of divided Germany at Archa Theatre's Akcent Festival

The stories of famine survivors during the Great Leap Forward in China, the fate of a rural woman in the period of the Cultural Revolution, the confrontation of ordinary lives in East and West Germany, the stories told by young people about their own parents – the winners and losers of Pinochet's revolution in Chile, and a Kafkaesque look at history, where instead of sitting on chairs the audience recline in beds...
From November 13 to 18 Prague's Archa Theatre will be devoted to the 4th year of the Akcent festival of international theatre with outreach and to leading foreign companies who work with documentary historical themes through the contemporary language of theatre, dance and multimedia.
"This year we chose Memory as the main theme," says the director of the festival, Jana Svobodová. "We invited the best groups whose work examines how national histories permeate personal memories."
For example, the festival will feature the only independent Chinese company the Living Dance Studio, Berlin creative group She She Pop, who are well-known from the Akcent Festival 2011 and the Prague festival of German-language theatre, interesting Croatian company Bacači Sjenki, and Chilean production house Fundacion Teatro a Mil with Argentinean scriptwriter, director and musician Lola Arias, who among other things works with members of Rimini Protokoll. The foreign guests will be joined by local Archa.lab project Boys and Girls by Magda Stojowska and Terezy Durdilová about the relationship of the youngest and oldest generations.
The festival will also feature interactive installations by Márta Schermann (Hungary), Stanica Žilina (Slovakia), and Teatr Grodzki (Poland), as well as an exhibition of original works by American theatre creator Peter Schumann, and an expert conference entitled Radical Theatre Yesterday and Today.

The festival will open on November 13 and 14 with Chinese company Living Dance Studio. In the multimedia performance Listening to Third Grandmother's Stories director and choreographer Wen Hui presents the real memories of an old woman from the Chinese countryside against the backdrop of historical upheavals such as the Cultural Revolution and other periods of contemporary Chinese history. In the production Memory 2: Hunger, film director Wu Wenguang and choreographer Wen Hui combine dance with the testimony of people who survived the famine during Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward, often at the price of their dignity.
On November 15 the performance of Drawers Berlin company She She Pop present six women, three of whom grew up in East Germany and three in West Germany. Twenty years after reunification they decide to find a new way to meet each other and thus delve into their memories – their personal drawers. "Their letters, diaries, texts, photographs and favourite music lead to the exciting confrontation of seemingly ordinary lives," says Jana Svobodová.
Akcent Festival audiences on November 16 and 17 will not sit on regular chairs, but recline in beds with lamps. Croatian company Bacači Sjenki present the production Vacation from Hsitory directed by Boris Bakal. "This is theatre on the boundary of dreams and reality, a Kafkaesque production, which will be presented for the first time in the city of Kafka," says Svobodová.
On November 15 the small auditorium of the Archa Theatre will host performance entitled Boys and Girls, in which a group of children and seniors aged nine to 81 uncovers a world of life stories and imagination. The production by Magda Stojowska and Terezy Durdilová was created as part of the Archa.lab residence program.
The project The Year I Was Born by Argentinean director Lola Arias, which was created in the Chilean production centre Fundacion Teatro a Mil, on November 18 will transport audiences to Chile in the period after Pinochet's revolution. Eleven young people, the descendants of the winners and losers of the revolution, reconstruct the lives of their parents from photographs, letters, recordings, clothes and fragments of stories. "The performance sparkles with energy, rhythm and sincerity," says Svobodová. "It's eleven real stories culminating in eleven guitar solos."