International and meeting. These two words are like bearers of two good tidings. First, that there are still nations (cultures), and second, that these cultures are going to mix and mingle with one another here and now in the theatre. While in our topsy-turvy world the difference between “inside” and “outside,” near and far, is increasingly blurred, the goal of a meeting like this one nonetheless remains in part to ensure that what is “outside” is not foreign, that we not keep unfamiliar cultures at a distance with words like “exotic,” but rather discover in them the affinities we share. As Eve says in Imre Madách’s brilliant dramatic poem The Tragedy of Man,
“Ah look at those sweet kindred faces,
Look, just look, how charmingly they greet us,
Now farewell wilderness and desolation,
True happiness has come to dwell among us.”
Lucifer replies, “these delightful evanescent creatures / Will answer in the spirit of the question. / They smile benignly on the pure in heart / But seem horrendous to the desperate.” Indeed, as we were able to hear the other day during the story told by András Berecz, famous story teller, on the stage of the National Theatre, if in the darkness—for it is dark, that is quite clear—I mistake my sibling for a bear and indeed perhaps he mistakes me for one as well, then purely out of fear we may end up at each other’s throats.
In 2016, MITEM is striving to create an opportunity for us to recognize ourselves in others by bringing together a group of people from a diverse array of cultures, more diverse than ever, to share in the performances of archaic, classic, and contemporary works for the stage. A family of theatre artists, which is growing year by year, is the core of MITEM. Every year, they are joined by newly discovered talents and build new ties and bonds. After all, this is the essence of this kind of meeting.
(24 February 2016)