Association Divadelná Nitra, Contemporary Dance Association, Plesni Teater Ljubljana, Nitra, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Slovakia, Slovenia, 2020
author: Petra Fornayová
directed by Petra Fornayová
about the production
Blue is the Colour asks what will convince our spoiled civilisation of a need to reformulate its dominant discourse and interrogates the relationship between the individual’s freedom and his or her responsibility – for society, for future generations, for the environment. Are there any solutions to the advancing ecological crisis? Will they be private or – on the contrary – global political strategies? How willing and capable will we be in following the ‘moral law’ and how far will its limits be displaced?
One of many definitions is as follows: ‘Morality is expressed in the virtues of the individual who in judging and acting aims for the good, and can therefore distinguish the good from the evil.’ Morality is subjective, good and evil can be interpreted in numerous ways – especially given temporal distance, at which we often stamp something as either good or bad. But according to certain theories, morality is objectively tied to a specific period, time, space, that is to say the culture in which we exist. The most solid proof for this is the Declaration of Human Rights formulated in 1789, when society as a whole had grown ready to apply humanistic principles equally to the functioning of state and law.
When we begin musing about a new morality, it might be appropriate to first reflect on the new society that generates a new culture. What will the new society be like – if indeed there is one? Will the struggle for survival cease or only really begin?
Our morality revolves around us. If apocalyptic predictions do come true, even partly, then we are en route to a dystopia rather than some utopian miracle, and the ‘moral law in us’ will be tested in due time. We are the only species that destroys its own habitat, and with it also the habitats of countless other animal species. Our vision could be of a society where anthropocentrism ceases to be a general filter in our worldview.
According to certain scientists, we are already witnessing global collapse. Some say we need to deepen our reverence for nature and mutual solidarity, others suggest we engage in esotericism and a new religion that would invest novel meaning in the existence of a society dependent on an enormous consumption of energy and boundless consumerism. Others believe in the aid of technology (although, already in 1865, British economist and logician W. S. Jevons described a paradox whereby an increase of efficiency in the use of a resource leads to an increase in the rate it is consumed, meaning technological advancement does not lead to lesser consumption).
However, many are of the opinion all these are but naïve and utopian revelries. Even if we succeeded in recalibrating our system, over time we would revert to exploiting resources to secure our existence at the expense of all other of the ecosystem’s elements. This pattern of behaviour is simply the basic precondition of life. The relative stability of the ecosystem ends where resources turn scarce.
‘If people were to disappear, who else would care but us?’ French botanist and ardent nature protector Francis Hallé was once asked. He thought it a brutal but completely justified question. But when trees disappear, so will people. As Polish philosopher Henryk Skolimowski writes, democracy is no longer sufficient, we need ecocracy as a form of government that respects the natural system in its entirety.
We want to materialize all these reflections on stage through concrete stories and characters inspired by real people – a fanatical botanist, a true-blue athlete, an idealist politician, a collector, a minimalist… Reality will overlap with fiction, texts with movement and image. The performance will also see participation by the audience, who will be involved in a simulation of direct democracy, thematising the process of decision-making as a relevant act in drafting the potential principles of a ‘new morality’.
Blue is the Colour was selected on the basis of an open call for artists joined by eleven artistic companies. By endorsing the project, Association Divadelná Nitra fulfils its ambition of supporting Slovak artists in international creative work and fostering their establishment on the world culture scene.
The participative production Blue is the Colour is created in Slovakia and especially at creative residency programmes in, among others, Slovenia, Ireland and Belgium. Local residents are involved in the research to enrich the project with novel geographical context.
Given restrictions on international travel due to the COVID-19 epidemic, only one artistic residency in Slovenia (Plesni Teater Ljubljana) has taken place so far. The artistic team will present the results of this process and their rehearsals in Slovakia in a special festival presentation of the project Blue is the Colour as a work-in-progress. The project is scheduled to premiere in late 2020/early 2021.
concept, direction: Petra Fornayová
cast: Petra Fornayová, Vlado Zboroň, Silvia Sviteková
in videos: Sandro Amar Tahirovič, Marinko Pintar, Sandro Amar Tahirovič, Lazi Drago, Richard Imrich
media and technical direction: Jakub Pišek
text and dramaturgy: Peter Šulej
music: Fero Király
production: Contemporary Dance Association / Petra Fornayová, Association Divadelná Nitra / Anna Šimončičová
co-producers: Association Divadelná Nitra (SK), Contemporary Dance Association (SK), Dublin Theatre Festival (IE), Plesni Teater Ljubljana (SE), Kunstencentrum Buda (BE)
Realized in the framework of the European project Be SpectACTive! – Associazione Culturale CapoTrave / Kilowatt (IT), Artemrede – Teatros Associados (PT), Bakelit Multi Art Center (HU), Koproduktionshaus Wien / Brut (AT), Kunstencentrum Buda (BE), Café de las Artes Teatro (ES), Domino Udruge (HR), Asociácia Divadelná Nitra (SK), Dublin Theatre Festival Company (IE), Göteborgs Kommun – Göteborgs Stads kulturförvaltning / Stora Teatern (SE), Institution Student Cultural Centre (RS), Occitanie en scène, Réseau en scène Languedoc-Roussillon (FR), Plesni Teater Ljubljana (SI), Tanec Praha (CZ), Teatrul Naţional Radu Stanca Sibiu (RO), Fondazione Fitzcarraldo (IT), Universitat de Barcelona (ES), Université de Montpellier (FR), Centre national de la recherche scientifique / CNRS (FR).
Supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
Supported from public funds by the Slovak Arts Council.
Other project partners: Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatization, City of Nitra, Nitra Self-Governing Region, Flanders – State of the Art, SPP Foundation, LITA – Society of Authors, Bratislava Self-Governing Region, City of Bratislava Foundation
Special thanks: Katja Somrak, Urša Adamič, Martina Vannayová, Mateja Koren, Beáta Kolbašovská, Primož Repar, Matej Gavula, Adam Hanuljak
Petra Fornayová (1972) is a Slovak director, choreographer, dancer and actor. She has authored several original productions (e.g. Manifesto of Possibilities, The End The End, Subjective Future, Opernbal, Objects of Research), staged to acclaim at local and international festivals (Nová Dráma/New Drama, Jamai(s) Vu! Paris, Tanec Praha, Ars Cameralis Katowice, HybajHo! Praha, KoresponDance Žďár nad Sázavou, and elsewhere). Her works Dance with Changing Parts (2018) and Patterns (2019), created in collaboration with the interdisciplinary art group Cluster ensemble, were shortlisted for the Tatra banka Foundation Art Award. Fornayová founded and directs the international contemporary dance and physical theatre festival Nu Dance Fest, and is a member of the editors’ board of Vlna, a magazine for contemporary art. She was nominated for the national film award Slnko v sieti 2018 for her portrayal of Mother in Juraj Lehotský’s film Nina.