Photo by Kate Krolle

From September 6 to 12, the 13th International Festival of Contemporary Theatre «Homo Novus» will take place in various locations in Riga, exploring the relationship between man, city and nature. Several guest plays and seven premiers will take the audience outside the boundaries of a conventional theatre experience.

Stories Editorial September 5, 2018

From 1995 the International Festival of Contemporary Theatre «Homo Novus» founded by the director Pēteris Krilovs and now taken over by Zane Kreicberga, Gundega Laiviņa and Laura Stašāne comes to the stages, streets and peripheries of Riga. As is the custom, several of the plays on offer explore the interplay between theatre and other arts, bringing together both new and already established artists. Jon Law will delve into the symbiosis of theatre and music with his open–air sound installation «Terrain Vague» that documents the soundscapes of outer Riga. Another portrait of the city in a large scale installation has been created by the Italian set designer and artist Gian Maria Tosatti. His work «My heart is a void. The void is a mirror» is a long–term project that examines the outskirts of Europe, establishing a sensitive dialogue with each city the installation is carried out in. Riga and its relationship with nature are explored in the opening event of the festival «Tree opera. The city» — a miniature performance by composer Anna Ķirse and playwright Andris Kalnozols, dedicated to the trees of Riga. A show has been brought to Riga from Valmiera Theatre Festival — the opera «Unknown unknown» by director Viesturs Meikšāns and composer Oliver Christophe Leith will take place at the «Sansusī» concert hall «Tu jau zini kur»». «Dirty Deal Teatro» will present a symphony of natural sounds «What nature says» by Myriam Van Imschoot.

One of the most extraordinary events of the festival programme will be the collaboration of directors Krista Burāne and Andy Field «Nocturne». Part of the performance takes place outdoors, includes physical activities and lasts from sunset till late night, looking for the untamed parts of the city. The puppet theatre director Māra Gaņģe and the artist Kate Krolle are working together for the first time in their collaboration «Leap second» that explores the relationships between people, things and time.

The Australian choreographer James Bachelor with his minimalistic play «Deepspace» and a show of three solo episodes «Spaces of Becoming» by performers Elīna Lutce, Rósa Ómarsdóttir and Mira Kautto will represent contemporary dance in the festival programme. Among the guest performances, there are two personal solo plays — a theatrical exploration of sex and gender in the show «MDLSX» by the Italian theatre art legend Silvia Calderoni and a monoplay — self portrait «Hello useless» by Benny Claessens.

On September 10, in collaboration with the National Theatre of Lithuania, an evening of new Baltic dramaturgy is offered to the audience. «The Workshop» is a performance about learning and teaching by three Estonian artists and is brought back to Riga by popular demand. Two new Baltic plays will see the light of day during the festival — the performance «In Love with a Sea Troll» by the Lithuanian interdisciplinary artist Vladas Suncovas and playwright’s Matīss Gricmanis’ exploration of homosexuality in Soviet Latvia «Narrow Margins of a Normative Lifestyle».

«Homo Novus» will take place at the Theatre Museum of Eduards Smiļģis, Dirty Deal Teatro, Museum of Railway, RISEBA media centre and elsewhere in Riga. The catalogue of the festival programme can be obtained at the New Theatre Institute (Miera iela 39, Riga), as well as in cafes and bars. Tickets can be purchased on «Biļešu Paradīze», but many of the events are free of charge. More information can be found on the «Homo Novus» homepage.