4th Festival 1994


»Vision Europa – dem Fremden eine Tür«

(»Vision Europe – an open door to the stranger«)

24 – 27 November 1994

(Preface to the printed programme – including conception of the festival)

Two bottomless pits of despair opened themselves in front of us since the past euro-scene Leipzig and threatened to pull the festival forever into their blackest depths. They were the seemingly hopeless economic situation and the death of Matthias Renner, the festival's founder and director. The two reasons were more than enough cause to nip euro-scene Leipzig's tender bud in the present frosty climate cultural demise.

That simply could never be allowed to happen! Too alluring was the vision to use the theatre as a door through which to welcome strangers and to offer us the opportunity to better understand the unfamiliar. The fantastic idea to annually welcome in Leipzig modern theatre of experimental nature from all of Europe quickly became reality. Within the shortest possible time it became an important event making waves well beyond our city's boundaries.

During the rocky road of those three years euro-scene Leipzig became a linking member in the international chain of professional avant-garde theatres. It was its only representative in Germany's new states. Thereby it placed special attention on Leipzig's importance. Besides, only the attempt to keep the festival alive would do proper justice to Matthias Renner's legacy. As such I, as his former deputy, risked the rescue operation – however knowing fully well that the general public with its great interest in our cause stood fully behind me.

With »Francis Bacon« the first production ever by Johann Kresnik, the most famous enfant terrible of the contemporary German dance scene, was invited to Leipzig. The first showing in the new German federal states of this internationally much demanded production featuring Ismael Ivo is with us. Also here for its first time will be the Catalonian company Lanònima Imperial which is one of Spain's best troupes.

The range of the festival's stylistic variation is clearly shown by the opposing natures of the fearful-dark »Francis Bacon« and Jo Fabian's humerous-virtuos »Whisky & Flags«, the perhaps most original eastern German production of recent times. Elocutional and dance theatres join here with body and music theatres just as much as they do in the extraordinarily droll Theatre Point from Hungary.

Jean-Marc Matos from Paris uses completely different techniques and his use of video installations reminds much of »Red«, last year's production by Kimmo Koskela of Helsinki. And after Philippe Saire from the French-speaking Swiss cantons made a guest appearance here, Zurich's ch tanztheater performs this year for one evening. A real discovery is »Cela« (»The Cell«), a baffling exceptional production by the Polish theatre TUBB II. Finally, as in past years, Schauspiel Leipzig and Oper Leipzig accepted the invitations to participate on the festival with a production of their own choice.

Far more involved than in previous years, a fringe programme will round out the performances. Through various discussions and a workshop will the public have the opportunity to come in closer contact with the artists and theatre specialists. Our festival club this year is the Café Intershop.

Theatre often proclaims the message that an idea can survive the death of its human parent. The fact that euro-scene Leipzig survived the death of its forever unforgettable initiator Matthias Renner is mainly due to those people who supported the festival in the present financially frugal climate. Above all and beside the officially listed institutions, I personally would like to thank the acting stage-manager and administrative director of Schauspiel Leipzig, Mr Gerhard Nodurft, without whose generous and unbureaucratic support the festival's fate would have been doomed forever. l also would like to thank my compeer Beate Fischer for her steadfastness in even the most hopeless situations.

I wish all of you many eventful hours with the fourth euro-scene Leipzig. Whether there will be an anniversary next year is still in the stars. Visions, however, are always in the far distance – yet so close to the searching touch.

Ann-Elisabeth Wolff
Festival Director