Theater des Augenblicks

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Gülun Gürses - Artistic Director, Founder of theater des Augenblicks together with Sigrid Seberich in 1987
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Context : Europe

The Theater des Augenblicks - in cooperation with other international and local artists and theoreticians - sees itself as a research center where things can be viewed in a differentiated manner while still questioning existing clichés. Along these lines, "context : europe" is an innovative project that creates an intimate space of openness in programming, intercultural theatre and collaborations with artists from other countries as well as for exceptional forms of performing and visual arts. Instead of the usual mono-dialogues this project seeks to place special emphasis on polylogues among all participants. "context : europe " aims to reach all people and groups interested, including international organizers and spectators, journalists and artists as well as minority communities living in Austria, inviting them to take part in this challenging discourse which consciously linking these public themes with the personal.
"Context : europe - theatre impulses from Poland, Russia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic"
The first "context : europe" festival took place from 27 April until 7 May 2000, and focused on avantgarde performing art from Eastern Europe. Artists like Chekov, but also Gorki, Stanislavski and the famous Bolschoi ballet are already well-known and established. Ten years after the fall of the "iron curtain", the Theater des Augenblicks presented Eastern European avantgarde art which was widely unknown to the domestic audience. Eastern European avantgarde has a long tradition and has influenced the Western world in almost every field of art, but especially in the performing arts.
Five productions from Eastern Europe and numerous acting workshops formed the framework of the festival. Supplementary photos of stages were displayed at an exhibition in the Polish Cultural Institute. The work ranged from the controversial to the experimental, including analyzing fundamental questions of life to rhythmicly explosive theater, or clownesque pantomime and magical-poetical realms of images to a speedy multimedia performance.

The following works were presented:
- "Die Einfahrt", Scena plastyczna KUL/Leszek Madzik (Poland)
- "Bertrands Toys", Black SKYwhite Theatre (Russia)
- "Ferdydurke", Teatr Provisorium & Kompania Teatr (Poland)
- "Melancholy Thoughts", Fourklor Physical Theatre (Slovenia)
- "Bleierner Nebel", Teatr Novogo Fronta (Czech Republik)

Further highlights were the closing party with a concert by the Czech-Jazztrio, the workshops for actors and acting students with Wieslav Komasa and Przernek Wasilkowski, as well as the exhibition titled "Leszek Madzik´s World Theatre"

"context : europe 2001 - theatre impulses from Scandinavia"
context : europe ´s success and echo of the audience were the main reasons that it was followed by an other festival in 2001. Exeptional contemporary performance art from the margins of Europe was the central theme. From 27 April till 10 May 2001, context : europe focused on less established ensembles from Skandinavia. The opening looked back to the last year´s region, and was completed by the symposium, "Contemporary theater and trends in cultural policy in Scandinavia" together with a performance from Finland. Finally a Turkish production linked up to context : europe 2001.

Scandinavian theatre has had an important role in the history of European performance art. Ibsen and Strindberg belong to the grandseigneurs of the Nordic theater, and the mystic somber beauty of Ingmar Bergman´s films is not only known by cineasts. Time goes on and today´s theater language in Scandinavia can be described as "post mainstream" (Knut Ove Arntzen, theatre scientist): a mixture of several European cultural references is partly dealt with an ironic distance or a daring romanticism.

The following productions were presented:
- „Bilard“, Cinema (Poland)
- "The Orchard Was All White“, Bal//Verk (Denmark/Norway)
- „Meaning Zero“, Staffan Eek (Sweden)
- „There“, Jo Strømgren Company (Norway)
- „GYM“, Krement X (Norway)
- „Moon Perturbation“, 5.Sokak Tiyatrosu (Turkey)

In the center of the diverse works were mainly issues of the individual: being between isolation and relationship, his desires, possibilities and realities in a modern world. The performances combined dance, theatre, music and video featuring subtle staging techniques, witty humour and drastic comique as well as the joy for experiments.
Author: Theater des Augenblicks: editor Annika Salomonsson

Bio

Gülsen Gürses was born in 1958 in Istanbul.
She studied at the Conservatory for drama and directing, Istanbul and theatre science at the University of Vienna. She received further education in directing and acting in Vienna and France as well as embarking on research trips to India, China and Indonesia.
During her education she founded and worked in the political theatre of Erkan Yücel, Ankara, acted in the children´s theatre "A-C-T", Ankara, cooperated in a film and script project with Sinan Cetin, worked theoretically and practically with street theatre, worked with handicapped children after Montessori, developed her own plays, was actress at the state theatre, Istanbul, worked theoretically and didacticly on Brecht-plays in Bakirköy Theatre, Istanbul and founded a group for the collection and publishing of children´s literature.
Gürses is the producer and director of several projects: "Briefe an Taranta Babu" (1985, on tour in 1988 - Southern Tyrol), "Guernica" (1989, on tour in 1990 - International Theatre Festival Istanbul and Festival Musica 900), "Niemand auf Reisen" (1991 - invitation to the theatre festival in Avignon)
She founded the group "Theater des Augenblicks" together with Sigrid Seberich (1987), of which she is artistic director since 1990; foundation of the first International Theatre Laboratory (ITL) in 1990, artistic director of the ITL. (1991 - 93).
Gürses is responsible for the conception, production and co-direction of the project "International Dance Laboratory - Jahre der Einsamkeit" (1996) and "International Dance Laboratory - Cycle 2 - Spuren der Einsamkeit" (1997). Artistic director and co-director of "III. International Dance Laboratory", cycle 1 ("Gender is Performance") and 2 ("Turning Talks" including the symposium "Transidentity in comparison with the cultures, Europe, Turkey, India) in 1998/99. Conception and artistic direction of the festivals "context : europe -theatre impulses from Poland, Russia, Slovenia and Czech Republic" (2000), "context : europe 2001 - theatre impulses from Scandinavia" and "context : europe 2002 - artistic impulses from south-eastern europe".
Gül Gürses, moved from Turkey to Vienna in 1981. After studying acting at the conservatory in Istanbul, working as an actress at the State Theater, the Bakiröy People´s Theater in Istanbul and at a theater in Ankara, she decided to come to Austria. "I wanted to enroll in theater studies at the university and gain the possibility to create innovative and socio-political theater," Gül stated when speaking about why she was motivated to forge her own way in a foreign country.
One of her first projects was directing the play Letters to Taranta Babu (Briefe an Taranta Babu) by Nazim Hikmet in Turkish at Vienna´s Center for Drama in 1985. The founding of the group "Theater des Augenblicks" followed in 1987, in collaboration with actress and dancer Sigird Seberich. In the beginning, the artists were not bound to a fixed space; they worked as an independent theater group. In this constellation Gül Gürses produced the German premiere of the play Letters to Taranta Babu in 1988. Immediately afterwards she went on tour with that piece to South Tyrol, a bilingual region in the north of Italy.
In 1989, Gül Gürses produced Guernica, a theater performance after Picasso, for which Hakan Gürses wrote the script. This extraordinary play brought Theater des Augenblicks invitations to the International Theater Festival in Istanbul and to the Music Festival in Trent, among others.

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