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The Birds – Interview Marina Raytchinova

Photo of model box with set designInterview by Corinne Robinson and Nikos Kalaitzidis

Aristophanes’ The Birds forms a part of the core foundations of Western Theatre, Greek comedy as well as tragedy, set the basic theatrical formulas that have developed over the ensuing centuries in Europe. Although written and first performed over 2400 years ago its satire is as applicable to today’s society as it was to that of Athens in 414 BC.

At Scenofest 2007 over 40 exhibitors will presented their responses to the birds as a part of the critiqued exhibition.

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A key element of The Birds exhibition was a series of morning critiques for participating students with renowned international design practitioners and educators.

Birds?

How did you come up with the idea for the Birds?
There was a meeting, early in 2004 for the Education Commission in Istanbul where there were discussions about giving students a text that could be put in a contemporary framework. We wanted something to inspire their imaginations and that would produce very diverse products. There is also so much that can be done with the idea in site-specific project as well as for costumes. We were looking for a text that would be close to the spirit of the younger generation. You can approach the Birds in a social way, in a political way; it is a starting point of inspiration. And there are so many emotions and connotations that come with it — following your dreams or reaching to the heavens.

Photo of a model box with set designDid the works that were submitted reach your expectations, or exceed them?
Many! There was certainly no idea of the ideal project. We truly wanted a wide range of responses. It was interesting to see the video media projects as well, which was something unexpected and extremely interesting. Especially the one from Brazil which is simply a video of birds, where the photographer tries to manipulate where the birds will move. It was unfortunate that we had to select a small number of the projects due to the small space for them. 160 projects were submitted, and out of them 42 were chosen. It was an amazing response. All of the applications were sent over the internet, and all of the judging was done over the internet as well.

What are the expectations for Scenofest 2011?
Well, there was enormous progress in the past four years, and this year Scenofest is on a much larger scale than last time. This year it covers more aspects than it did previously with workshops, performances, and lectures. It is so big already that 2011 should not be much bigger than now. Instead we will concentrate on depth, quality, and education.

Would you like to promote something, like the OISTAT Education Commission?
Gladly. It is very close to my heart and I would gladly promote it. It gives many opportunities to teachers, students, and schools in terms of advances and encouraging programs as well as making invaluable contacts. It is a good meeting point for students and teachers, and allows for exchange between schools. The results grow much bigger as it goes on. There is internet collaboration as well as seminars and workshops. It gives a great opportunity to the hosting country to promote their own theatre and schools. It is also oriented towards long-term projects such as Scenofest.

Is there anything you would like to add that you find important?
Yes, I think it is very important to add that the Critiqued Exhibits provide a wonderful opportunity to get critiques and professional advice from well-known designers from around the world. Also, since all the entries are exhibited digitally, they can all be seen on the Scenofest website www.scenofest.org under the link Virtual Birds.

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