In the fourth issue of ACT II we attempt to chart the Athenian theatres’ winter season and bring to the foreground the notions of memory (re-member) and participation (member), of History and the city.
What do we remember of the city and what does the city remember of us? Which stories do artists choose to narrate on the theatre stage? How ‘nostalgic’ or how ‘national’ is the repertoire of the Athenian theatres? Can theatre offer itself as a place to activate urban memory? How pivotal is the role of the state in cultural affairs? Memory constitutes an open system, a dynamic space of continuous renegotiation of the present and the past, which is no other than the space of the city. We are interested in how theatre is registered in this space, both through the performative event itself and through the wider artistic stance and action. In other words, how theatre influences the shape of the city and of its narratives in motion. A wide spectrum is formulated, where we might chance upon a cultural revolution together alongside a reproduction of the dominant national narratives.
In an attempt to outline the relationships between state and theatre artists, as well as the hierarchies created, we measure the footprint of the numerous cultural regimes and environments operating on the city and the stage. We attempt a critical evaluation of our own stance towards these regulatory authorities and wonder ‘where have we been?’. We wish to highlight the notion of participation within the process of remembering and, furthermore, that of communing ab initio in the critical assessment of our personal participation.
The direction of the issue causes us to ponder even on the place of our magazine, funded by the Ministry of Culture, in relation to the state institutions and the major foundations which are active in the field of both the theatre and the city, affecting the past, the present and the future of both.
Finally, we have decided that the publication of this issue will coincide with ACT II’s first symposium – an event which will incite a discussion about theatre and performing arts, so that their common ‘worries’ and problematics may coexist in a transition from the digital to the physical space, from a magazine to a stage.