The 5th edition of the Interferences International Theatre Festival began on Thursday, November 24, with a solemn opening ceremony and the Ljubljana National Theatre's performance of Faust.

In his opening speech, Gábor Tompa, the Festival's Director, said that the central theme of this year's Interferences, strangeness, has preoccupied humanity since the expulsion from Paradise. During the next ten days, the theatrical performances that can be viewed in Cluj and that focus on this topic will approach also the issue of individual and group identity, an approach which may be particularly relevant for Eastern Europe. At the same time, due to the experience provided by theatre, strangeness may also create a feeling of familiarity - which is the type of experience the Director wished for audiences to have.

The Faust adaptation that opens the festival was created out of the collaboration of the Slovenian National Theatre Drama from Ljubljana and the 63rd edition of the Ljubljana Festival, a performance that, unfortunately, turned out to be the last staging of the prominent Slovenian director, Tomaž Pandur.

According to the testimony of the director the show "follows a person's journey, between heaven and earth, a person who is trying to find the truth and the meaning of his existence. And that is precisely the purpose of the theater - to speak about and question the most vital issues of human existence. Goethe dared to state, that the struggle between good and evil represents the driving force of humanity, and provides an unswerving faith in the future."

Another performance took place on the opening day of the festival, namely This Beach, performed in the Studio Hall of the Hungarian Theatre by the Brokentalkers ensemble from Ireland.

The second day of the festival features a number of additional programs: there are conversations taking place at TIFF House with the creators of the previous night's performance, followed by the book launch of theatre critic Cristina Modreanu, at the same venue. Declan Donnellan, the director of the Cheek by Jowl ensemble will hold a theatre workshop for young actors. In the evening, we again look forward to two performances, Szabolcs Hajdu's It's Not the Time of My Life and Nathan the Wise, a co-production by the Radu Stanca National Theatre, Romania and Schauspiel Stuttgart, Germany.

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