is the offsprfing of the ‘70s, of the changes in the Kaj Sveti Nikita Goltarot
Theater, of the youth magazine Focus, of … a different generation. The
birth of the Festival was an outburst of positive energy, imagination and
a desire for changes on the theater map, for creating new criteria and
values, supporting young theater writers in their search for radically
different audiences and a modern sensibility. The founders - 25 May
House of Youth ( today, Youth Cultural Center) and the Open
Theater University of the Aesthetic Laboratory at the Philological
Faculty in Skopje - have permanently incorporated themselves in the syntagmatic
phrase Mlad Otvoren Teatar (Youth Open Theater), more familiar to
all as MOT.
The growth of MOT, has constantly made the checking and perfecting of its concept idea current, because in its development, MOT had surpassed the narrow financial and organizational frames that created it in 1976.
Even in the period of sanctions and closed borders, MOT managed to make a “hole in the wall” and integrate itself in Europe and the world as an active member (since 1992) of the Informal European Theater Meeting seated in Brussels, Belgium. The links with over 330 theater organizations, festivals, institutes and producers, who do not see their destiny locally, but rather try to make a “date” with the most current ideas in theater, has confirmed MOT’s legitimacy and stamped the Macedonian passport for entering the theater network. The theater workshop, which was organized in 1994 in co-operation with IETM, proved that MOT is a part of the world’s theatrical family.
The process of development of the new concept, which began with Searching the Roots (1992), i.e., with our own production and the re-make of the founders of the Macedonian theater and drama, through The Antic and the Myth and Return to Avant-garde, was also a reevaluation of its basic program directions and aims. Celebrating its 20th anniversary (1995) with the theme The Theater at the Cross-roads, MOT trod its way to the year 2000 as a multitheatre meeting of all those who have the interest and desire to share their experiences and accomplishments. To round up its concept, MOT will turn more ambitiously to the cooperative presence in the Mediterranean region by becoming a member of the Mediterranean Theater Institute association of theater festivals.
In its 22 years of existence, MOT has created its own identity: it confirmed its international character with performances of over 380 various shows by theaters and alternative groups from all over Europe, the United States, Canada, Venezuela, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Mali. Being mass, open and available for the presence and participation of everyone and everywhere, constantly discovering new stages - from the Philological Faculty Auditorium in the distant 1976, then on to the Square and the streets, the pubs in the Old Charshija and the Fortress, conquering the stages of the professional theater houses and reviving the Youth Cultural Center (MKC), it redesigned the entire city into a theater stage. Today, MOT has become a kind of a hallmark for Skopje.
Its meaning and influence on the development
of the Macedonian theater, and in a broader context of Former Yugoslavia,
the Balkans and Europe, will be the target of some future research. For
now, we could mark these names as the most impressive ones that appeared
on MOT: the mime group from London, who at the very birth of the festival,
precisely at noon in the Philological Faculty Auditorium, “stamped” MOT
with the glory of theater with their show Prufrock, and led the
thousands in the audience through the carnival; the SolSolet show
performed by the Comedians from Spain; The End of Europe from Poland;
the legendary Mass in A-Major by SMG from Ljubljana; Pandoor’s
Secherezade; Sun 3 from the USA; the puppet Macbeth from
Japan; Hamlet by the ITD from Zagreb; the parade and fireworks in
celebration of MOT’s 20th birthday with Gigantomachia by the
Plasticians from France, who filled the city center with the most numerous
MOT audience; up to The Three Lives of Lucy Cabrol in the unforgettable
performance of Theater de Complicite from London, the 300th performance
of which was greeted with ovations - the actors and the audience sang the
song from the show together (from around here)… These few shows alone,
well known on the world theater festivals, confirm the validity of the
concept of MOT. The most important names of the ex-Yugoslav theater
scene were promoted here. Some of them made their debuts on MOT and we
could not forget the glitters of the Macedonian alternative theater
(and avant-garde), beginning with Let vo Mesto by the first Independent
Theater Workshop, to Zelena Guska (The Green Goose) by the Theater Workshop
of the Philological Faculty, among which the Pralipe Romi Theater remains
built in into MOT’s foundations.
From its very beginnings, MOT’s desire has been to promote and support young theater authors. MOT’s open doors enabled the realizations of numerous festival premieres, as well as MOT’s projects or co-productions. From Aeschylus’ Orestes with the new generation from Slovenia, Bulgaria and Macedonia, as the first international project, to this year’s festival workshops and premieres of the MNT Ballet with Joshiko Chuma and Tanz*Hotel from Austria. The first results and achievements of “the new visions of the Macedonian theater stage” are evident, but still, their long term reaches will be proved by the test of time.
For years, MOT has been creating a spirit of intense mutual experience and co-operation, through the exchange of results from the research and the experiment, especially in the alternative and off-institutional forms - no festival kitchens and awards. The AUDIENCE was and has remained the only barometer of the selection who allows no compromises. The reviews on the latest MOT editions, those by the audience through conversations deep in the night, by the theater critics and the media, as well as those from the participants and guests themselves, show that MOT is still on the right track.
“With its values that are becoming more and more evident, and its constancy and growth, MOT is turning into a unavoidable theater happening on the Balkans, primarily as one of the driving forces of its own, and our country’s integration in the family of cultures (and especially theater) of Europe and the world.” However symbolic that may seem, MOT did (and does) enable “the breakthrough through the wall!” (Evident Values: MOT ’96, Ivan Ivanovski, Kulturen zivot 3-4/96)
At the end of the era, before the mysterious 20th century, we ask ourselves again: what, how and where to go to next?! MOT has set the global question of reconsideration and reevaluation of the existing value systems and theatrical poetics in the search for the Theater of the Future. Should we go on to a theater in which the predominant part will be played by computerization, video, lasers and other new technologies?! A theater with no words, one of symbols and signs…
MOT Artistic Director