In association with the U.S. debut of Backa Theatre of Sweden at the Nordic Cool 2013 Festival at the Kennedy Center in D.C., Randy Gener, the Nathan Award-winning editor, writer, curator and artist, and the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., are collaborating on a lively seminar about the growing genre of documentary theater.
Entitled "Can Documentary Theater Attract New Groups of Audiences?: A Swedish and American Theater Dialogue," the seminar takes place Monday March 11, 2013 between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon at the House of Sweden, located at 2900 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 (202) 467-2600).
Swedish playwright and artistic director of Backa theatre Mattias Andersson, who specializes in creating and staging theatrical projects grounded in sociological research methods, will discuss this hot topic with Robert McNamara, artistic director of SCENA theatre; and Otis Ramsey-Zöe, Lecturer of Theatre Arts at Howard University.
Randy Gener, who will moderate the talk, observes in American Theatre Magazine that "in Sweden theatrical works geared for young people are viewed not just as equal to adult-oriented theatre but in many cases as surpassingly livelier. Documentary innovations and experimentations in dramaturgy-strong themes (such as divorce, death, politics), bolder forms, openness to outside influences-have made it possible for youth-oriented dramas to shatter conventions and overturn orthodoxies in liberating ways."
To register for the free seminar, visit this Event Brite link.
Winner of the George Jean Nathan Award, the highest award for dramatic criticism in the U.S., Gener is a specialist of Nordic performing arts, which includes work from Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland. In 2011, Gener was a U.S. delegate and speaker in the Swedish Theatre Biennial. He lectured on "Global Sweden: Swedish Theatre in the World," focusing on instances and productions of Swedish theater in the United States. Gener also led a seminar on "Theater and Democracy: Voices From the Theatres in the World," featuring theater artists from South Africa, Uganda, Tunisian, Cameroon and the Ukraine.
Gener has interviewed Mattias Andersson of Backa Teater for Critical Stages, an international journal. In addition to Backa theater, Andersson's own plays have been performed at Stockholm City Theatre, the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Stockholm, Göteborg City Theatre, Malmö Dramatic Theatre and in Norway, Poland, Denmark, Germany, Romania and Serbia.
Based in Göteborg, considered Sweden's second city after Stockholm, Backa Teater was formed in 1978 and the performances are geared toward children and youth. In 1997 Backa Theatre was the first theatre to be promoted as a national stage for children's theatre for three years by the Swedish government. At Backa, Andersson has specialized in creating and staging theatrical projects grounded in sociological research methods. Examples include "The Mental States of Gothenburg," about the lives and dreams of young people; "The Gangs of Gothenburg," based largely on interviews with Göteborg's criminal elements; and an adaptation of "Crime and Punishment" (part of a three-play project involving the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel), in which Andersson placed the Russian novel in modern times and in a setting that could just as easily have been Göteborg as St. Petersburg.
Randy Gener is the only Asian American recipient of George Jean Nathan Award, the highest award for dramatic criticism in the U.S. He is the curator/organizer of Filipino Mundo-NYC, a Meetup group of visual and performing artists; founder/editor of the media project In the Theater of One World, and dramaturg of "Noli Me Tangere: The Opera." Co-editor of "The American Theatre Reader," Gener is the curatorial producer of the USITT/USA National Exposition, "From the Edge: Performance Design in the Divided States of America," an exhibition of political U.S. theater at the Prague Quadrennial. In addition to the Nathan Award, Gener is the recipient of numerous awards; including SPJ Deadline Club Award for Best Arts Reporting and NLGJA Journalist of the Year-all of for his editorial work and critical essays as senior editor of American Theatre magazine. Gener is presently at work on the first English-language book survey of the plays of the Swedish dramatist Lars Noren, which will be published by MESTC Press.