The Bitef Theatre, Serbia

Direction, Concept and Set Design: András Urbán
Dramaturge: Jelena Bogavac
Cast: Suzana Lukuć, Borjanka Ljubimović, Anikko Kiss, Marta Béres and Danijela Petković
Composer: Irena Popović
Musicians: Danilo Tirnanić, Ivan Marković and Nikola Dragović
Video Art: Igor Marković
Stage Movement Associate: Anniko Kiss
Executive Production: Jovana Janjić

Running time: 60 minutes

The play A Short Story of the Anti-Christ emerges from a theatrical dialogue established in reference to Vladimir Solovyov’s Three Conversations, The Third Conversation – A Short Story of the Anti-Christ – a polemic philosophical text from 1900, where the author offers his view of the apocalyptic future of mankind. He draws close to the Orthodox Sacred Tradition and claims that religions, among them various Christian confessions, will be united by the Anti-Christ, the one St. Paul refers to as ‘Man of Sin’.
This theatre play explores the spiritual SF reality of Solovyov’s A Short Story of the Anti-Christ in comparison to the spiritual reality of our time.
In Solovyov’s philosophical dialogical discussion, all post-modern, one-dimensional figures of the antichrist placed into the political context of the 21st century are viewed as a precondition for the arrival of the real Anti-Christ. In other words, it is considered that, seeing each other as ‘antichrists’, the confronted East and West provide a fertile soil for the arrival - in the figure of the one who brings peace and happiness to mankind instead of a conqueror and statesman – a global ruler of the future who will be the true ‘fallen son’. 
Solovyov’s philosophical discussion is a starting point of the theatrical exploration which is basically an attempt at a polemic on the definitions of the notion of social evil, in comparison to the institutional evil, systemic evil, as well as good and evil in a metaphysical sense or defined in the vein of the liberal capitalism of nowadays.

The Bitef Theatre is a theatre without a standing ensemble, open for all theatre genres, ranging from wider theatrical to paratheatrical forms. The Bitef Theatre is an engaged theatre, in both political and ethical field, inspired by daily events making an impact on the daily events.  
For 25 years of its existence, the Bitef Theatre has been growing through its involvement in various possibilities of theatre, examining theatrical means and their limits, intervening in life, exploring the world we live in through both form and content. The most important feature of this theatre is the fact that it has been defending its artistic freedom continuously in a relentless struggle against kitsch and trash of all kinds, offering a daring and new, ready and engaged consideration of the world of everyday reality. It records the tradition of avant-garde and a continuity of the Bitef’s quality.  
The Bitef Theatre is a place where many renowned theatre directors have staged their plays. It has been promoting new Serbian dramatic writing and domestic choreographers who have collaborated with the Bitef Dance Company. The Bitef Theatre has been continually presenting new international authors: choreographers, directors, writers, etc, thus fostering its organic and basic links with European theatre. 
The Bitef Theatre pays particular attention to the development of a youth scene through cooperation with state, municipal and non-governmental organisations. Its strengthening is facilitated by educative programmes, young audience research and formulation of a repertoire with a continual participation of young people.

“In the play ‘A Short Story of the Anti-Christ’, Solovyov’s theses are set in the form of various dirty, physically ecstatic stage plays: ranging from bodily passions, through philistine religious fetishisation of motherhood and birth to the political and militant manipulation of religion, with the ultimate end in violence and conflict.
… an undoubtedly courageous, striking and unusual theatrical work with a clear attitude on the verge of physical performance art.’
City Magazine, 9.02.2015

“‘A Short Story of the Anti-Christ’ is recognisably Urbanian, which means deeply provocative, semantically complex, touchingly ironic and born out of the conflicting ideas.
(...) Urbán’s relentless criticism of Christian dogmas... is not directed against faith and Christianity. Quite on the contrary, it is directed against false representations of faith and abuse of Christianity, it stands against the lifeless models that essentially corrupt religion, its real, genuine, intimate sense.” 
Ana Tasić, Politika, 27.01.2015 

“If we continued to rationally interpret the scenes in the new production of the Bitef Theatre, we would first have to negate the deep feeling of excitement and uneasiness caused by what we have seen.”
Igor Burić, Dnevnik, 27.01.2015