ConTempo Festival invites to the most memorable summer adventure

2023 06 06

From July 29 to August 6, the performing arts festival ConTempo will be held in Kaunas and the Kaunas District. For the fifth time, the festival returns to take the spectators out of ordinary life and surprise them with new experiences.

“This year again the festival does not deviate from its ideas and will aim to present high-level works of contemporary performing arts, to show the most interesting and relevant examples introduced in Europe and beyond. When creating the program, we do not concentrate on one topic, we think about the people of Kaunas and the Kaunas District, and what they have already seen or experienced. The festival seeks to stimulate the imagination of the local audience, encourage local creators to search for new art forms, inspire the city to move forward, open up to experimental arts and their contemporary forms, and accustom urban spaces to accept them. It is very important for us that the festival maintains excitement and a new approach. Not all performances will be convenient. They will raise many questions, encourage discussions, and at the same time give powerful experiences,” says Gintarė Masteikaitė, artistic director of ConTempo.

Since 2019, ConTempo has invited the audience to watch performances in non-conventional places. This idea will be developed further in a special Catalan program which presents 4 works for public spaces. The “Symphonic Flock” will take the audience on a sound-filled excursion, an experiential journey from one place to another. Well-known artist Joan Català, who specialises in the fields of circus, contemporary dance, and theatre, will present the legendary play “Pelat”, and his new project “Idiofona”. In addition, a duo of artists from Catalonia and Slovenia will invite the spectators to a hypnotic dance performance “Cossoc”, filled with suggestive images of what two bodies in constant balance can do.

One of the most controversial and interesting guests of the festival are Hungarian and German artists Boglárka Börcsök and Andreas Bolm, who are coming with their performance “Figuring Age”. In a fictional ghost séance, the viewer will meet three elderly dancers who contributed to the spread of modern dance in Hungary during the 1930s. The audience will be able to witness the immersive and haunting process of embodiment, transformation through body and voice.

The freedoms and limitations of public spaces and the topic of homelessness will be explored in the performance “Nest”. Three people, a car and a secluded urban space – this is the central axis of the performance, which unravels the story between humour and tragedy. According to the artists, “Nest” invites the spectators to walk on the dangerous edge, where the system and the marginalised collide. 

The festival will also explore the Lithuanian performing arts scene. Well-known Kaunas-based dance troupe “Nuepiko” will present a dance and circus performance “4 Victors“, at the heart of the Olympic Games spirit, masculinity, and playfulness. The solo performance “Glass” by Lina Puodžiukaitė, an icon of Lithuanian contemporary dance scene and a former Aura Dance Theatre member, is also highly anticipated. The “Glass” will offer a glimpse into the process of exhaustion. In the programme awaits an autobiographical work “Dusty Mirrors” based on the personal experiences of the young playwright Raimondas Klezys, recounting the memories of his youth growing up in the province, in a family of confused parents, surrounded by drinking friends, when there was nothing to do and no one to comfort. Dancers Clara Giambino and Arūnas Mozūraitis will also present their work at the festival, coming with the dance piece “One”, depicting unity, connection, and unconditional love between two people. For those who do not like traditional theatre performances, it is worth seeing the mono-performance “Lovefool” by Lithuanian director Gintarė Parulytė. An unapologetically honest and heart-breaking story about being a woman will be told in humorous form. This year, the play will be presented at the largest and most important art and theatre event in the world, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

As every year, a number of performances will be dedicated to young viewers and families. Aiming to introduce the new generation to performing arts, the festival will present a programme dedicated to children, shown in public spaces in Kaunas and the Kaunas District. One of the examples is the puppet show “Qubim” performed straight from a van. Thanks to its minimalist scenography, the performance can reach the audience even where there are no cultural venues or halls. After visiting numerous festivals in Portugal, “Qubim” is coming to Kaunas to introduce children to a unique puppet theatre.

Circus artist and dancer Juan Ignacio Tula will present his performance “Instante” exploring the metaphorical possibilities of the metal Cyr wheel. Meanwhile, the play “Materia” will revive polystyrene figures in a unique choreography for objects and one human. Lastly, two art forms – installation and performance will merge in the “Inertie”, bringing together circus performers and a sculptor to co-create, develop, and breathe life into a giant mobile sculpture.