Therefore, in multicultural performances, native cultural signs exist simultaneously, one by the other, and do not interfere, but represent a ‘politically correct’ exhibition of poly-cultural values. It is a theatre whose original idea is to transfer the values of other cultures without becoming familiar with them, without observing them and then transporting them from one culture to other. This stands in contrast to the intercultural theatre, which the dictionary mentioned above defines as the theatre focused on the search for obliterated and subordinated national traditions with the purpose of achieving a theatrical style in which the neglected origins will be given an opportunity to struggle for a better position in their relation with ‘external influences’ (www.mactheatre.edu.mk/ Novi prilozi/Rečnik na teorisko-teatrološki termini /interkulturen teatar). More precisely, the intercultural theatre involves studying, exploration, adoption and exchange between two or more cultures, and that can be easily identified. The intercultural theatre is a theatre of explorers, mainly theatre directors, to whom other cultures are a challenge which they tackle in order to get to know better their own culture.2F
So, where does the intracultural theatre come in? The idea of intracultural theatre is in direct relation with the intercultural theatre. On this occasion, we will observe it as the site where the elements of the native culture are explored, studied, elaborated and analysed in the context of other cultures. The process is irreversible. This means that we do not take other cultures as a starting position to get to know ourselves better (intercultural theatre) but we perceive our culture as a possibility for something universal, something which is not monocentric (as we could arrogantly put it, our one and only) but a culture which is ours, which is mine and which has the same elements as the majority of word cultures. This does not involve depersonalisation of the native culture, but a creation of a polyphonic culture based on Eugenio Barba’s principle of similar principles – different performances. This idea is very practical due to the ritual and magic roots of the theatre and its generally accepted syncretism. This is so because the theatre is in its very nature varied, polyphonic, dependent on various factors and thus, per se, more available to exploration within the framework of various cultures. The theatrical performance consists of a number of participants, each with their own culture or, if they belong to a homogenous culture, each with their own understanding of the concept of culture. The intracultural theatre explores its own domain and exhibits the results of such research during the performance. The exploration of the intracultural theatre is always the logical consequence of the intercultural theatre. Therefore my text, too, is in correlation with the subject of this conference.
Intraculturalism is a specific model of the multicultural concept in a specific culture (www.mactheatre.edu.mk/Noviprilozi/Rečnik na teorisko-teatrološki termini /interkulturalnost). If multiculturalism promotes differences between cultures in a society, then intraculturalism upholds the idea of sameness (the same elements) in cultures as the presence of other cultures in a particular society. Intraculturalism stands in fundamental opposition to the vulgarisation of multiculturalism: in contrast to its destructiveness, it promotes a positive approach. In other words, intraculturalism promotes the principle of ‘sameness’ in different cultures, which is a specific form of the equation of differences. Hence, the simultaneous awareness of belonging to one’s own (=different) group and a wider cultural milieu or cultural structure (www.mactheatre.edu.mk/Novi prilozi/Rečnik na teorisko-teatrološki termini /interkulturalnost). It is on the basis of this definition that the concept of an intracultural theatre can be formed and determined.
The intracultural theatre is a specific form of theatrical performance which is focused on the detection, observation, elaboration and, above all, artistic creation of the homogenous elements of a culture in relation to polyphonic cultures. This does not mean that the elements of different cultures are reduced to a single one, but that they are studied and accepted by several different cultures as the same. I would like to clarify this statement with a simple example. If in a theatrical performance the director’s concept is focused on the placing of the signs of is native culture on the level equal to that of the cultures of other participants (actors, stage designers, costume designers, musicians, stage hands, etc.) then his production will be intracultural. Of course, it must be preceded by the exploration of the issues of intraculturalism, an act which is required in order to introduce the awareness of intraculturalism.
The intracultural theatre is the model of the theatre of the 21st century. This is so because of the constantly growing possibilities of communication. We are speaking of the global Internet communication which is not closed within the three walls, with the audience watching from the perspective of the fourth wall of the traditional stage box. This is the theatre of the ‘new kids on the block’ who share their fast thinking with the members of all world cultures and who present their own culture as part of the global world culture without ‘clipping its wings’; on the contrary, they grow new wings in order to surmount the obstacles more easily.
If, as Bonnie Maranca puts it, in the last decades of the 20th century interculturalism was a state of mind or way of working, then intraculturalism will be a way of life and a state of mind and emotions in the new age. In fact, I will take a radical position and say, ignoring political correctness, that the intracultural theatre is the model of the ideal theatre of the 21st century.
3. On the Ideal Theatre of the 21st Century
The concepts of the intracultural theatre and the ideal theatre of the 21st century are interconnected and intertwined. Antonen Artaud’s concept, or better said, vision of the theatre probably lies somewhere between these two concepts. If the intercultural theatre is the theatrical model and basis of the intracultural theatre, then Artaud’s vision of the theatre as cruel, basic and artistic can be freely assumed to be the basis of the ideal theatre of the 21st century.
These concepts should be linked in a number of ways in the domain if interculturalism as well. When I speak of the ideal theatre of the 21st century, I have in mind one of the possible directions in which the theatre could develop. I do not want to sound radical, but I have in mind breaking the ties with certain traditional chains of lethargy which characterize the theatre we live in today. Therefore, the intercultural theatre is a proper point of departure in the consideration of the intracultural theatre as the ideal theatre of the 21st century.
I would not like to enter into philosophical disputes over what the ideal theatre could and should be like. I only believe that it could be best defined as the most probable kind of theatre and a theatre which is the most appropriate for the basic theatre nuclei. It is ideal NOT from the point of view of the theoretician/critic/practitioner, but ONLY and SOLELY from the point of view of the THEATRE. In brief, we should have THEATRE FOR THEATRE. I would define it in the simplest terms with the help of Peter Brook’s images of immediate theatre or Jerzy Grotowski’s poor theatre. Both of these respected 20th century theatre directors (and much more than that) provided us, theoreticians and practitioners, with the foundation for our consideration of whether it is possible to create an intracultural theatre as a model for the ideal theatre of the new age.
In this context, I would like to refer to a view which is in the context of my considerations expressed above, a view based on quite contrary principles. Writing on the reasons why he decided to edit the book entitled Acting (Re) Considering: Theories and Practices (1995), Professor Phillip B. Zarilli from the University of Wisconsin articulates one of the ideas on the mixing of not only cultures, but theory and practice as well. Although focused only on acting, the collection of essays was to me a textbook from which I extracted the threads for weaving the concept of the intracultural theatre. In his General Introduction, Phillip B. Zarilli states the following: There are many languages and discourses of acting, each of them written/spoken from a single point of view. Theoreticians often talk to theoreticians, practitioners only to practitioners. Very rarely do they talk to each other… He concludes by saying that, from this point of view, theatre-making is a means of socio-cultural practice. As such, it is not an innocent or naïve activity separate from or above or beyond everyday reality, history, politics or economics. (Zarilli, 1995:1)
And that is the beginning. The main word is communication. The basis of every communication is exchange. If in the intercultural theatre it is important to travel, adopt and exchange, then in the intercultural theatre it has already been done and only superstructure remains to be added. On the basis of the awareness of the sameness between cultures (since, as Edward Said puts it, today’s society is polyphonic) the consideration of the intracultural theatre should be placed within the framework of the native culture. Theory is always better consumed if it is practically applied and therefore I would like to elaborate some examples from the Macedonian theatre.
2. As part of the project Theatre of Differences: Intercultural Theatre (Institute of Theatrology at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Skopje and FIOOM) research was carried out of the cultural variety in the Macedonian theatrical practice. The conclusion was as follows: “The ‘multicultural’ productions adopt elements from other cultures in different ways (manner of acting, stage and costume design, make up and gesture, music and choreography.) In contrast to intercultural productions, in these examples, the heritage from other cultures is not part of the performance; instead, these elements merely simultaneously exist/co-exist on the stage. The tendency to manifest the relation to the Other remains on the level of getting to know each other, information and determination, and not on the level of cultural exchange or correlation between the native and other cultures (See Research Report on the project Theatre of Differences: Intercultural Theatre, FIOOM, 2004).