Times That Change


The Monument 'Creators of the Bulgarian State' is an ambiguous monument. As part of the celebrations marking 1300 years since the founding of Bulgaria, it was created as a material expression of the ideology of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) of that time. However, unlike most other monuments from the communist era, this monument has been maintained even after 1989: Partly because it is associated with Shumen, partly because it deals with history and the past that is not confined solely to the communist era. With its heterogeneous aesthetic approach, the memorial complex offers visitors an experience that in itself is not unequivocal and cannot be reduced to a single ideology: The performance invites the audience to explore precisely these ambiguities and to establish a new relationship with the monument.

Unlike any other monument from the socialist era, "Creators of the Bulgarian State" provides a large stage. Visitors, as they move among the sculptures and mosaics, involuntarily transform into actors. Until now, there have been no such performances in this place that have engaged with this specific stage environment designed by the memorial's artists. The performance attempts to establish precisely this for the first time by questioning the monument and its previous interpretations, and by offering interactive participation of the spectators in the performance.

While in most theatrical performances, actors and the audience are separate, we offer one in which the audience themselves become actors (as people already become many times unconsciously when visiting the monument). The audience receives headphones with a specially recorded radio play that invites them to explore the monument and the surroundings to become its visitor. Through the headphones, the audience will be instructed to perform individual or group gestures and movements, which connect them, for example, with the statues around them, with the construction workers who once built the object, or with the rituals of group visits.

Every monument that deals with historical events like "Creators of the Bulgarian State" is a bet against time—it documents the interpretation of history in the time of its creation, but also projects interpretations of the past into the future and thus wants to survive. Different layers of time always merge into one and the same monument. The performance aims to unravel these layers of time, using the metaphor of time travel. The spectators will travel in different times—both historical and grammatical—and there they will have the opportunity to establish different relationships and viewpoints towards the monument.

The performance examines the themes of power, governance, and the body placed in the context of questions of identity—Who are we? And can the petrified past of the monument come alive today?

The work in Shumen is already the fifth collaboration between Stefan A. Shterrev and LIGNA since 2014. This is their third collective work specifically dealing with a monument from the communist era. Its two predecessors (Nonument 1 from 2019, dealing with the House of the Communist Party in Buzludzha, and Nonument 2 from 2022, made for the monument of Soviet-Bulgarian friendship in Varna) were nominated and awarded the National "Icarus" Award for contemporary dance and performance.

LIGNA, originating from Hamburg (Germany), has gained an international reputation over the past 20 years with their performances that address the audience as a collective of creators. In 2017, they received the "George Tabori" Award, the most important award for the independent theater scene in Germany.

In Bulgaria, they have repeatedly presented their work at festivals such as Antistatic, AST - a festival for independent theater, Night of the Theaters, and have conducted numerous creative workshops and seminars.

Outside the TheatreComing Soon 95 min

Director: Stefan Shterrev