Polish director Jakub Skrzywanek (25.02.1992) is the curator of the Vaba Lava program for the 2023/2025 season. In addition to Vaba Lava, Skrzywanek is the artistic director of Contemporary Theatre in Szczecin.
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream,” said Martin Luther King before thousands of repressed Americans. And while we don’t know how much he believed in his dream coming true at that moment, it changed our world just a moment later. If he were to speak today, what would he dream about? What would he say, knowing that we have not learned from the mistakes of the past and that the trials of the present will once again break willpower? How would he now convince others to believe the simple but fundamental truth that all men are created equal? Maybe in spite of everything, we really have to dream again about what seemed obvious to us not long ago but now seems impossible.
Perhaps it is dreams – free, without borders, and bold – that are the best antidotes to the influence of populist narratives who have raised their heads in times of war, crisis, and uncertainty, and warlords who have gained cheap fame, which, by promising a deceptive sense of security, endanger our freedom and the hope that society can be equal, tolerant and supportive. When he spoke in Washington on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King knew the power of dreams. Lech Wałęsa, who spoke in front of the workers at the Gdańsk shipyard, also knew this. Sometimes, however, words are not enough, and we can sum everything up with a simple “blah-blah-blah” like Greta Thunberg, who still dreams of a better future. But only if the silence itself leads us to new actions – just as in all previous cases, words called us to action.
Now, perhaps more than at any time in recent history, it seems inevitable and necessary to show what you believe in. That’s how the world was struck by what happened in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral on December 10, 1989, when we heard the silent cry for help from AIDS patients – and no words were needed. On August 23, 1989, the silent but meaningful prayer of the participants in the Baltic chain reached the world: they dreamed of freedom and the right to self-determination.
No matter which example we choose, and no matter the fears, anxieties, and doubts of today’s world, we must not stop dreaming. We must dream of new utopian scenarios and visions of the future, impossible manifestos that can become our reality. And we must act – boldly, sincerely, and steadfastly – to invite people to discuss not what we fear and fight against but what we really want and how we can get there. This is what the Vaba Lava Performing Arts Center encourages its audience to do together in the 2023-2025 seasons of Tallinn and Narva.