MESS, a Sarajevo-based international theater festival, opened Friday at the main theater in central Bosnia city of Zenica with a play of a Belgian troupe. This year, the festival that started as an event showcasing small and experimental production is marking its 57th anniversary.
The opening at Zenica theater symbolized the theme of MESS 2017 – diversity and acceptance. Seven persons from different walks of life stood on the stage, claiming the space as their own. A comedian in wheelchair, a gay activist, a defunct-steel-mill worker, a schoolkid, an athlete, a rights advocate and an artist introduced the festival to the audience.
“Theater was – and still is – one of the sanctuaries where we take shelter from the indiscriminate storm and seek answers by communicating without fear from the other and different,” said Nihad Kreševljaković, the creative force behind the festival.
“Diversity is the very meaning of our world; the need to be accepting of others is the essential need to understand ourselves. Killing diversity of our world equals destroying the ecosystems of the planet; it is an absolute form of self-destruction. Therefore, diversity and acceptance of it is our need, because only our reflection in it will tell us who we are,” he said.
See the festival program here.