Showcase No. 4
20, 21 September 2008
Selector: Ana Tasić
When deciding on the concept and the slogan for this year's Showcase, my inspiration was one of Lehmann's (Hans-Thies Lehmann) definitions of postdramatic theatre, which describes it as theatre beyond drama. Bearing in mind that there were a number of artistically significant productions, within the framework of theatre production in Serbia, which could be considered as postdramatic, I wanted them to be the focal point of this year's Showcase.
Talking about postdramatic theatre, i.e. theatre beyond drama, I am referring to contemporary theatre which tries to keep pace with the times, using relevant methods to hold a mirror up to the lives we live, global changes provoked by omnipresent media esthetics, consumerism, globalisation and alter-globalisation. We are talking about a theatre which does not suffer structural changes in order to be able to respond to the numerous challenges of the times we live in.
Two productions included in this year's Showcase can be considered strictly postdramatic theatre productions (Woman-bomb, Urbi et orbi). Two more contain elements of postdramatic expression, in a sense that they explore the essence of drama and the dramatic, going against the traditional conventions in drama (The travelling troupe Šopalović, Rules for good manners in the modern world). One production, Gathering place, belongs to the realm of more traditional drama theatre, but not to the conventional, foreseeable, realistic one. This is a case of authentic, different, minimalist production of a Serbian classic.
Productions which will be performed as a part of this year's Showcase are neither an overview of Serbian theatre production nor are they representative samples, but exceptions, margin samples. They are closer to Bitef's sensibility which means they are provocative in their form and/or content, i.e. they belong to the sphere of artistic production. The influence of Bitef on the theatrical expression in Serbian theatre is often discussed but the general opinion is that Bitef has had very little influence on Serbian theatre, which is, mostly, conservative and based on retro psychological realism. These productions belong to a small group which show evidence that Bitef's influence is nevertheless present.
URBI ET ORBI
Directed by Andraš Urban
The production delves into the problem of sin and the limits of sin but also the questions regarding the human condition, bodyliness, suffering, forgiveness, lost spirituality etc..., whilst, at the same time, providing an ironic answer to popular forms of TV shows, talk shows and contests. It is a minimalist production, on a bare stage, focusing on the precise and more suggestive expression on the part of the actors as well as a number of exciting, symbolic and critically inspiring visual solutions.
RULES FOR GOOG MANNERS IN THE MODERN WORLD
Directed by Anđelka Nikolić
Lagarce's monodrama talks lucidly, ironically and with purposeful naïveté about human lives portrayed as a partially absurd, repetitive cycle, thus demystifying a number of clichés and ridiculous norms of society. By stepping away from the monologue form, the director introduces the characters of “singers“and “models“into this visually precise and elegant performance. These new elements not only make the action more gripping but also provide personal comments on different topics introduced by the leading actress, the delicately ironic Đurđija Cvetić.
THE TRAVELLING TROUPE ŠOPALOVIĆ
Directed by Tomi Janežič
Taking the important topics of theatricality and the relationship between illusion and reality as his departure point, the director Tomi Janežič’s production of The travelling troupe Šopalović by Ljubomir Simović is faithful to his creation of a unique formal concept of the production, assiduously taking apart the mechanisms of theatre. This produces an exciting show of the essence of Simović’s ideas, where they compliment each other as well as take on new meanings. The form of this production is subject to its content, i.e. the complexity of structure was not achieved at the expense of emotions, poetry, humour or indeed the number of interpretations of the text.
Directed by Andraš Urban
The production of Gathering Place, directed by Andraš Urban, is essentially engaged in the universal, philosophical and introspective side of this play by Dušan Kovačević, and the questions about the relationship between life and death, sin and forgiveness, oblivion and memory. The tragicomic criticism of Serbian mentality is somewhat minimalised and plays a minor role. The minimalism and poetry of the director's design are especially suited to the space of Gathering place, all these elements contributing to a very refreshing, different approach to this classic of Serbian drama.
Directed by Bojan Djordjev
In the production of Women-bomb the globally important problem of terrorism is tackled in challenging, postdramatic form. Through a combination of spirited, immediate
performances and video transmissions of the play, the stage language is excitingly dissected, the idea of presence, time and space. The possibility of having a passive audience has been reduced to the minimum. The spectators are exposed to a myriad of irritations, blinding strobe, noise, irritating repetition of sounds and a few performers are in the actual audience space thus disturbing the otherwise comfortable, passive position of the audience. All this leads to a more active analysis of form as well as the production content.
Ana Tasić (born in 1978 in Belgrade) has earned her BA degree from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade in 2002 (department of theatre and radio directing), and MA in Theatrology from the same faculty in 2008, focusing on the Treatment of Body/Physicality in New Brutal Drama and Theatre (her advisor was professor Aleksandra Jovićević). She is currently working on her doctoral thesis on the Influence and Use of Electronic Media in Postdramatic Theatre.
As a theatre critic for newspaper »Politika« since 2005 she participates in international conferences in the field of theatrology and cultural management, appears as a moderator and participant at many round tables and panel discussions related to various aspects of theatrical practice and as a jury member in many theatre festivals. She has written about theatre in »Ludus«, »Teatron« and »Scena«, as well as film reviews (»Blicnews«, RTS, »Filmski centar Srbije«). She was the Selector of the 36th and 37th theatre festival Days of Comedy in Jagodina (2007, 2008). Since 2005 she works at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, as an asociate for the history of world drama and theatre.
She worked at the National Theatre in Belgrade as a production assistant, and then as an associate in projects of the Institute for Theatre, Film, Radio and Television, as a host and DJ for radio stations 202 and City, as a babysitter, waitress, chef…