22nd Festival of Small and Experimental Scenes of Yugoslavia in Sarajevo

“—An informal group of theatrologists, critics and drama artists who followed the 22nd Festival of Small and Experimental Stages of Yugoslavia in Sarajevo, with desire to affirm and encourage research work in theatre, believes that the play “Somebody has Killed the Play” by theatre “Maska i Pokret” from Sarajevo, performed by Iva Kostović-Mandić and Petar Mandić, is the most appropriate to the original intentions of this festival and, therefore, its most significant event.
The play “Somebody has Killed the Play”, by theatre “Maska i Pokret” from Sarajevo, exploring the function of seemingly secondary elements in drama theatre (mask, movement, music) achieved a complete dramatic whole.
As people who have followed this festival for years and matured on its plantations, and taking into account the opinions expressed at the Round Table of Critics, with this recognition we strive, and will strive, to maintain that fire that, with founding of ‘Kamerni Theatre 55’, as the first small scenes in Yugoslavia, and with founding of Festival of Small and Experimental Stages in Sarajevo, its founder Jurislav Korenić and the circle of theatre enthusiasts who have supported this festival from the very beginning have ignited.—”

And so has informal group of theatrologists, critics and drama artists, including the signatory of this text, decided to award their informal prize, the only non-institutionalised prize of this festival, to theatre “Maska i Pokret”. Moreover, this text could be understood as a manifesto which, if it does not fully cover it, at least initiates one future content of this festival.

More than any previous one, this year the Festival was reduced to a gathering of conventional repertoire performances of our theatres. Even the accompanying (midnight) festival, which usually used to present new aspirations of informal and student groups, even if they were not aesthetically shaped until the end, this year was reduced to a convention equal to the official selection.

The festival of small and experimental stages of Yugoslavia, little by little, is becoming a conventional festival, which is just a reflection of the convention of one institution in which there are no young nor dynamic, creatively confirmed personalities, who care about igniting a real theatrical atmosphere in Sarajevo, by searching, by polemics, by true theatrical provocation. That atmosphere has been once created and was preserved by Jurislav Korenić, so that today’s “successors” of his would begin to place it in a civic framework, determined by huge compromises, “considerations”, “decency”, etc. Perhaps the blame for this bourgeoisie of the festival lies elsewhere, not only in the institution that administratively and completely uncreatively runs and programs it, but I simply cannot believe that our theatre and all its institutional and non-institutional quests ended in these mere civic forms that were presented to us here.

If we would briefly summarise what we saw at this festival, it could be said that we saw little of theatre, and a lot of literature. Lots of prose (stories, realism), and little of poetry (imagination, invention). Lots of deadly theatre, and little of anything else. When we saw that Beckett also started enrolling in academics, the dead, divinizing himself in his own directing (West Berlin’s “Godot”), and when we were convinced by the example of “Godot” of the Novi Sad theatre “Ujvideki Szinhaz” that Beckett could really be dead bigger of all dead classics, then it is really time for those Yugoslav theatres that intend to be avant-garde to turn, not backwards like the Kundering turn to Diderot (presented to us by the “ITD” theatre), or worse, to Eden von Horvat’s Offenbach’s vanities (such as Paolo Madeli and the Yugoslav Drama Theatre), but with something new, perhaps still invisible, but for which there are enough visible indications that we would accept it with the engagement and sacrifice of true artists.


On such sacrifice, almost the only one so far, agreed Iva Kostović-Mandić and Petar Mandić with their (two-member) theatre “Maska i Pokret”. What they gave us in their play “Somebody has Killed the Play” is irreplaceable as an incentive to preserve this festival in its original idea, but also as one completed, aesthetically almost completely purified work. This completeness should not be equated with the static finality of the form, as almost all other performances of this festival had. Although a completed work in its own aesthetic structure, it reopens each time both semantically and formally.

From performance to performance here again happens something very new. Reducing everything that turns out to be superfluous is ruthless. From its premiere until today, the play has undergone a purification that in civic (so to speak conditionally) dramaturgy, which arose in the written text, it is not possible to perform to such an extent. So, we can freely say, it’s the play that’s still going on. Most of the others, crowned with the “golden laurel wreaths” of the official juries of this festival, probably experienced their end, their culmination point in which their eventual artistic aspirations were exhausted.

In the “working notes” of Iva Kostović-Mandić and Petar Mandić it states: “…The role of mask in play ‘Somebody has Killed the Play’ is not exhausted in banal explanation, it is not reduced to communication according to the principle of ‘type recognition’; here the mask is brought into close connection with action, it is its physical sign. Thus, the action is developing through the action of the mask and at the same time – the mask does not remain a rigid, ‘flat’ (finished in itself) creation, a mean of ‘depersonalisation’, for following an interesting plot, but it also develops through action…”

Of course, when it comes to this type of theatre critics usually impose comparisons with some earlier similar attempts, from which they could further report some eventual tradition of this theatre. Thus, in connection with this play, Pina Bausch and Schumann’s theatre “Bread and Puppet” were mentioned. However, this quoted fragment from “working notes” by Iva Kostović-Mandić and Petar Mandić only underlines their different intentions from, say, Schumann’s treatment of the mask, underlines what is evident in their play. Schumann insists on a certain reduction that leads the mask to only one sign, to one function. And that is her artistry. Inevitably, this also leads to a certain staticity, to the omission of any dramatic tension, and to the loss of any possible content identified with dramatic action.

Iva Kostović-Mandić and Petar Mandić insist on drama, and mask is not only an accompanying sign, a symbol of a certain event, but one of the main participants, protagonists of that drama, its plots, tensions, catharsis *… So, the mask is the most visible form of content that by no means remains within the framework of its formal, physical conditioning, but develops both above and beyond that physical plan.

Iva Kostović-Mandić and Petar Mandić are succeeding in this, because they do not treat mask exclusively as an artistic image, a symbol of an idea; they constantly bring it into a dramatic relationship to the other masks, to the movement (the whole choreographic network), to the space and to the music finally. From such a dramatic relationship, there is a development, dynamisation of the function of the mask, to its acting, almost to say character, participation in one drama that we are attending.

The plot unfolds thanks to the masks (with equal participation of the extraordinary choreography, music and visual meaning of the entire stage space), and masks are “developing – through the plot”, as the authors themselves say. So much for differentiating the treatment of the mask of theatre “Maska i Pokret” and some similar realisations in world theatre.

Robert Wilson said during one guest appearance at BITEF: “Our consciousness is much more complex than we can express in words.” And his theatre was the most magnificent expression of drama that is created either with the absence of words, or with a minimum of their use, mainly through the vocal, phonic treatments of their, to say the senses, but not their ideas. I would not want to bring theatre “Maska i Pokret” into any significant connection with Bob Wilson’s theatre, but I think they are united by an aspiration to universalise the theatrical sign through the synthesis of certain elements that “no longer represent any barrier” (Wilson) in understanding in most various ethnic groups and the most diverse types of consciousness.

What I want to emphasise in particular about this theatre and this play is that their symbols, to which certain purely human dramas grow within the play, or the whole network of these symbols connected in some archetypal signs, do not require exclusively rational resolution and interpretation in order to be maintained as meaningful.

Understanding these symbols and this whole play takes place in the right way only at the moment of its enactment on one inseparable emotional-intellectual plane that does not require the kind of resolution of meaning that comes down to “type recognition”. First of all, we enjoy, we sensually enjoy what is happening in front of us, and isn’t that one of the basic, somewhat forgotten, functions of theatre. Any literalisation is absent here. I would say that the play has one poetic structure, and all meanings emerge in the same way as it happens in a poem. What we call action, therefore, is not subject to any clarification but, in fact, allows for a series of associations and certain associative groups open to the meanings of the very essence of the aesthetic.

This is direct theatre, like the greatest theatre I know, the Robert Wilson Theatre, a theatre that does not seek any mediation to act on us. This is how I imagine the future desanthropomorphising function of the aesthetic sign in theatre. The invisible acts on us through the visible. And the most necessary forms of that visible here are movement, image, music. So anything that excludes any prose, or that minimises it to a particular story.

I believe that Iva Kostović-Mandić and Petar Mandić, walking this path where sacrifices are not only inevitable, but also necessary for their own constant deconfirmisation (which is much harder in institutional theatres), will make another bigger and stronger, great show not only of our theatres. They have all predispositions for that. One of them is called “Somebody has Killed the Play”, a play that the official jury, ossified in its institutional function, did not even mention.





22. Festival malih i eksperimentalnih scena Jugoslavije u Sarajevu

“Neformalna grupa teatrologa, kritičara i dramskih umjetnika koji su pratili 22. Festival malih i eksperimentalnih scena Jugoslavije u Sarajevu, sa željom da afirmira i podstakne istraživački rad u teatru, smatra da je predstava “Neko je ubio pjesmu”, teatra “Maska i pokret” iz Sarajeva, a u izvođenju Ive Kostović-Mandić i Petra Mandića, najprimjerenija prvobitnim intencijama ovog festivala i, samim tim, njegov najznačajniji događaj.
Predstava “Neko je ubio pjesmu”, teatra “Maska i pokret” iz Sarajeva, istražujući funkciju elemenata naizgled sporednih u dramskom teatru (maska, pokret, muzika) ostvarila je zaokruženu dramsku cjelinu.

Kao ljudi koji su godinama pratili ovaj festival i stasali na njegovim zasadima, a uzimajući u obzir mišljenja izrečena na Okruglom stolu kritike, ovim priznanjem nastojimo, i nastojaćemo, da održimo onu vatru koju je, s osnivanjem ‘Kamernog teatra 55’, kao prve male scene u Jugoslaviji, i sa osnivanjem Festivala malih i eksperimentalnih scena u Sarajevu rasplamsao njegov osnivač Jurislav Korenić i krug teatarskih entuzijasta koji od samog početka podržavaju ovaj festival.”

Tako je neformalna grupa teatrologa, kritičara i dramskih umjetnika, medu kojima je i potpisnik ovoga teksta, odlučila da svoju neformalnu nagradu, jedinu neinstitucionaliziranu nagradu ovog festivala, dodijeli teatru “Maska i pokret”. Više od toga, ovaj bi se tekst mogao shvatiti i kao manifest koji, ako u potpunosti i ne obuhvaća, ono bar inicira jedan budući sadržaj ovog festivala.

Više nego ijedne prethodne, ove se godine Festival sveo na smotru konvencionalnih repertoarskih predstava naših pozorišta. Čak se i prateća (ponoćna) smotra, koja je ranije obično prezentirala nova stremljenja neformalnih i studentskih grupa, makar i neuobličenih u estetskom smislu do kraja, ove godine svela na konvenciju ravnu zvaničnoj selekciji.

Festival malih i eksperimentalnih scena Jugoslavije, malo po malo, postaje konvencionalnom smotrom, što je samo odraz konvencije jedne institucije u kojoj nema ni mladih, ni dinamičnijih, stvaralački potvrđenih ličnosti, kojima je stalo do toga da u Sarajevu razgore jednu pravu teatarsku atmosferu, ispunjenu traganjem, polemikom, istinskom pozorišnom provokacijom. Tu atmosferu je svojedobno stvorio i očuvavao Jurislav Korenić, da bi je današnji njegovi “nasljednici” počeli smještati u jedan građanski okvir, određen silnim kompromisima, “obzirima”, “pristojnostima”, itd. Možda krivica za ovo buržoaziranje festivala leži i negdje drugdje, ne samo u instituciji koja ga administrativno i potpuno nestvaralački vodi i programira, ali jednostavno ne mogu da vjerujem da su naše kazalište i sva njegova, institucionalna i neinstitucionalna traganja završili na ovim pukim građanskim formama koje su nam ovdje bile prezentirane.

Ako bi se ukratko sumiralo ono što smo vidjeli na ovom festivalu moglo bi se reći da smo vidjeli malo pozorišta, a puno literature. Puno proze (priče, realizma), a malo poezije (mašte, invencije). Puno mrtvačkog teatra, a malo svih ostalih. Kada smo vidjeli da se i Beckett počeo upisivati u akademce, mrtvake, divinizirajući sam sebe u vlastitoj režiji (zapadnoberlinski “Godot”), i kada smo se na primjeru “Godota” novosadskog pozorišta “Ujvideki Szinhaz” uvjerili da Beckett može stvarno biti mrtvak veći od svih mrtvih klasika, onda je zaista vrijeme da se ona jugoslavenska kazališta koja namjeravaju biti avangardna okrenu, ne unazad poput Kundering okretanja Diderotu (koje nam je prezentiralo kazalište “ITD”), ili još gore, ofenbahovskim ispraznostima Edena fon Horvata (kao što su to učinili Paolo Madeli i Jugoslovensko dramsko pozorište), već nečem novom, možda još nevidljivom, ali za što postoji dovoljno vidljivih naznaka da bismo ga se prihvatili sa angažmanom i žrtvom istinskih umjetnika.

Na takvu žrtvu su, gotovo jedini za sada, pristali Iva Kostović-Mandić i Petar Mandić sa svojim (dvočlanim) teatrom “Maska i pokret”. Ono što su nam pružili u svojoj predstavi “Neko je ubio pjesmu” nezamjenjivo je i kao podsticaj da se ovaj festival sačuva u svojoj prvobitnoj zamisli, ali i kao jedno zaokruženo, estetski gotovo do kraja pročišćeno djelo. Tu zaokruženost ne treba poistovjetiti sa statičkom konačnošću forme, kakvu su imale gotovo sve ostale predstave ovog festivala. Mada dovršeno djelo u vlastitoj estetskoj strukturi, ono se svaki put iznova i značenjski i formalno otvara.

Iz predstave u predstavu tu se ponovo događa nešto bitno novo. Redukcija svega što se ukaže suvišnim nemilosrdna je. Od praizvedbe do danas predstava je doživjela pročišćavanje koje u građanskoj (da tako uvjetno kažem) dramaturgiji, iznikloj na pisanom tekstu nije moguće u takvom opsegu izvršiti. Dakle, možemo slobodno reći, to je predstava koja još uvijek traje. Većina ostalih, ovjenčanih “zlatnim lovorovim vjenčićima” zvaničnih žirija ovog festivala, vjerovatno su doživjele svoj kraj, svoju kulminacionu tačku u kojoj su se iscrple njihove eventualne umjetničke težnje.

U “radnim bilješkama” Ive Kostović-Mandić i Petra Mandića stoji: “… Uloga maske u predstavi ‘Neko je ubio pjesmu’ ne iscrpljuje se u banalnom pojašnjavanju, nije svedena na komunikaciju po principu ‘prepoznavanja tipa’; ovdje je maska dovedena u blisku vezu sa radnjom, ona je njen fizički znak. Tako se radnja saznaje putem djelovanja maske i istovremeno — maska ne ostaje kruta, ‘plošna’ (završena u sebi) tvorevina, sredstvo za ‘obezličavanje’, za praćenje zanimljivog zapleta, nego se i ona razvija putem radnje …”

Naravno, kada je riječ o ovakvom tipu pozorišta kritičarima se obično nameću poređenja sa nekim ranijim sličnim pokušajima, iz čega bi dalje mogli izvesti neku eventualnu tradiciju ovakvog pozorišta. Tako su u vezi s ovom predstavom pominjani Pinna Bausch i Schumannov teatar “Bread and Puppet”. Međutim, ovaj navedeni ulomak “radnih bilješki” Ive Kostović-Mandić i Petra Mandića samo nam potcrtava njihove različite intencije od, recimo, Schumannovog tretiranja maske, potcrtava ono što je vidljivo u njihovoj predstavi. Schumann insistira na izvjesnoj redukciji koja masku dovodi samo do jednog znaka, do jedne funkcije. To je njena likovnost. Neminovno, to dovodi i do određene statičnosti, do izostavljanje bilo kakve dramske napetosti i do gubljenja svakog mogućeg sadržaja poistovjećenog s dramskom radnjom.

Iva Kostović-Mandić i Petar Mandić insistiraju na drami, a maska ne biva samo prateći znak, simbol određenog dešavanja, nego jednim od glavnih sudionika, protagonista te drame, njenih zapleta, tenzija, katarzi*… Dakle, maska je tu ona najvidljivija forma jednog sadržaja koji nikako ne ostaje u okvirima njenih formalnih, fizičkih uvjetovanosti, već se razvija i iznad i preko tog fizičkog plana.

Iva Kostović-Mandić i Petar Mandić u tome uspijevaju, jer masku ne tretiraju isključivo kao likovnu predodžbu, simbol neke ideje; oni je stalno dovode u dramski odnos prema ostalim maskama, prema pokretu (cijeloj koreografskoj mreži), prema prostoru i prema muzici konačno. Iz takvog dramskog odnosa i dolazi do razvijanja, dinamiziranja funkcije maske, do njenog glumačkog, skoro da kažem karakternog, učešća u jednoj drami kojoj prisustvujemo.

Radnja se razvija zahvaljujući maskama (uz jednako učešće vanredne koreografije, muzike i vizualnog značenja cijelog scenskog prostora), a maske se “razvijaju — putem radnje”, kako to kažu sami autori. Toliko o razlikovanju tretmana maske teatra “Maska i pokret” i nekih sličnih realizacija u svjetskom pozorištu.

Robert Wilson je prilikom jednog gostovanja na BITEF-u rekao: “Naša je svijest mnogo složenija nego što možemo da iskažemo riječima.” l njegovo pozorište bilo je najveličanstvenijim izrazom drame koja se stvara ili uz odsustvo riječi, ili uz minimum njihove upotrebe, uglavnom kroz glasovne, foničke tretmane njihove, da kažem čulnosti, ali ne i njihovih ideja. Ne bih želio dovoditi teatar “Maska i pokret” u nekakvu značajnu vezu s pozorištem Boba Wilsona, ali mislim da ih spaja jedna težnja ka univerzalizaciji pozorišnog znaka kroz sintezu određenih elemenata koji “ne predstavljaju više nikakvu barijeru” (Wilson) u razumijevanju kod najrazličitijih etničkih skupina i najrazličitijih tipova svijesti.

Ono što želim naročito istaći u vezi s ovim teatrom i ovom predstavom to je da njihovi simboli, do kojih izrastaju pojedine čisto ljudske drame unutar predstave, ili cijela mreža tih simbola spojenih i u neke arhetipske znakove, ne zahtijevaju isključivo racionalno razrješavanje i tumačenje da bi se kao suvisli održali.
Razumijevanje tih simbola i cijele ove predstave odvija se na pravi način samo u trenutku njena odigravanja na jednom nerazdruživom emotivno-intelektualnom planu koji ne zahtijeva onu vrstu razrješavanja značenja koja se svode do “prepoznavanja tipa”. Mi prije svega uživamo, čulno uživamo u onom što se pred nama dešava, a nije li to i jedna od osnovnih, pomalo zaboravljenih, funkcija pozorišta. Svaka literarizacija ovdje izostaje. Rekao bih da predstava ima jednu poetsku strukturu, a sva značenja iskrsavaju na isti onaj način kako to biva u pjesmi. Ono što zovemo radnjom, dakle, nije podložno bilo kakvom pojašnjavanju već, zapravo, omogućava niz asocijacija i određenih asocijativnih skupina otvorenih prema značenjima same suštine estetskog.

Ovo je direktno pozorište, poput najvećeg pozorišta koje ja poznajem, pozorišta Roberta Wilsona, pozorište koje ne traži nikakvih posredništava da bi djelovalo na nas. Ovako nekako i zamišljam buduću dezantropomorfizirajuću funkciju estetskog znaka u pozorištu. Nevidljivo djeluje na nas putem vidljivog. A najnužniji oblici tog vidljivog ovdje su pokret, slika, muzika. Dakle, sve ono što isključuje bilo kakvu prozu, ili što je svodi na minimum određene priče.

Vjerujem da će Iva Kostović-Mandić i Petar Mandić, hodeći ovim putem gdje su žrtve ne samo neminovne, nego i potrebne radi vlastite stalne dokonformizacije (što u institucionalnim teatrima ide mnogo teže), napraviti neku još veću i snažniju, veliku predstavu ne samo našeg pozorišta. Za to imaju sve predispozicije. Jedna od njih zove se “Neko je ubio pjesmu”, predstava koju zvanični žiri, okoštao u svojoj institucijskoj funkciji, nije ni pomenuo.