MEETING WITH IVA AND PETAR MANDIC ON “MASKA I POKRET”
Creating their own theatre with the status of free artists, the couple Iva and Petar Mandic created their own specific stage expression, which without using a word, is exclusively based on the mask, music and movement
“Mme Leopoldine’s Memoires” and “Somebody has Killed the Play” were performances that on the first block of the Young Open Theatre Festival in Skopje gave their specific mark, their theatrical identification of the wonders of the theatrical primordial – mask, music, movement. It is the “self-formed” theatre of the married and artistic couple Iva and Petar Mandic from Sarajevo. Iva is a playwright, Petar a ballet artist, but now together they are more commonly known as the Maska i Pokret Theatre. On the stages where they are invited, they perform with the wonderful masks made by their hands, just like the costumes, the script for the play, as well as the choice of music. Their joint product is choreography, an inseparable component of theatrical expression in their projects.
And so far they have made two productions, since the existence of “Maska i Pokret”. The theatre studio is located in a private apartment and at the same time, it is a rehearsal room and a workshop and a place where ideas are born and created.
Their characters are not marionettes, their masks are not the epitome of beauty, and they “lend” their bodies to the huge heads-masks, and then with no word, only on the beat of the music and choreographic movements to perfection, they convey the most universal stage language of communication.
— We consciously created our theatre to be based on only three elements: mask, movement, music. If one devotes oneself to deal with only one detail and studies it to the end, that detail can become a sign that will be seen and understood as a mean and symbol that communicates with the present time, Iva Mandic told us during the scheduled conversation after the play.
— Does the creation of one’s own theatre mean a denial of institutional theatre?
— We are pleased to work and live only from performances. If we were engaged in a big theatre house, this way of working would not be possible for us. In fact, no institution would allow us to work the way we want.
— Can you live with the status you have as a free artist?
— Well, since we do not receive any fund from the SIZ for culture in Sarajevo for making the plays, in the beginning it often happened that our packed masks looked at us strangely and waited to come on the stage out. We are now in a better position, in constant movement and engagements in the country and abroad.
— Настапивте и на фестивали во Холандија и Шпанија?
— Have you performed at festivals in the Netherlands and Spain?
— Откако дојдовме до врска со Националниот институт за театар во Холандија ни беше овозможена 21-дневна турнеја низ оваа земја, а потоа и поканата за учество на нивниот фестивал. Поканата во Шпанија е резултат на препораката што еден шпански новинар ја дал до фестивалот, откако не гледал на МЕСС.
— After we got in touch with the National Theatre Institute in the Netherlands, we were given a 21-day tour through this country, and the invitation to participate in their festivals. The invitation to Spain is a result of the recommendation that a Spanish selector gave to the festival, after seeing us on MESS.
— Apocalyptic is so present in your performances?
— And it is not accidental. It aims to arouse optimism in the audience. That is why the masks have neither a realistic face nor a dimension. In fact, if they will be the realistic characters, we should not play with masks. But their oversizing is not an abstraction, because in that case they would lose communication with the audience. Ultimately, the person in the play should be recognised. We realised that a long time ago. Our next project, which we are already working on, finally pursues that self-recognition in the characters.