The exploring phase. The performances of theatre “Maska i Pokret” are, in the true sense, an exploration, which does not limit their worth/value, “unusualness”, freshness and meticulousness – on the contrary, it speaks of a different, more modern deliberation/reflection on theatre art.
Theatre Maska i Pokret was founded in 1980 by Iva Kostovic-Mandic & Petar Mandic in Sarajevo.
Under the name of Maska i Pokret they created and produced four award-winning productions: 3 one-act plays and one production for children.
Iva & Petar act as complete authors of these productions, from their own screenplay, choreography, mask creation, set design to performance.
Synthesis of mask, movement and music
From the very first play, the authors have acted in expressing their theatrical manifestos: belief in the poetic essence of theatre, not using the word but what is at the very core of the theatre’s origin(s) – mask, music, movement.
Indeed, the use of a large expressive mask combined with a precise movement based on ballet technique forms the basic elements of this theatre. Music comes as a third essential element.
The poetic weft of the plays is obvious, but it is eminently dramatic poetry: although they do not utter a single word in the plays, the authors develop other, inexhaustible theatrical means and completely round the purely dramatic form.
By consciously limiting and reducing the choice of theatrical means to mask, movement and music, the authors maximise their connotations of content and meaning, bringing these means into a series of combinations and organic coupling. In this way, they not only speak and communicate in a new theatrical language, they also create a marvellous reality in which various meanings are intertwined.
The synthesis of mask, movement and music in their plays evolves into a system of theatrical signs and symbols, which accomplishes dramaturgy, stories of good and evil, life and death, poetry and nothingness. A simple, suggestive, and always thoughtfully chosen stage sign realises the poetic and contemplative core of their idea.
The research of theatre “Maska I Pokret” focuses on various aspects of the dramatic use of the mask. Not reducing the mask of the character as a “type”, they brought her into an organic relationship with the plot. Each performance reveals new possibilities of expression through the mask:
In the play “NEKO JE UBIO PJESMU”, the mask is revealed as a theatre sign, a symbol that develops through action. “MME LEOPOLDINE’S MEMOIRES” shows that the mask also has its “INNER” life. The character (mask) is no longer merely an instrument of action, its “physical sign”, but also an embossed character, the creator of its own destiny. In “OUVERTURE FOR A REQUIEM”, they take a step further in complicating the plot and individualisation of the characters that are linked here through complex reciprocal/mutual dramatic relationships.
Theatre Maska i Pokret has received great recognition and interest from theatre experts/connoisseurs, critics and theatre historians in the former Yugoslavia and beyond. Not only theatre reviews but also the essential feedback, active monitoring and commenting on the work, through essays, interviews/talks and various publications, were of essential importance at this stage/phase of formation and search. Theatre professionals who followed the work of Maska i Pokret (to mention but a few):
Slobodan BLAGOJEVIĆ, author, poet, philosopher; Kaća ČELAN, writer, theatre director, actress; Dalibor FORETIĆ, theatre critic and historian; Gradimir GOJER, theatre director, writer; Ivan IVANOVSKI, theatre critic and theatre historian; Dževad KARAHASAN, author, philosopher; Davor KORIĆ, dramatist, film director; Marko KOVAČEVIĆ, dramaturg, theatre critic; Slavko MILANOVIĆ, playwright, dramaturg, theatre critic; Ljubica OSTOJIĆ, theatre critic, writer, dramaturg; Slavko ŠANTIĆ, dramatist, theatre critic, poet; Jadranka VRANIĆ, theatre critic.
Theatre Maska i Pokret is recognised as a unique phenomenon in the field of modern theatre, and due to its specific aesthetics and theatrical expression, it is included in The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre – Europe.
Theatre Maska i Pokret has reached, without a doubt, the highest professional level in this type of theatre art, and with its research in the field of mask in theatre has left its mark on the territory of the former Yugoslavia and beyond.
Productions of theatre Maska i Pokret
• Neko je ubio pjesmu, one-act play with masks
Award of theatre critics, dramaturgs and theatre scholars for the best production at 22 MESS – Festival of professional avant-garde theatres
• Mme Leopoldine’s Memoires, one-act play with masks
Cau Ferrat Award for masterful use of the mask and the aesthetic value of the play at XV International Theatre Festival, Sitges Barcelona
• Ouverture for a requiem, one-act play with masks
Premiere Dubrovnik Summer Festival August 1983
• The Blue Flower Fairy tale, performance with masks for children
Jury Award at 3 BIENNALE OF YUGOSLAVIAN PUPPETRY
Theatre Maska i Pokret operated under that name until 1985.