THE INNER LIFE OF MASK
If earlier performances of theatre Maska i Pokret confirmed that the mask is a THEATRICAL MEANS, that is, a sign that develops through the action, and not a finished art form, then “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 the creator of its own destiny.
The Leopoldine mask is already expressing a dominant psychic state in its artistic design. As this expression is fixed and does not change as in the case of a live actor, the movement here also gets a new function. In “Leopoldine” the movement nuances and varies the psychological value of the “inner life” of the mask.
By choosing the basic “mood” of the mask, the authors suggest the emotional attitude of the viewer towards the character and events. In other words, by doing so, they suggest to the viewer one possible (or: only possible) feeling of the world.
THE STORY OF LONELINESS
The dramaturgy of this play excludes “immense moves”, no “big” events, no jumping in the action. In the play, which is based on a simple story, enough space is given for the gradual development of the character.
Mme Leopoldine’s Memoires is turned to a psychological descent into the dramatic secrets of life: loneliness, a cruel lack of love, self-indulgence leads the human being toward ritualisation of his own life and towards ultimately falling into his own ego.
What do man and human life boil down to in “Leopoldine”? The whole reality is reduced to repeating sections of the action, to a monotonous mise-en-scène movement that seems to reduce the whole space of life to a few square meters. Leopoldine persistently wipes the stain on the floor in vain, prepares the birthday table, this is hindered by her nephew (representative of the intrusive outside world), she expects some desired guest, and this one appears in the form of herself (Emilia, her ‘sister’). At the end, this guest disappears (Emilia packs Leopoldine in a suitcase and leaves the stage, where?, maybe to death, where she probably came from).
TRAGICOMIC DUALITY OF THE PERFORMANCE
Neither mask, movement, nor music have semantic autonomy in their performances; only by intertwining their expressive possibilities it comes to fruition a new, from reality not imitated, but that why precisely deeper stage reality (comes true).
Hence the tragicomic duality of the play, its “cruel joy”, its extraordinary ability to cancel out the cruel details (such as killing dolls) with comic relief and to show the comic details (such as “falling unconscious of fatigue” when cleaning the stain from the floor) to the full extend of the cruelty that comic always imply (because when she falls unconscious of fatigue, Leopoldine acts like an insect, like Kafka’s Gregor Samsa).
This grotesque ambivalence, simultaneously tragedy and comicality of the play shows that, on the architectonic level, “Mme Leopoldine’s Memoires” achieves a very high degree of unity and a maximum measure of internal consistency.
MME LEOPOLDINE’S MEMOIRES
ONE-ACT PLAY WITH MASKS
The play, dramaturgy, choreography, masks and performance:
IVA KOSTOVIC-MANDIC & PETAR MANDIC
Emilia, her sister
Oskar, their nephew
Music fragments by a.o.:
KAMERNI TEATAR 55, SARAJEVO
XV MUESTRA INTERNACIONAL DE TEATRO DE SITGES, SPAIN
AWARD FOR MASTERLY USE OF MASK
Duration: 45 minutes without intermission
“With Theatar Maska i Pokret, the theatre went in one unexplored direction beyond the touching simplicity of Peter Schumann and his “Bread and Puppet”. And in concluding a new stage reality, two young theatre artists may be on the lookout for that stage miracle that Craig once called “übermarionette”.“
– Dalibor Foretić, theatre critic
“For two years, the married couple, Iva and Petar Mandić, have been creating performances in which, through a combination of masks and their own bodies, they achieve a fantastic, surreal, poetic stage reality.”
– Dalibor Foretić, theatre critic
“The basic symbol is made up of large masks and classical ballet – perfect, musically fixed movements which make something of the human body which is at the same time ‘above and under man’, because with its mechanical/musical symmetry of the body, it deprives life’s individuality, but at the same time it is the highest level that the body can reach.”
– Dževad Karahasan, author, philosopher
Mme LEOPOLDINE’S MEMOIRES – PLAYLIST
Mme Leopoldinne Memoires was created in the period from October to December 1981 and premiered on 03.03.82. in Kamerni Theater ’55 in Sarajevo. It has been in repertoire until the end of 1990 and during that period it has been played with great success at numerous theatres and International Theatre Festivals in Yugoslavia, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. Mme Leopoldine was awarded a prestigious theatre award Cau Ferrat for magistral empleo de las mascaras at XV Festival Internacional de Teatro de Sitges.