Under the name Theatre Maska i Pokret, Iva and Petar created Neko je ubio pjesmu (Somebody has Killed the Play), a one-act play with masks. They wrote the screenplay, created the masks and all the visual elements, and were the protagonists of the play themselves. The production featured at the 22 MESS, a festival devoted to professional theatres presenting avant-garde tendencies and was acclaimed one of the most important events of the festival (one of the festival’s highlights). The production was awarded various theatre awards, e.g. a unique award from theatre critics, dramaturges and theatre scholars for the most thoughtful experiment on 22 MESS. This production represents one of their most important Works.
Already in that first play, the authors actually expressed their theatrical manifesto: belief in the poetic essence of theatre, in the challenge of its eternal mystery, not using the word but what is at the very core of the theatre’s origins – mask, music, movement.
MASK AS A DRAMATIC POETRY
Although the play is ambiguous and difficult to explain – like any true poetry – the basic meaning of the play can be summarised in one sentence: a group of characters (masks), each out of their own motivation and in their own way contributing to the crime – gradually killing grand pre-puppet Agava, from which everything originates and from which all the action in the play derives.
Through the character of the Agava puppet, the authors actually embody the eternal calling of poetic nature: sublime, beautiful, supple, plucked from humans, beheaded, buried with all honours and then betrayed, poetry, viewed through the ironic strands of life and in the face of death, remains what it is, spiritual, the metaphysical constant of every existence.
SYNTHESIS OF MASKS, DANCE AND MUSIC
Realising Craig’s visionary dream of an actor-marionette, they took a step further in their studious work. Not reducing the mask to the character’s typical definition, they brought her into an organic relationship with the action. The synthesis of mask, movement and music in their play evolves into a system of theatrical signs and symbols through which dramaturgy, stories of good and evil, life and death, poetry and nothingness are accomplished. A simple, suggestive, and always thoughtfully chosen stage sign realises the poetic-thought core of their idea.
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.
This play is in the true sense exploration, which does not limit its value, “unusualness”, freshness and meticulousness – on contrary speaks of a different, more modern reflection on theatre art.
On the occasion of the forty years since the first participation at MESS Festival, the awards and recognitions that Iva and Petar, their theatre and their play received on this occasion, we broadcasted on Friday, April 2, at 21:00 CET the TV adaptation of the play “Neko je ubio pjesmu / Somebody has killed the Play” online via Zoom.
NEKO JE UBIO PJESMU
ONE-ACT PLAY WITH MASKS
The play, dramaturgy, choreography, masks and performance:
IVA KOSTOVIĆ-MANDIĆ & PETAR MANDIĆ
Reconstruction of ancient Greek theatre music
J.S.Bach – BWV 639
AGAVA, the gentle Puppet
KASTOR, the one wearing the uniform
KALA, the one who mourns
ERIF, the early born
KALA and ERIF as the Double Mask
KARLO, the dustman
Two malicious Old Women
THE ONE WHO FLIES
22 MESS festival of professional Avant-garde theatres of Yugoslavia
Award of theatre critics, dramaturges and theatre scholars for the most important production at the Festival
22 MESS “Tree Gold Stars”, a traditional VEN award for “most thoughtful experiment”
COLLEGIUM ARTISTICUM GALLERY OF MODERN ART SARAJEVO 1980
Duration: 45 minutes without intermission
“That performance belongs to that dedicated, Craig’s space of the theatre, in which, with the help of a mask and movement, in a rhythm of music, an attempt is made to stage a poetic image and metaphor, a living theatre.”
– Dalibor FORETIĆ, theatre critic
“Music is the rhythmic driver of the action, and although not a single word is said, the structure of the play is still eminently dramatic: it is not about musical or ballet theatre, but above all about dramatic events.”
– Dalibor FORETIĆ, theatre critic
“Their play introduces us to a somewhat mystical sphere of theatre in which a pure, carefully crafted poetic symbol is the only value with which the theatrical act in its ephemerality seeks to correspond with eternity.”
Davor Korić, dramatist, film director
“This is a direct theatre, like the biggest theatre I know, of the Robert Wilson Theatre, a theatre that does not seek any mediation to act on us. 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 certain stories.”
– Slobodan Blagojević, author, poet, philosopher
NEKO JE UBIO PJESMU – PLAYLIST
Neko je ubio pjesmu (Somebody has Killed the Play) premiered on 12.12.80 in Collegium Artisticum Gallery of Modern Art in Sarajevo. It has been in repertoire until the end of 1982 and during that period of two years has been played with great success at many theatres and International Theatre Festivals in Yugoslavia, The Netherlands and Spain.