Experiences of “theatre in the living room”
And when they appeared three years ago (then still as a “closed” theatre), they aroused lively interest. When their play “Etude” appeared, as they said, it was a “utopian” attempt to create a “private theatre in the living room”, the interest grew even more. And when they are today included in the official competition of the Festival of Small and Experimental Stages of Yugoslavia (with the play “Somebody has Killed the Play”), they are coming, looking for them, asking them… We also came to talk about their theatre, about work, about plans.
The premiere of this play was on December 12 at the “Collegium Artisticum”, followed by guest appearances in Skopje and Mostar.
— We worked on the play for full six months – says Iva Kostović -Mandić and adds: – Scenography, mask making, choreography, and performance are all the work of two of us, my husband Petar and me. The play was created as a result of researching the possibility of using the mask in theatre. The function of the mask here is not exhausted in its artistic meaning but takes on the dimensions of any “dramatic” character, which means that it is developing. This is possible if the mask is placed as a physical sign of the action understood as a clear action on stage. The mask is completely immersed in the action and is in its function.
How does the form of your play come about (since the text does not exist)?
— We start from the idea, which is the basis for everything. It needs to be concretised, transferred in action. It is a kind of process from abstract to concrete, which is characteristic of every theatrical act. However, what is specific to our play is that by using a mask and playing without words, this process runs more directly and more directed. The plot is in front of the eyes of the spectators, there is no diversion.
From this it can be concluded that stage movement is very important in your performances. How do you create it?
— During everyday training we use the technique of classical ballet – says Peter Mandic. – We take any movement, we develop it and use it as the mask requires. Which means every movement is in the function of the mask.
The very name “Mask and movement” doesn’t that mean a return to that original theatre, when the actors were hiding “under the veil of the mask”?
— Only the means we use are traditional, so the mask is traditional (known from the history of theatre), but we bring those means into our own context. It is a conditional creation of a “syncretic theatre”, but it is not going into a historical reconstruction (which would be incomprehensible to the viewer). On contrary, we present current meanings, we build understandable and simple symbols that communicate with today’s spectator.
Two young people chose to research two stage means: mask and movement, and created a specific theatre that, in their words, should be constantly developing, including a wider circle of interested people. But, not only individuals but also institutions to which such research in theatrical art brings newer and newer knowledge. Iva Kostović-Mandić and Petar Mandić are ready to cooperate.