»Boris Davidovič’s face and the pock-marked face of his executioner, bent on extracting yet another false confession, stared at each other through the darkness of a smoke-filled cell.«
Description / working process
A tomb for Boris Davidovic remains one of the most controversial literature pieces in Yugoslav history, since its original appearance in 1976, when it caused unusual turbulence in cultural circles. What journalists called «the greatest post-war affair in these areas» has since inspired many renowned artists and influenced a lot of political debates in the Balkans, while its pseudo-documentary style and epic structure represent an ingenious basis for understanding and interpreting mechanisms of history and various oppressive systems.
Taking the time to carefully analyze this Danilo Kis masterpiece, our team spent nearly a month investigating all the tiny details hidden in his well-shaped narrative; this kind of process finally lead to exposing important social, religious, political and ideological issues that repeat themselves throughout different times. We found it crucial to ask ourselves all kinds of questions concerning the revolutionary aspects of this text and then gave our best not only to answer them with words, but through actions that would take place both on and off stage. After having divided the story into chapters, each actor/performer got a segment to think about and to relate to. Moreover, apart from these reading and analytical sessions, hard-working body trainings served as an everyday stimulus to prepare the team for presenting the demanding and all-pervading story without any modifications. Music rehearsals were equally important and played a huge role in the preparation phase, while also serving as a kind of inspiration during this exciting experience.
This kind of overwhelming process insists that the intensive questioning of the actors/performers must begin all over again every time they enter the theatre. Once on the stage, they continuously confront the limitations of human existence and persist in bringing the myth of the hero Novsky into the political reality of here-and-now.
About the performance
A great and invisible writer, Danilo Kiš, and the horizon of eastern Europe. Published in 1976, A Tomb for Boris Davidovič remains one of the most controversial landmarks in Yugoslav literature. Fertile material for Ivica Buljan, the Croatian director who brings his remarkable sensitivity to lead a bold and athletic team of international actors.
Using historical texts from European wars and revolutions from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s Kiš is questioning the winners of history and exposing what all crimes have in common. Documentary approach and fragmentation are a picture of unreliable human memory, incompleteness of archives and cultural heritage, and of undependability of history.
The work of Danilo Kiš represents an ethical imperative to any artist thinking about political reality of southern Slavic territories. For older generations Reading Kiš today is a reminder of the power relationship between a Citizen/Individual/Artist and the State, and of the level of tolerance that one institution is willing to grant to another. For younger generations A Tomb for Boris Davidovič is an ethical and aesthetical manifesto, a singular one in our region.
Read more about A Tomb for Boris Davidovich here.
Festivals and tours abroad
Mittelfest 2014 (Italy); July 2014
18th International Festival of Contemporary Theatre Zadar Snova (Croatia); August 2014
48th Bitef Festival Belgrade (Serbia); September 2014
ZeKaeM, Zagreb Youth Theatre (Croatia); Oktober 2014
Itf SkupiFestival, Skopje (Macedonija); November 2014