The March is a performance presenting on stage the Bernard-Marie Koltès youth text La marche for the first time ever in the world. It was written in 1971 when the author was 23 years old and was leading a student theatre group in Strasbourg. The text was then forgotten for many years – until 2003 when the French editor Minuit published this fascinating drama in verse. Koltčs's mature works definitely brought the author the status of a classic writer already during his short life time. The germ of his geniality arising in his later works is growing already in this early drama that found its sources in the biblical Poem Above Poems (translated by Henri Meschonnica). Koltes is obsessively in love with the Bible; in his last days he was planning to write one more biblical drama.
Ivica Buljan is a director whose great passion is to put Koltès on stage: Night at the Edge of the Forests, Return to the Desert, The Fight of a Negroe with Dogs, The Day of Murders in the Story of Hamlet, The March. He translated: In the Solitude of Cotton Fields, Roberto Zucco, The Drunken Process, The Fight of a Negroe with Dogs, Sallinger. As a dramaturgist he worked in three different versions of the performance Roberto Zucco, in Western Harbour and In the Solitude of Cotton Fields. This performance has gathered a group of top Croatian and Slovenian artists who will be joined by Macedonian and Albanian actors. The performance represents a set-design and music presentation of one of the greatest love themes from the history of culture ever - a string of couples speak out love through singing, being silent, crying ... The worldwide famous Russian artist Vadim Fiškin is the author of the set design. The cast includes aknowledged world performers such as Tomislav Gotovac and the legendary opera singer Dunja Vejzović. All the actors will speak in their own languages. The March is like a movement, a path walked by two couples. The ritualised voices of the husband and wife, erotic and consacrated arise from the Song of Songs, while the fiancé and the fiancée have to start building their path from the beginning i.e. after the cataclysm (a war?). This is what their 'march' actually is – questions in discovering the path. This drama is not telling a linear story about two people in love, yet it contains everything: the cycle of life and its eternal beginning. In the end the two couples unite - on the waves, in the endless space of love.
Bernard-Marie Koltès died in 1989. Koltès left behind a work of a powerful amplitude as a proof of some exeptional humanity which is to be found in everything he wrote. Lyrical, just like a wave that rises from dark depth, his writing takes us across waters, ploughing around itself new and new waves. The reality found in his writing is methaphoric, it is about the eternal secrets of life that make us feel tiny littly creatures. The signs direct the glance to a space in between the beings and the things. THE MARCH was created as a drama with four persons: a husband, a wife, a fiance, a fiancee. Just like a poem, a rough trace of desire and lascivity is written down. Words are chasing one another in a circular vortice whose axe could be understood as the search for love, or even better, the search for you yourself in the maize of the world. It is an obsessive reminder of the apocalypse, of the war that destroyed everything. To start from the beginning, to start from the beginning, this is the leading theme of this precarious march towards a new dawn of the world – seen or just dreamt about? »Just this road beneath our feet. The road is all we need to follow.« Hope is reborn from the ashes. Here is the phoenix whose flight is born through the power of an exeptional language as it is the one of Bernard-Marie Koltes. This long poem, this drama of passion and journey goes always forwards, it flows as if it could never stop, as if it was radiating emotions filled with energy: from vulnerability to strength, from darkness to white light. Powerful an subtle the Poem has stage instructions appearing in a form of detailed notes as if reminding us of the unspoken lines. They contribute the same poetic spirit, the same masterfully sculptured language – so typical for the entire Koltes's theatre - a language of delicate senses, offered into judgement to every taste in the world.
How many people would never have loved if they had not heard others speak of love! (by Zlatko Wurzberg)
All drama works written by B.M.Koltès - with The March included - fore going his great opus in the true meaning of the word - are gradually seen as works arising from a very active and creative period of this young author. On the one hand they disclose the genesis of his literary world, while on the other hand they appear to be extrememely interesting examples (in form as well as in their content) of this writing marked with experimentalism. As for time relations and their causative sensem, they are somehow experienced as such also in the present: as a fore text developing just before the personal drama world starts speaking; as a prologue of his future work, yet also as an after-reading, some kind of resume widening up our experience, our emotions, and the sense of this Koltes's poetics within the function of this new experience; it leads us to new understanding. However, such double (retrospective and prospective) optics of these texts in exclusive funtion of the author's later mature dramas should not have too great an impact on the apprejension of these works as completely independent dramas.
The text structure of The March is following the scheme of the classical French drama with its prologue and five acts; with the unity of place and time; with four nameless characters or two functional couples (two married and two engaged people), who appear to be just the tools within the production of their own drama which has no external cause. The author used a double play: he is discovering the already existent text and he is writing his own one. While the text of the engaged couple was originally already written, the dialugues between the two married people consist mainly of repeated fragments from the Poem of Poems taken from the French translation by Henry Meschonica; his translation is strictly following the original Hebrew text avoiding the traces of his subsequent Christian explanations. This transferred and newly shaped ready-made text and the invented dialogues run simultaneously along the entire drama; it is only just before the end of the drama that they interlace remaining however still elements of imaginary identification of both couples on direct and indirect level (literary, mental, sexual...)that serves as the drama base. The stage performance presents the psychological time and the causality, the scenery is a map of mental space. The March is dealing with a very delicate subject: the relation between man and woman within a direct speaking out of a love discourse and in time adequate to its typology. The primary text of the love dialectics between man and woman as a love-yearning, The Poem of Poems - here in dialogues between man and his bride, who are keep calling for each other rather than talking to each other - is excelling by its compliance with the world, by the purity of love, by the serenity, the Epicurean peace... On the contrary, however, it seems that the engaged couple is experiencing a kind of love-passion comming to expression in a storm of depressive excitements, naked rage, where it seem the two people are testing every bit of their relation, considering each sound of the pronounced words...As if this love was still too big - up to the interior horror from the world ending for them, up to the fear from the unknown discovered within love. If love in biblical quotations is understood as a cultural fact - as something that would never be talked about without being connected and with culture and in compliance with la Rochefoucauld's maxima How many people would never have loved if they had not heard others talking about it! - then the dialogue between the two engaged lovers was recognised by the psycho-analysts as the symptom of neurotic fear. Freud's definition of Angstneurose is expressed through accumulation of a sexual tension and a lack of psychic processing of the somatic sexual excitement where this can be transformed into a psychic libido . When the sexual excitement cannot be processed in this way, then it directly deviates to a somatic level as a form of fear (accordin to Laplance- Pontalis' Dictionary of psycho-analysis). So, the first reading of the text is based on connecting the coded discourse about love with the signs of its symptoms. the title of the drama lead directly to the basic experience of the engaged lovers: to be together with the partner and to continue the imposed walk along the path eithout direction, walked already so many times by lovers. - By directing this performance, Buljan continues his poetic line that he started with Mueller's Medea Material and Koltes's The Day of Murders in the Story of Hamlet. He has a rich experience as a director and a dramaturg in the filed of research and theatrical presentation of almost the complete drama work (known so far) by B.M. Koltes. His directing of this piece appears to be some sort of a concentric echo; it reflects the author's persistent dealing with icone texts wher no contents finds its own confirmation. The continuous presence of intepreters, co-workers -impersonating the text without stopping it in an individual role of a theatrical character, but rather transferring it on towards possible new transformations (we must mention the actors here: Ana karić, Senka Bulić, Zoran Prodanović Prija, Olga Kacjan, Marko Mandić) - this forms an arc that links the great theme in Buljan's expressio, yet it is also a key which is opening another signification of this performance.