Borislav Mihajlovic Mihiz
Selection of music
dr Ljiljana Mrkic Popovic
Costume Design Assistant
Lidija Nikolic and Jelena Dunjic
A scene mask
Video Clip Creator
February, 1st, 2018.
Simeon Njegovan - Lupus
Simeon Njegovan - Hadzija
Simeon Njegovan - young boss
Samsika Tot and the others
A word from the director
Pekić once said, “I have never cared for a stage which was said to be alive because there was a smell of burned fat coming down from it, or because it produced one after another, with a horrifying monotony, staged clichés that are clear and unbearable even in real life, while technology blew the icy draught of the fan towards the audience to evoke winter. I do not claim that certain episodes of certain naturalist, religious, documentary, realist productions did not excite me, of course they did, but the same could be said of every corresponding scene in real life. For something like that I did not have to spend money. Because, after all, the best place to see bad plays is – real life. When I want to see a good one, I go to the theatre and watch – Art.”
There must not be, therefore, a requirement less demanding than this one when approaching, however cautiously, but still fully enthralled, Pekić’s work. After all, it opens up to you all by itself, if you’re ready enough for the challenge of play. Because it is about play. Pekić’s play with the theatre – just as all of his literature, which is always a play – is a play of spirit, creating worlds that, perhaps or indeed, do not exist or have never existed, but are real all the same. After all, it has long been known that the reality of the stage is more real than reality. And it’s always less boring too.
Maybe that’s why the theatre is what I love best about the theatre?
Borislav Mihajlovic Mihiz
A word from the author
TO “TSINTSARS OR CORRESPONDENCE”
Borislav Pekić’s novel The Golden Fleece, with its length (over 3,000 pages), time scope (a dozen centuries), and number of characters (several hundred) is certainly the bulkiest novel in all of Serbian literature, while its literary and intellectual qualities and erudition make it one of the most important.
The epistolary comedy Tsintsars or Correspondence is a dramatisation of a part of this novel, the part which covers a few months in late 1847 and early 1848 – when the Tsintsar family created and followed by this novel was ceasing to be a Tsintsar Njago genus and started turning into a significant urban Serbian merchant firm called Simeon Njegovan & Son. The dramatised excerpt, although a part of a large whole, is autonomous, it can be perceived and followed, and is self-sufficient.
“With the author’s consent,” and his friendly support, I took it upon myself to dramatise, in the form of an epistolary comedy, this part of the novel, which was written exclusively in the form of correspondence. It is my wish and intention to preserve in the dramatic form the nature of this read: not to turn correspondence into a scene, but quite the opposite, to turn a scene into correspondence. The novelty of this form is an enticing challenge, but at the same time an adventure filled with obstacles and difficulties.
This dramatisation was made in such a way as to serve as a basis for exploring the possibility of correspondence as a pure theatrical form. The characters communicate by way of messages, without direct contact, keeping a spatial, temporal, and even psychological distance. They enter the immediate scene and direct dialogue only when their correspondence leads to it. The function of short, quick lines is replaced here by telegrams, long monologue-letters, while the comedy’s story, its plots and resolutions are formed by the rhythm of the correspondence. The epistolary statement should be the basic element of dramatic communication in this dramatisation. In a written correspondence, even a strong impression gets calmed and cooled, the spontaneity and sincerity of a confession undergo a sober purge of formulation; tactics, hypocrisy, and courtesy are important psychological factors.
Characters are shaped not so much through action as through communication during action, motivations are motivated and intentions are expressed or concealed by means of utterances. In a word, correspondence as a theatre form requires finding an array of special means of theatrical expression. There are, of course, many ways for such a correspondence-based expression to be disturbed, made alive, quick and attractive. Many of those methods have already been used, but it will be good to find new, different ones. I did not introduce in this dramatisation any interventions or stage directions of that kind on purpose, convinced that the director and cast should be given full license in this experimental work to explore all possibilities and find the best solutions.
On the occasion of the premiere at Atelje 212 theatre
5 February 1980