As we head into our first read through of Family Stories by Biljana Srbljanović, (in Whistler style a potluck dinner at Meg’s house) our final main stage production of the season I am trying to learn as much as I can about a place I know little about, Belgrade.
Where does one begin? I started by reading the wikipedia history on-line which has brought me to the conclusion that I need to make a trip to the local library soon and take out a few history books.
But until I make it to the library I have been reading the graphic novel Gorazde by Joe Sacco. Although it takes place in Eastern Bosnia this amazing journalist (perhaps one of the few real journalists left) paints a vivid and bluntly honest picture of that part of the world and its hardships with neighboring countries and cultures- the Serbs in particular.
I have also been doing a lot of google image searches. I felt ashamed the first time I did one and thought to myself “they look just like us, in cities just like ours.” as if they would be alien creatures I couldn’t identify with instead of humans who inhabit the same world. I guess in my mind a place riddled with so much turmoil, having seen 115 wars and being razed to the ground 44 times was supposed to look like the surface of mars, not NYC.
Lastly, this weekend I stumbled across an upcoming art exhibition in NY at MOMA featuring the work of Serbian artist Marina Abramovic whose work “explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind.” Her work is provocative in a way that art rarely stirs my inner self. Google image her and even when you think you’ve seen enough and you get it, go one more number down the google pages and find something else. I plan on making a trip back to NY in the spring to see her exhibit.
I have lots more to research between now and Sunday and then Sunday and April 6th when we start rehearsals, and then all the way through to opening night on May 14th. And even then I feel like this is a piece of the world I will never fully understand living so far away and truly almost in a different world.