35th / 14th International Festival of Alternative and New Theatre
35 / 14. интернационални фестивал алтернативног и новог театра

Novi Sad, 25th June - 3rd July 2008

Wed, 2nd July
David Harrower
The House of Culture
“Kristalna kocka vedrine (The Crystal Cube of Serenity)”
Town Theatre Sisak / Zijah A. Sokolovic (Croatia)
| 20:00, SNT, Chamber Stage

Director: Zijah A. Sokolović
Stage designer: Igor Pauška
Costumes: Leo Kulaš
Music: Irena Popović
Photo: Senka Sokolović
Design: Silvio Parisi

Una - Olga Pakalović
Ray - Zijah A. Sokolović

The duration of the play is 80 minutes.

As the action of David Harrower’s “Blackbird” is coming to an end, both protagonists take off their clothes and remain as naked as two persons can be. But this is not about being completely naked. “Blackbird” is a play, which speaks about a sexual intercourse that is being transformed and paralyzed. In the process that is both inevitable and painful, a defensive shield is revealed, which was built carefully by the man and the woman, for the 15 years in which they had not seen each other.
The viewer is in the position to watch the lowest depths of their souls. Thus exposed and trembling, they are totally vulnerable, and the viewer feels he should look aside. On the other hand, how to resist watching in their direction?
The theatrical and emotional nakedness presented in the “Blackbird” won the Lawrence Olivier award in London. “Blackbird” grabbed this award from the more famous contemporary playwrights. In difference from numerous plays in this season, which decompose the world with intellectual pretensions, “Blackbird” is the theatre which has only the basic elements: a man, a woman, a venue in the present, and the face-to-face confrontation over the events from the distant past. Neither of the characters is particularly keen, but what comes to the surface as the truth is less the matter of fact but more the matter of feeling, because that truth is brought to light in spite of everything.
“Blackbird” is the remembrance of something, which is by any legal definition, sexual abuse. The word “abuse” is mentioned in the play, but it is a suffocating factor for both characters. Therefore, as the majority of the used words, it is inadequate.

... ‘Blackbird’ by David Harrower directed by Zijah A. Sokolović… invites us to re-examine human sexuality and love. It deconstructs the world of a man and a woman, their past love, which can be labelled as sexual harassment, trying to find love in it, that is to say, justification and reason for the past acts. Small subject at first sight, but it speaks provocatively and accurately about human nature and the world we live in. 
Two people meet after 15 years and the suppressed and simultaneously self-destructive life comes pouring out of them, the life which results from the past love affair between them at the time when she was 12 and he was 40. When they meet, they open up their lives trying to find answers to a number of questions raised by that relationship, which was unnatural when it happened.
… Moral doubts in confrontation with love desire and animalistic passions, and all that in a frontal clash with the conventional and conservative environment turns them into tragic heroes who have been waiting for this moment of truth for 15 years. Through throwing accusations, guilt and explanations at each other, the two ex-lovers face the revelation of this truth, seeing no way out other than heading for the ruin they are personally responsible for bringing upon themselves.      
… Using a milder version of the ‘sweat, sperm and blood’ dramaturgy, psychoanalysis and psychodrama, Harrower has plunged deep into the extreme spiritual conditions of his two heroes. … Realising the tragic and elementary as the key initiators of this duo-drama, director and actor Zijah Sokolović constructed the play based on co-acting between performers, on a histrionic duel.
Andrija Tunjić, Vjesnik, 22nd February 2008.

... Intriguing, superb! Excellent acting – this was said after the premiere of ‘Blackbird’ … The audience was unanimous about the silence in ‘Blackbird’ being ‘strong’, and the emotions shown in the relationship between a young woman and an elderly man being incredibly convincing.
Jasmina Grgurić, Večernji list, 22nd February 2008

The play ‘Blackbird’ follows the same poetics of acting theatre, while the fact that it comes from Sisak, according to Zijah Sokolović, only gives it an additional value, instead of diminishing it in any way: ‘We are planning to make one production like this in Sisak or some other smaller town each year to show that it’s how it is done in the world as well, that it is no problem to travel for a performance every day, that everything is better than just sitting in a cafe…’

Igor Ruzić, Radio 101, 20th February 2008


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