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

Novi Sad, 25th June - 3rd July 2008

Tue, 1st July
Ister Theatre Belgrade (Serbia)
| 21:00, SNT, Hinterbine

Three sisters - Anđelija Todorović, Isidora Stanišić, Danica Arapović
Andreu, their brother - Čarni Đerić
His wife - Jelena Jović

Dramatization: Damir Vijuk
Composer: Nenad Jelić
Stage: Ljubomir Todorović
Andreu's styling: Dragana Kunjadić Capasa
Organisation: Miodrag Lazović

The duration of the play is 50 minutes.

OLGA: Father died exactly a year ago, on this very same day, on the fifth of May, on your name day, Irina. It was very cold, and snow was falling. It seemed to me as if I would not live through it, you were lying in a faint, as if you were dead. But look, a year has gone by and we can remember it lightly.
... Today it's warm, we can even have the windows open – but the birch trees are still not in leaf. Father was given command of a brigade and left Moscow with us eleven years ago...

From the script of the play Three Sisters – All around Chekhov

‘Three Sisters – All around Chekhov’ is a dance performance, done in the manner of the Ister Theatre, but like Chekhov’s dramas it is organised as a musical composition where scenes and images of different emotional shades come one after another, just like movements and tonalities  follow one another in music. The Ister Theatre uses a classical dramatic text, which is all made of words, thus being a great creative inspiration for staging. According to the Ister Theatre Chekhov is an emotional, poetical and melancholic author whose heroes, at first sight, talk a lot and do a little. This presents a real challenge for theatrical way of expression used by this troupe in their work.


ISTER is the antic name of the Danube, the most important European river which connects more than 80 million people, who live in nine countries, speak dozens of languages, belong to different religions, foster their own historical memory, art, customs, myths and legends.
The Ister Theatre was founded in 1994 as a theatrical troupe whose work is characterised by exploration and merging of dance and dramatic techniques.
It was born out of the needs of a group of professional theatre artists to express their work through, until then, an atypical method of work in classical theatre, that is, through an everyday laboratory-research process, which provides actors and dancers with an opportunity to create an authentic expression – physical theatre. The work on personal stories, authentic observations about the world we live in and concrete emotions is of great importance, for such materials, after dramaturgical treatment, yield plays and performance art. Characters, situations, emotions, experiences, problems – an attempt to focus the public eye on the truth about the world we live in. Provocation, yet not an answer.
Space as a place of communication is one of the segments which determine the work on street performances fostered by the Ister Theatre as well.
The Ister Theatre has participated in a number of national and international festivals and taken their performances to Bulgaria, Romania, Great Britain, Italy, Holland, Germany, and Egypt, while videos produced by the Ister Theatre have been shown in Germany, Canada, England, Italy, Holland and Romania. 

Setting off from the basic construction of Chekhov’s drama ‘Three Sisters’, the members of the Ister Theatre paint a scenically reduced, purified picture of human despair, hopelessness, melancholy… On the empty black stage, there is only one bench, around which most of the plot is constructed. The dancers simultaneously use dance and acting techniques to represent the inner divisions and unfulfilled aspirations of the main characters – sisters who want to leave for Moscow, and their brother who becomes addicted to gambling. 
Since the area we live in has been manifesting claustrophobia and perversity in many aspects for the past twenty years, our audiences can easily identify with Chekhov’s heroines, sharing their sense of a futile and wasted life. Because Russian provinces have much in common with the position of Serbia today, on the margins of Europe, the magical Europe which brings good life and seems so close, but constantly eludes us nevertheless. This sound temporal and social transfer from Russia at the turn of the 20th century to here and now provides this well-tailored stage construction with an additional weight, contemporariness and emotional charge. The entire play breathes Kundera’s ‘life is somewhere else’, while Moscow is just a dream which holds in itself the cruel reality once it is materialised.

Jelena Kajgo, Politika, 10th March 2008
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