Eugène Ionesco: THE BALD SOPRANO
The Theatre of the Blind and Visually Impaired ‘New Life’, Croatia

Directed by: Ana Prolić
Translation: Vlado Habunek
Dramatic adaptation of the text: Ana Prolić
Movement: Tamara Savičević
Costume design: Adrijana Lacko
Set design: Ljubomir Miščević
Music: Damir Šimunović
Lights design: Nenad Lalović
Projection: Kornelije Hećimović
Technical support: Nina Biondić, Andrea Bagarić, Nikola Višić, Nenad Lalović

Mrs. Smith – Anita Matković
Mr. Smith – Vojin Perić
Mrs. Martin – Suzana Bliznac, Dajana Biondić
Mr. Martin – Igor Kučević
Merry – Marija Pucak
Fire engine captain – Milenko Zeko

Running time: 60 minutes

Dear audience, in front of you is the dissected everyday life of an ‘average’ family, whose facade is shiny, because it has been well maintained, while the interior, up to a sigh of shock, is rotten and dehumanised. What is also subtle is the fine playing with the ugly and rough stuff that most of us would gladly run away from – or better still – hide it under the precious carpet bought for this very purpose.
The play actually starts from its end... Protagonists are already onstage, each in their own case, their own plot, while the audience are getting in, looking for their reserved seats. Music is the rhythm of transiency – so monotonous, so variable from moment to moment. And then the play starts! Besides the main plot (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, who are rummaging through their routines), other protagonists happen, directed as a filigree and surrendered to their acting. The play, therefore, has several levels and it should be savoured carefully, to take full pleasure of it. One should watch the inter-layers, read between the lines, listen to the intonation and not only the text.    
The main plot shifts the attention to the Martins, who visit the Smiths, while still looking for and calling each other through memories. They all become a knot of confusion, ‘manners’, arrogance and seeming care for each other. With several unrepeatable stories they tell each other, with putting down some already planned fires, with ‘the bald soprano who still styles her hair the same way’ – it will all end – maybe all too soon! All too soon, because one travels through illusion faster than through reality.

The stage which means ‘New Life’ was first climbed in March 1948 when a group of blind enthusiasts performed their first play (Mile Klopčić: Mother – Directed by Vladimir Jagarić). It was a positive shock for the audience and a collective delight for the blind actors, who never in their wildest dreams knew what they started and where it was going to take them.
‘Illusions’ and great directing names came lining up, it compiled into a rather large library of world and domestic literature, and it was read, or watched by the audiences in about a hundred premieres, and over 1300 produced plays. The theatre played throughout the former homeland, and in the 1970s it stepped over the borders of our country and spread its illusions before the eyes of Europe. Italy, Switzerland, Germany were among the destinations, but real achievements were yet to come.
The greatest names of Croatian theatre directing sharpened their spears on the blind and visually impaired actors: Tomislav Dubrešić, Radojko Ježić, Jurica Frković, Dražen Grunvald, Mirko Merle. In the 1990s the directing relay was taken over by Nina Kleflin, after whom nothing was ever the same. The plays became livelier, the movement gained virtuosity, and actors’ imagination soured to unexpected heights, dispelling prejudices and undeceiving sceptics. Nina led a new generation pleiad who still make the Theatre of the Blind and Visually Impaired unique and world-recognised. Ksenija Zec, Snježana Banović, Anica Tomić,, Ana Prolić, Mario Kovač, Saša Božić and Ivan Plazibat, - have helped us – some actors say – to be ‘less blind’, that is, to feel like genuine artists.      
Later, Maja Marjančić, Ksenija Zec and Tamara Savičević made a miracle out of movement! What followed was a Grand Prix at the 8th International Festival of Chamber Theatres Golden Lion in Umag in 2007 with the dance project Nos vamos a ver, designed and perfected by the aforementioned Ksenija Zec and Saša Božić.
The latest award came at the 13th International “Naj, naj, naj” festival, where the Theatre earned the Golden Firebird for dedication to collectiveness in a theatre play for Ana Prolić’s production Think before You Speak. 
The Theatre of the Blind and Visually Impaired ‘New Life’ organises the world’s only international festival of theatres of the blind and visually impaired BIT (Blind in Theatre), which is held every two years in Zagreb. Last year (2013) they held the 8th BIT. 

This performance has been financially supported by the City of Zagreb.