June 20, 2017 marked a year since the play “KoTo(R) o Kotoru” has been premiered. Below you can read what was going on in the life of the play since its first performance in 2016.
One year since the play “KoTo(R) o Kotoru” has been produced
The documentary community theatre play ”KoTo(R) o Kotoru”, created and acted by the citizens of Kotor who have been assisted by the theatre director Petar Pejaković, has recently been performed in the Bitef Theatre in Belgrade. The performance was given within the framework of the international conference Cultural Heritage Counts for South-East Europe, held on 15-17 June 2017 and organized jointly by Europa Nostra, the pan-European network for cultural heritage, the Association of Citizens Europa Nostra Serbia and the SEE Heritage Network, in partnership with the Creative Europe Programme, the European Union and the International Council of Museums South East Europe Alliance (ICOM SEE). The play “KoTo(R) o Kotoru” that have resulted from an eight-month-long process of work named the Theatre about Kotor, which consisted of more than 50 workshops and involved around 60 citizens, was premiered on 20 June 2016 in Kotor in the Cultural Centre Nikola Đurković. Focusing on both distinctiveness and problems of life in Kotor, during 2016 this play was performed as many as 12 times, five times in Kotor, in the Cultural Centre Nikola Đurković, twice in Belgrade (the first time in the theatre Duško Radović, within the framework of the international scientific and professional conference on drama and education entitled “Take part! – Creative Participation in Arts and Education”) and once in the following towns: Tivat (in the Cultural Centre Tivat), Podgorica (in the Cultural and Information Centre Budo Tomović, as a part of the FIAT festival), Cetinje (in the Royal Theatre Zetski dom), Dubrovniku (at the premises of Art Workshop Lazareti), and Nikšić. The process of work on the production of play, as a form of citizens’ activism, has also been presented at international conferences in Paris, Beijing, Shkodra, Vienna…
Wherever it was performed the play attracted a great interest and produced entirely positive reactions of the audience and professional public, whose numerous comments and reactions have been collected within a unique evaluation of the project carried out by NGO Expeditio, followed by numerous invitations to perform the play in countries of the region and Europe. Jointly crated community theatre which promotes the idea of theatre as a means for research and creative expression of each individual or a group for a purpose of personal development and social engagement has proved to be a very powerful tool in establishing a dialogue of the participants with the audience, i.e. with a wider and closer community.
The play has been reviewed by numerous critics and columnists, including the theatre critic in Politika, Ana Tasić, who wrote: “This production has the form of a forum; it is the place of activism and contemplation of a new, more advanced version of Kotor, freer and more open, of real, civic utopia, and not that false, political one. (...) A group of about 20 citizens of Kotor showed authentic, graceful amateur performance which was met with marvelous reception by the audience in Podgorica, probably on account of recognition of the importance of topic and the devastating sincerity of the author, which easily connected with the needs of the audience, obviously hungry for the topics that essentially concern them.” “That’s why “KoTo(R) o Kotoru” is not just a theatre act, or is so just partly, while viewed in a wider context this play grows into an issue of concern not only for the town whose name makes its title. It, therefore, concerns all of us – both there and here. Everywhere.”, concluded the theatre critic Aleksandar Milosavljević for Radio Belgrade’s Third programme, while the columnist Božena Jelušić wrote in Vijesti: “And Kotor was breathing with freedom, laughter and satire, which were unmasking and mocking all those who have degraded it. (...)”.
In addition to the play, the process of work of the citizens of Kotor that took place within the project of NGO Expeditio conducted within the frameworks of two wider projects, European Artizen Initiative (funded through the EU Creative Europe programme) and ACT4CITY (funded by BAC – Balkan Arts and Culture Fund) has also resulted in a printed and digital book “KoTo(R) o Kotoru”, containing, alongside the script of the play, a description of the process of the play creation and several reviews and expert comments. Thanks to the help of volunteers the play script has been translated into English language. The results of the work on the play are also Bulletins of the Theatre about Kotor, i.e. three editions of the wall newspapers edited by the theatre critic Maja Mrđenović, which were used as a communication tool of the project, aimed at informing the public about the project ideas and also at encouraging a dialogue and participation. Other results of the project are the Appeal for the improvement of life in Kotor and a series of “postcards” featuring devastated areas of Boka Kotorska, sent to over 80 addresses of relevant institutions. Doubtless, the most important effect of the work on the play is the empowerment of citizens and contribution to activating the local community through providing a platform for critical thinking and social action, which enables the creation of a perspective from which it is possible to contemplate and imagine the alternatives to the identified problems of the life in Kotor.
Participants in the play, in the preparation of which two residential artists from Belgrade, performer and choreograph Dušan Murić, and sculptor and scenographer Miodrag Vargić took part, were: Marjan Šantić, Radmila Beća Radulović, Slavica Lompar, Jelena Vukasović, Maja Mrđenović, Ilko Marović, Dragana Kunarac, Jelena Franović, Tatjana Rajić, Aleksandra Kapetanović, Maruška Drašković, Zorana Milošević, Mitar Mića Jovanović, Antonio Grgurević, Stefan Lazarević, Mirjana Popović, Aleksandra Dejanović, Žarko Nikolić, Mirjana Petrović and Jelena Milutin. The next performances of the play will be in u Kolašin, within the framework of Korifej- the Festival of alternative theatre, on 26 July 2017 at 8 p.m. and in Budva, as part of the programme of Theatre City Festival, on 30 July 2017 at 9.30 p.m.
ACT4CITY is funded by Balkan Arts and Culture Fund BAC. BAC is supported by the Swiss Government through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the European Cultural Foundation (EFC).