June 5, 2018 - Tivat Culture Center, although it is not a theater house in the real sense of the word, has so far been able to boast 20 productions and co-productions, making it one of the most vibrant actors in Montenegro's theater life as well as the region. Tivat also hosts one of the most important theatre festivals on the territory of the former Yugoslavia - the Mediterranean Theatre Festival Purgatorije. On the occasion of the great success - with seven Sterijina awards for the "Jami Distrikt" play, we spoke with the man responsible for making Tivat one of the most significant points in the region's theater map, director of the Tivat Culture Center, Neven Staničić.
After 14 independent productions, the Tivat Culture Center also appears as a co-producer on the theater projects of significant artists, such as the "Jami distrikt" show, with 19 awards so far. The last seven tracks are from this year's edition of the "Sterijino pozorje" festival. Sterijino pozorje was established in 1956 as a permanent festival of national drama and theater competitions. Its name is directed by the great Serbian comedian Jovan Sterija Popović. Productions from Serbia and abroad attended the festival with performances made by Yugoslav writers.
At the 63rd Sterijino pozorje, held in Novi Sad from May 26 to June 3, among the nine performances in the competition selection, the most acknowledged was the achievement of "Jami distrikt" by Milena Bogavac and directed by Kokan Mladenović. The performance, whose production is signed by Bifer Theater Belgrade, Tivat Culture Center, MASZK Segedin and Think Tank studio Novi Sad, was awarded seven honors - Best Performance Award and awards for Text and Direction. Jelena Graovac and Nina Nešković were awarded for acting, Ivan Nestorović for Costume Design and Isidora Simijonović was awarded the "Dara Čalenić" Award for Best Young Actress.
Neven Staničić highlights the success: "The organizer of the cultural program, Vojislav Kaluđerović, and I were in Novi Sad three days ago to support the show and, above all, to participate in the roundtable of the Sterijino pozorje, which is always significant. There was a great debate about the show itself, the present and the future of the Sterijino pozorje, and many other topics. Here we heard that the score of viewers for our play at that moment was over 4.60. That's why we hoped for a public reward because we thought that the average audience approval would not surpass. It came out completely different. We received jury awards, expert reviews and so on. The audience brought the reward to another show for a couple of votes. But, well, we can be more than pleased with the achievements."
"As last year's edition of Sterijino pozorje was very specific, and last year's jury decided not to award a single prize, which caused great controversy in the theater world. This was a very interesting event because the festival's management decided to turn the page and call more modern performances and consecrate themselves to younger creators. It seems to us that we are the best in this choice," explains Neven Staničić.
"This is a good show, after the premiere in Tivat played 40 times, and until now it has won 12 awards at festivals from Zagreb to Romania. With these seven prizes, this is a really impressive number, which only tells us that it is universal in its way that people understand, especially in the areas of the former Yugoslavia, and that we have done a good job together with the Bitef Theater."
The director of the show, Kokan Mladenović, has fashionably told the story of our reality, using all the elements of pop culture, and primarily the media.
"All stereotypes about Croats, Serbs, Bošnjaci, are individualized in this performance, and this is done in the best possible way, with the show really technically completely modern, new, and with enormous energy that comes from the scene to the audience, as opposed to what there is, and what many of the plays haven’t recently had, and that is antique catharsis. After this performance, especially after that part when it comes to ten-year swearing, there is a compassion, a discomfort, a need to applaud, but you cannot applaud swearing. This is what the lost sense of liberation in the theater is, catharsis - when one really has to imagine what is happening to us. Because when we talk about this play, it seems that we live it. We live stereotypes. We all behave in a way to know in advance who’s the winner in the elections, and there is nothing we can do. It is known that this is a state of affairs, and it cannot be different. I’ll stop here because I don’t want to politicize these wonderful moments," explains Neven Staničić, who as a producer can boast numerous valuable productions, and that Purgatorije professionals compare with perhaps the most significant on ex-Yu sites, the festival Sterijino pozorje in Novi Sad.
The performance of the Jami distrikt will be played twice under this year's Purgatorije, which begins on June 22 with the grand spectacle of the Theatre of Terazije- musical “Chicago”. The play Jami District has so far played 39 times, and every time the show is sold out.
"This summer's show is on the European tour, so far it has been a tour of the former Yugoslavia, including Romania. Now it is on its way to Europe, most likely to go to the Scandinavian countries first, from where it has received the largest number of calls. This is what we have heard at the roundtable - the story of our nationalism is recognized as a story of relations in the European Union because they believe that if any of the three European countries finds the site of the oldest man in the world, almost similar things would happen. Perhaps there would not be a war, but all else would certainly be upset. So, they have an interest in such a look at the reality. "
"With last year's production and earlier performances, the Tivat Culture Center experienced something out of the theater unnoticed, because we are not a real theater. In addition to the Jami district, Gorska drama, Magbet also co-produced with Bitef theatre, and Little about the soul, which was the authorship project of Varja Đukić. We also played last year's performances of Tre Sorele, Penelopijada, Kostana, Hasanaginica, Filomena Marturano and children's play Watch out, walk the zebra, and recorded exactly 83 performances in the year. We appeared as a huge theatre at a large venue 80 times, especially when Jami district and Magbet performed, which puts us as one of the most successful theaters of the former Yugoslavia. This justifies our endeavor that, when we cannot already be present as the Center itself, we maintain the co-production, to cultivate tradition, and finally keep the name of the Montenegrin theater and the Tivat Culture Center in the region and beyond," says Staničić.
For the theater companies in the region, it is an honor to be a part of the Tivat festival of Purgatorije. "Purgatorije festival is a story for itself. I think that at this moment we do not understand the significance of Purgatorije. Maybe it does not need to stress too much either. Purgatorije is the most important for the time being. What I can announce is that this year's Purgatorije will be very interesting, it seems to me even better than last year, because last year's season was not as productive. I think the audience this year will enjoy in Tivat. Not for no reason. We celebrate this year's cultural summer in Tivat as the 'Summer center'. So the summer center is Pugratorije 2018," concluded the director of the Tivat Culture Center, Neven Staničić.