Dora Theatre Company and company ma’s tour in Serbia and Croatia
It was an epoch-making event in many ways.
ASSITEJ Serbia in collaboration with which a 45-year-old modern-drama company, experimentally created in collaboration with a newborn company called “company ma”, whose work was not yet known, after the East Japan Great Earthquake for the company’s 40th anniversary.
ASSITEJ Serbia has established a strongly trustworthy relationship with TYA in Japan for the last few years, bringing and creating baby drama called “Baby Space” by Dalija Acin Thelander and having a number of lectures by Diana Krzanic Tepavac, who is the initiator of all these establishments, in Japan.
Due to Diana’s commitments, ASSITEJ Serbia has achieved to make this tour happen with supports from Japan Foundation in Serbia and Tokyo Arts Council in a magical collaboration with the Japanese theatre companies through a wonderful coordinator, Jovana Savic from Bosko Buha Theatre in Belgrade, who later became our tour manager.
As most of those who have done international collaboration work probably know, it is not easy to coordinate a tour. Especially with this tour, we have traveled 3 cities in Serbia and 3 cities in Croatia (from small ones to big ones), performed in 6 different theatres (once again from small ones to big ones with different availabilities of technical equipment and so on) and given workshops in 4 theatres. ASSITEJ Serbia and Croatia must have coped so well for this cultural event through tremendous coordinating work of Jovana.
The tour was incredibly successful. At most of the theatres the audiences were packed, the performances were well-received with endless applauses and a few standing ovations, the workshops gathered varieties of artists, students, and generations, whose commitments were tremendous and responses afterwards were highly appreciative.
The performance has dealt with disaster caused by an earthquake, and it may touch certain subjects that can be considered hard to touch, such as loss, neglect, anger, and fear. And it was very impressive to feel and receive tremendous sympathies toward the performance’s subjects non-verbally expressed from the audiences as well as the workshop participants in Serbia and Croatia.
Andrzej Wajda, a Polish film director, who has recently passed away, sent Japanese people a message after the earthquake in 2011, saying, “You are always aware of the fact that you never know when you have to face a crisis that changes your way of living; however, it is surprising and wonderful that Japanese do not fall into pessimism. Rather than being pessimistic, Japanese art is filled with joy of life and optimism. (translated from Japanese)”.
The same was definitely felt among the people who participated in the performances and the workshops in Serbia and Croatia. They have their histories that may be beyond our imagination. But we have definitely witnessed their optimism towards the future. And once again, we have come to the conclusion that this is what theatre can do for those who live in the future, having artistically reconstructed our experiences, and it was an epoch-making event woven by ASSITEJ network.
Many thanks to Puppet Theatre Niš, Pinokio Puppet Theatre Belgrade, Pozorište Mladih Novi Sad- Theatre of Youth, Children’s Theatre Branko Mihaljevic Osijek, Virovitica Theatre, Cultural Center ?akovec, ASSITEJ Serbia, ASSITEJ Croatia, and all of you involved with this theatrical journey from Dora Theatre Company, company ma, and ASSITEJ Japan for more collaboration to come.
Here is the video of our journey’s trace: