Play Radovan 2013 starts from the fact that many stereotypes about our people are not only true, but, since they are favoured by the official artistic infrastructure levers, they cause the direct damage not only in the aesthetic sense – that is in the sense of narrowing the artistic space for many forms of the factual expressions which are more adequate, but also in the sense of the reflection of the harmful image of us as the social community – but it spreads in a much dangerous direction then it seems to us at first glance. More concrete, the theatre plays such as the diverse poetically obsolete and very frequent comedies of manners nowadays, culturologically indirectly encourage the deviant but, unfortunatelly, omnipresent forms of behaviour which make the list of motives of this art sub-form (violence, corruption, negligence, visible lack of democratic capacity…), since they are treated favourably in spite of their apparent critical potential, as the most unregular traits of the Serbian mentality insist on them.
Due to the above reasons and aesthetical ones in the most strict sence of the word, Yorick Troupe considers that the establishment of the new up-to-date poetics which undermines and disassemble the old-fashioned commedy of manners and thereby has the efficient role in the creation of the critical and modernized environment at the Serbian theatrical and cultural stage, but also in the total social space. In order to achieve it, we ought to tackle the most powerful cornerstone of the old-fashioned poetics. Therefore, Radovan 2013 does not hesitate to, in the most direct possible way, starting from the title, demythologize the play Radovan the Third by Dušan Kovačević, which in spite of the fact that in the time when it appeared was more up-to-date then it is today – and which is natural – by its aesthetical supremacy, which is the result of the corrupted and anachronic theatrical infrastructure that unwillingly allow any kind of the critical reconsideration of its values which were set at some other period, and the application of which are nowadays at least dubious, volens-nolens provides the enormous support to the harmful works which are extremely overcome in art, of the less talented artists by very priviledged followers of such poetics.
Being aware of the fact that it is the comprehensive operation which demands shaping of the whole new poetics, Yorick Troupe decides to act in a wider and more complex way: not only to define the new comedy at its website and participates in the establishment of the Institute for New Comedy* supported by Bitef Theatre and Students’Cultural Centre in Novi Sad, where the play Radovan 2013 will be presented as the first play. “The new comedy is the new way for the new social problems which desperately needs to be artistically shaped to gain the urgent, but artistically relevant response.
Such urgency and tackling the new social problems would meet the condition of the theatrical actuallity, as the basic demand of every responsible theatrical action, which in the concrete case would be achieved by the decisive finger-pointing in the resource domain at all these hardly comprehensible, paradoxical and almost systematic mixtures in the Serbian transition, occurred as the result of the collision of the inevitable penetration of the forms of the spirit of the age in the local space with the systematical regeneration of the various aggresive phenomenological archaisms. Some of these recognizable mixtures are, for instance: simultenous strenthening of the Pro-European discourse and forms of xenophobia and general intolerance towards the members of the minority groups; simultaneous general pornographization and re-patriarhicalization; declarative improvement of the economic system and factual growth of the new feudalism. Although surprising, these hybrid phenomena are undoubtedly, on the other hand, to be expected in the transition, as the social phase in which the recidives of the previous system are not yet scratched, and the elements of the new one are not established yet, thereby there is a great undefined inter-space.
Although by its very presence but also by the structure – since the paradox has always been one of the most reliable “heaters” of the meaning of the artworks, and that the transitional Serbian reality in fact offers the abundance of the valid substance – they objectively desperately need to be artistically shaped, this irrefutable instinct can be rarely recognized at the Serbian theatre stage, marked mainly by the performance, date of origin of the new but insufficiently recontextualized classics, as well as the forms of the stereotypical and old-fashioned comedy of manners. However, in order to be adequately treated in the artistic way, the new strategy of poetics is needed, as the base of the expression, and I recognize it mostly in the new reading of the parody, which has been present in the developed cultural organisms for many decades, and in our interpretative community it is unfortunately still rather underrepresented. This new form implies parody as the repetition of old forms with the ironical differences, according to the conclusions made by Canadian theoretician Linda Hutcheon from her book Theory of Parody, originally published as early as in 1985, which has not been translated into Serbian yet, thus far from the parody as the unambiguous travesty, the anachronic application of which at our theatre stage is enabled exactly by the disproportionate presence of the old-fashioned comedies of manners”, states at the website of Yorick Igor Marojevic, the associate of our troupe, author of this play and established writer who also wrote Radovan 2013.
In this regard, Radovan 2013 is exactly the repetition of Radovan The Third with the significant ironic difference. The “repetition” is reflected in the name of the main character and sets of traits which he inherits from the original one: intolerance, bullying, loudness, manipulativeness, lightheadedness, irrationality, leadership at any cost… – all these traits which coincide also with the traits represented in the harmful stereotypes about Serbs and which the “original” play in spite of its apparent critical capacity treats, since it does not insist on them and that it essentially does not undermine them, favourably. The ironic difference offered by Radovan 2013 is based on placing such a character in the context where the above traits – which, by the way, present him as dominant in the original circumstances – make him inferior, thereby the sets of the traits of “Serbian syndrome” is presented. Namely, contemporary Radovan is intolerant, too loud, irrational, manipulative and declaratively dominant as his predecessor, but all of these in the context of opening the public discourse for various minority groups, including even the gay-population, in which our main character got interested owning to the fact that as a result of incidents regarding the gay-parade there is much talk about it, so he gets so keen on that he becomes a member of it and in the end, by spreading his own sexual horizons, he decides to change the gender and, even, to bear a child. I guess it is obvious how great is the recontextualization to which Radovan’s apparent macho characteristics are subject.
Goran Cvetković, Radio Belgrade 2 – monday 1.VII 2013.