BOULEVARD Magazine No.4 December 2013 - Page 21

N ot far away from the Pancevo Central Jail, the audience enters the Pancevo Cultural Center for the opening of the Ex Theatre. They take the seats that enclose the square in which people are running in circle, people who represent the ones who can not get out. And if they eventually come out, most of them - return. On the platform of the “scene-arena”, the audience represents the fourth wall by which the liberty is denied to the prisoners (but to the prison guards as well, as we shall soon see). The audience should also represent the fact that people between the walls are imprisiond in order to protect the society whose members are those who are sitting in the audience. The basis of the show “The man without mass” is rooted in Milos K. Ilic’s postgraduate drama, a dramaturgy student at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, and in the documentary material collected during the interviews of convicts in CJ Pancevo conducted by nine actors. All the actors, except Vladimir Tesovic, are also students. Directors Ana Popovic and Maria Lipkovsky (one of the kind author team, “The man without mass” is their third in a row co-direction) at the time of writing this text, are holders of the Belgrade Faculty of Dramatic Arts Master degree, and both of them are doing their post-graduate studies aboard. The text is a poetic view of the life in prison. It represents an immense prison time concentrating on the characters of prisoners who are trying to spend their time by planning an escape, and the characters of guards who organize that time for them. If we are looking for the stylistic orientation in the history of drama, it can be said that the text is closest to Expressionism, considering the characters who have their own lyrical monologues, like Woyzeck or Hinkeman. Prisoners of course don’t have names, but nicknames, since in prison you don’t just lose the right to move and intimacy, but also the personality you had before, which here appears only in fragments, since the prisoners, to survive, must adapt to the hierarchy that in “The man without mass” is established only through violence. I would point out that through the involvement of the directors and especially of the young, inspired actors’ ensemble, these questions are deeply issued and adapted to the text. The greatest success of this show is the creation of a credible, life-like prison atmosphere with a simple scenery (Nemanja Stajkovic) - from the rough table and chairs with carved prisoners’ messages on them, and guards’ and prisoners’uniforms that give the impression that they are borrowed from the prison (costume Ivana Stankovic), to the bare stage space and brick walls of CCP and the strict metal construction, which builds a sense of close confinement within the audience. Music is made on the scene by the actors playing the simple rhythms on improvised instruments such as pots, bottles and cutlery. Except this, there is no sound that the audience doesn’t see how it’s being made. On the other hand, what’s emphasized by directors is the expressive light (design Marko Salapura and Vlada Stojanov), which, for instance, creates an oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere of solitary single cell, where in the complete dark are illuminated actors - one by one, who are kneeling only in boxers or all the prisoners at once who are writhing on the floor under a dim-lit. One of the bases of “The man without mass” is the image of the circle which em