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News 12 Mar 14

Play About Sarajevo Assassins Opens in Belgrade

The director of “Mali mi je ovaj grob” ("This Grave is Too Shallow for Me"), which soon premieres in Belgrade, says the play aims to apply some of the lessons of past events at the outset of World War 1 to modern times.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN
Belgrade
A scene from the play | Photo by Nemanja Cabric

The much-awaited premiere of the play by Serbian dramatist Biljana Srbljanovic will take place on March 12 in Belgrade's Bitef Theatre.

Director Dino Mustafic, who is still rehearsing his actors for the big day, invited journalists to take a peek at several scenes from the show, which has already sold out for every performance from March 12 to March 15.

Mustafic told BIRN that the play focuses on the personal and emotional events of a great historical turning point.

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb member of the Mlada Bosna [Young Bosnia] organization, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife, the Archduchess Sophie, starting a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I.

Director Dino Mustafic | Photo by Nemanja Cabric

“Both author of the play and we ourselves are interested in one world view that members of Mlada Bosna organization believed in - a world of freedom - which, from today’s perspective, looks like utopian,” he said.

“Behind great ideas, whatever noble and sublime, there can always exist another force that takes use of it,” he said, referring to the way that the underground pan-Serbian nationalist organisation the Black Hand “used the ideas of Mlada Bosna to achieve their own plans for a Greater Serbia.

“The show presents a modern concept of how we can define today’s world by remembering the past,” he said, noting that the surname of Gavrilo Princip translates into English as “Principle”.

“Principles have become a forgotten value in the Balkans,” he concluded.

Actor Svetozar Cvetkovic | Photo by Nemanja Cabric

Svetozar Cvetkovic, who plays the role of Dragutin Dimitrijevic "Apis", the leader of the Black Hand, which used Mlada Bosna for its own goals, says his character is a “force that constantly repeats itself in new social in political circumstances.

“I don’t conceive 'Apis' as an historical character that actually lived, but as an eternal character that exists in every age, constantly conducting some important business covered in a veil of secrecy,” Cvetkovic told BIRN.

The play by Srbljanovic comes to life with a selection of actors drawn from across the region: Milan Maric, Svetozar Cvetkovic, Marko Janketic, Ermin Bravo and Amila Terzimehic.

The play is a co-production of the Hartefakt Fund and Bitef Theatre from Belgrade, the Ulysses theatre of Brioni, Croatia, and the Kamerni teatar 55 theatre from Sarajevo.

After the Belgrade premiere, the play will go on a Balkan tour and be performed in Sarajevo, Brioni and Zagreb.

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