Dušan Jovanović about the play
This three-act play includes fragments of the memories of the end of the Second World War from the perspective of a six-year-old male child at the time.
Despite the fact that the writer of this text personally knows the “hero” of this story and his relatives very well, for understandable reasons, he cannot guarantee the authenticity of the “hero’s” testimony without reservation. And yet, although the confession of – at the time six-year-old Zoran – cannot actually be considered inviolable, uncontroversial, self-contained, subjective reflection of a bygone era, let alone an authentic historical document, his – in many ways – atypical destiny awakened in us vigorous curiosity. It got us thinking. While we were writing down parts of his memories without any additions or embellishments, we were wondering what a six-year-old boy could actually see, hear, understand and experience in years 1944 and 1945. In other words: what cognition and what kind of experience is hidden, if any, behind these seemingly simple-minded and uncomplicated pieces of observation and events, torn from the sea of oblivion?
Convinced that this question is worthy of the viewer’s attention, we placed the written fragments of memories in a probable chronological order, which we now – conditionally speaking – in epic dramatic form give the audience to ponder upon.
A word from the director
The Liberation of Skopje is a play about growing up.
Is it possible to grow up without the initiation by violence, without early cognition of The Evil?
Is it necessary to face the dark side of human nature, as early as in childhood, in order for one to comprehend the surrounding world?
What exactly is freedom?
As we are growing up, is the world shrinking or are we becoming bigger?
What is the meaning of our existence? Love? And if not? What if there is no love? What if we do not recognize it?
Are we really the children of our parents, or of our great-grandparents? Is every other generation in our country always on the sacrificial altar of the creation of the New?
Is the New Better than the Old? Is the Old Better than the New?
Is the world moving forward, backward, or in all directions at once?
Can one human life be deprived of the experience of war?
If I had at least one answer, I would not work on this play. If the answers I think I have would not be questioned again by direct, indirect, lived or dreamt experience, I would not be dealing with theater.
I owe this play to Dušan Jovanović, for the sake of that weekend at Črni vrh, those nights in the SNT Drama, those days in Belgrade and Vienna, that last meeting in Ljubljana, those exchanged letters, those laughs, climbing the cliffs, dinner at Mette, conversations about everything, even the theater. I owe it to the Niš Theater for the sake of my dad’s Fruit Day forty years ago, when I was in Niš for the first time and entered the National Theater. I owe it to myself for the sake of my twelve-year-old self while at the Sarajevo MESS I watch the first performances of The Liberation – the Ljubljana one, directed by Georgijevski, and the Skopje one, directed by Unkovski.
Cher Dušan, I hope I did not let you down.
The list of songs used in The Liberation of Skopje play and the corresponding performers:
Eyot – She Is Dreaming of a Better Day
Eyot – If I could say what I want to say
Dimitrije Buzarovski – Nocturne оp. 52
Den za den – Svadba (The Marriage Celebration)
Dragoljub Đuričić & The Drums Company – The Rhythm of Freedom
Schubert – Standchen (Serenade)