25 Apr The Absence of Identity
„Face of Glass“, Bitef Theatre
The Absence of Identity
„Face of Glass“, Marija Karaklajić/Anja Suša; produced by Bitef Theatre, played in Student Cultural Centre
The play „Face of Glass“, written by Marija Karaklajić, which deals with a murder in a restaurant as seen from various points of view, and pursues a suspenseful search for the truth, can be defined as post-dramatic because of its unique and profound experimenting with the form. It is carried out by the elimination of linear narration, figuration and mimetic illusion, and by a radical exploration of time and space, which makes the text somewhat similar to the dramaturgy of Rene Pollesch, Falk Richter or Martin Crimp.
The directress Anja Suša has used the open form inventively focusing on the study of the relationship between actors and characters when it comes to the form while, when it comes to the idea, she concentrated on the problems of the loss of individual identities, general social anxiety, etc. The performance lacks fixed characters, all of them are in flux. The actors Damjan Kecojević, Dušan Murić, Jelena Ilić, Sena Đorović, and Stefan Šteref play fragments of various indistinct characters, exchanging roles between themselves (the roles of mother, son, waitress, neighbour, etc.) The absence of fixed identities on stage calls for an exciting analysis of the actor-character relation, i.e. for a deconstruction of the thesis of the traditional, Aristotelian theatre – the equivalence between actor and character. Actors’ play is mostly impersonal and mechanic; they change the tempo in an artificial manner which convincingly expresses one of the main ideas – the problematization of fragmenting and obliteration of the subject in the modern, globalized, mass-media society.
The play is set in a shopping centre restaurant, minimalistic and stylized in the performance (stage design by Igor Vasiljev), as a symbol of consumerism which functions as an attempt to negate any sense in the modern man’s everyday life. The indicative, insane and yet transient consumerism is emphasised by a large number of paper bags which are constantly checked and explored by the protagonists. Another distinctive characteristic is a sort of visual poetry created by light contrasts, especially exciting in the scenes played in a separate room with transparent walls, which bears its metaphorical meaning too.
Choreography of this performance is very important (by Dušan Murić), especially in the opening non-verbal scene, which conveys the spirit of time, the fact of painfully senseless communication which abounds with meaningless signs. Music works towards emphasising dramatic tension (composed by Vladimir Pejković) but also functions as ironic comment (at the beginning, for e.g. it is soft and idyllic, contrasting thus the dismal plot).
The performance “Face of Glass” is particularly significant in the context of Serbian production because it explores and surpasses the dominant traditional and conventional expression. It belongs to post-dramatic theatre which bravely redefines theatre language in the schizophrenic times that demand its structural changes. The form of the text/performance, fractured and unstable, carries its own meaning, reflecting the fragility and fragmentation of the identity of contemporary man, which turns him into a multiply mutilated and traumatized being.