Anja Suša | Maja and Me and Maja
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About This Project

Milan Marković (based on the book by Sreten Ugričić)


Dramaturgy: Saša Božić
Set Design : Zorana Petrov
Costume Design: Maja Mirković
Music: Igor Gostuški
Choreography: Ksenija Zec
Photo: Sonja Žugić
Production: Bitef Theatre and De Facto, Belgrade, Serbia, June, 2012


The project about Maya explores the post-Yugoslavian heritage and the possibility of continuation of personal memory despite the discontinuity of the social and political ambient. The most painful topoi of personal memory are problematized in the context of collective memory and contemporary reality.
The project is inspired by the novel written by the Serbian author Sreten Ugričić, the original text by Milan Marković, as well as by the series of books for children by the Belgian authors Marcel Marlier and Gilbert Delahaye, illustrated by Casterman. The original name of the main protagonist was Martine, and the first edition of the picture-book: Martine à la ferme (Martine on the Farm) was published in 1954. The first edition was followed by more than 50 books which have been translated into numerous world languages, and the main protagonist had different names (Martinka, Emma, Debbie etc). Two video games are dedicated to Maya, and have been developed based on the content of the first and the eighth book.
Yugoslavian version of the character was Maya (Maja) and this picture-book had considerable influence on many generations which grew up in former Yugoslavia. Ugričić’s book, written in 1993, focuses on the falling apart of Yugoslavia and the political changes in Europe, using the character of Maya and the specific atmosphere as a metaphor for a fairy-tale-like happy childhood which is coming to an end in the most brutal way possible. The performance applies a similar procedure, but its focus is on contemporary time. In this way Maya becomes an iconic figure which represents a happy past in the local and global context. The fact that Maya in the picture-book was from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, was equally interesting to the authors of the performance as her local resonance, from both the perspective of contemporary Europe and the perspective of the contemporary region of former Yugoslavia.
In contrast to the size of the production endeavour, the concept of the performance itself is of a paradoxically intimistic nature and therefore avoids repetition or layering irony onto well known slogans. Maya and I and Maya is a project that discusses/decomposes the crisis of intimistic consciousness and its ideological molding. Following in the footsteps of the widely known picture-books about Maya, the authors are establishing modes of searching for intimism of memories, their porosity and the need to connect intimate stories into systems of theatrical sharing of the moment and definition of community.