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  • Family Stories: Belgrade **Originally titled Porodicne Price
  • Biljana Srbljanovic (bio)
    Translated by Rebecca Ann Rugg* (bio)

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Figure 1.

Branka Selic, Goran Susljik, and Sergej Trifunovic at Atelje 212, Belgrade, 1998. Photo: Center for Theater Documentation, Sterijino Pozorje, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.


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Figure 2.

Isidora Minic at Atelje 212. Photo: Center for Theater Documentation.


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Figure 3.

Branka Selic, Goran Susljik, and Sergej Trifunovic at Atelje 212. Photo: Center for Theater Documentation.


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Figure 4.

Catrin Striebeck and Michael Weber at Hamburg’s Deutsches Schauspielhaus, 1998. Photo: Matthias Horn.


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Figure 5.

Michael Weber, Andreas Grothgar, and Catrin Striebeck at Hamburg’s Deutsches Schauspielhaus. Photo: Matthias Horn.


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Figure 6.

Karin Pfammatter, Michael Weber, and Catrin Striebeck at Hamburg’s Deutsches Schauspielhaus. Photo: Matthias Horn.


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Figure 7.

Andreas Grothgar, Michael Weber, and Catrin Striebeck at Hamburg’s Deutsches Schauspielhaus. Photo: Matthias Horn.


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Figure 8.

Catrin Striebeck, Michael Weber, and Karin Pfammatter at Hamburg’s Deutsches Schauspielhaus. Photo: Matthias Horn.

Characters

NADEZDA eleven; a child with tics

VOJIN twelve; the father; Milena’s brother

MILENA eleven; the mother; Vojin’s sister

ANDRIJA ten; the son; when required, also the daughter

All the characters in this play are children. But they age or grow younger as required and also occasionally change sex. No one should wonder at this. The actors, on the other hand, are not children. They are adults in the roles of children, who, in turn, play at being adults. No one should wonder at this either. There are plenty of other things for people to wonder about. [End Page 7]

I

A playground in the suburban projects of Belgrade. Run-down architecture from the time of socialist realism, pitted asphalt, a demolished basketball court, neglected plots of sparse grass between two housing blocks. Meaningless graffiti cover the facade.

A dumpster, old junk, and all kinds of household waste indicate the general situation of the middle class in the post-communist era. They do not signify that the characters of this play are poor in terms of either their personalities or daily lives. They are citizens of a ruined state.

In the middle, a sandbox with dirty, rough sand. A parked trailer dominates the scene.

NADEZDA, an eleven-year-old girl with kneesocks, patent leather shoes, and a cheap little cotton dress, comes running onstage. NADEZDA is a child with a slew of recurring tics, a whole chain of them, which clench her face and deform her body. NADEZDA is agitated, deeply disturbed; reeling, she sits in the sand and shakes. She tries to speak, but nothing comes out; she trembles in bewilderment; she is crazed and confused. Drool runs down her chin. Her eyes blink uncontrollably, alternating sides, and at regular intervals her upper lip pulls to the left. Her nose is caught in a permanent sneer, her arms twist, and her belly trembles. Her appearance inspires disgust, repugnance, and fury. NADEZDA sits mute and unmoving as long as her twitching body allows. She sits silent for a long time. Abruptly, the outer wall of the trailer begins to rise. A tiny living space is revealed, reminiscent of the camping cabins on the coast of the Adriatic in times gone by, but also of the “forts” children build when they play house. NADEZDA quickly hides behind the dumpster and watches. A mishmash of household paraphernalia is patched together inside the trailer, just realistic enough to appear functional. On one side, a kitchen table, a countertop, Mama and Papa’s room; on the other, the child’s room. The “family” prepares to eat lunch.

VOJIN, a twelve-year-old boy, conspicuously costumed as the “family father,” reads the newspaper in front of an empty plate. He wears flannel pants that are much too big for him, suspenders, and a once white, now dingy shirt with a brand name inscribed on the breast pocket. Around the neck, a loosened tie.

MILENA...

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-196X
Print ISSN
0161-0775
Pages
pp. 7-47
Launched on MUSE
2000-03-01
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived 2005
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