Winter Gardens / Nourished Fruits
Venice - Berlin, 25,26 February 2009 - 8 September 2009
Teatro Piccolo Arsenale
Wednesday February 25, Thursday February 26 at 6:00 p.m.
Winter Gardens / Nourished Fruits (Serbia) [Italian premiere]
director Nikita Milivojevic
concept, text and direction Nikita Milivojevic
original music Dimitris Kamarotos
choreography Amalia Bennet
cast Danijela Ugrenovic, Jelena Angelovski, Miljan Prljeta, Mariana Arandjelovic, Vladimir Aleksic, Predrag Damjanovic
video artist Predrag Miloševic
production BITEF – Belgrade International Theatre Festival, spielzeit’europa | Berliner Festspiele, La Biennale di Venezia
within the project Enparts – European Network of Performing Arts
with the support of the Culture Program of the European Union
performance in Serbian with Italian surtitles
8 September 2009, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin
With The Powder Keg by Dejan Dukovski directed by Dimiter Gotscheff, which concluded the International Theatre Workshop, attention was focused on an area of the Mediterranean as sensitive as the Balkans. The Powder Keg, episode one – for the part regarding the theatre– of a European co-production project (ENPARTS) which in addition to the Venice Biennale involved the Bitef festival in Belgrade and the Berliner Festspiele, is now followed by Winter Gardens / Nourished Fruits, in which this critical zone is viewed once again under a magnifying glass, to tell the story of Serbia between past and future.
The play is directed by Nikita Milivojevic, born in 1961, currently the director of the Bitef, the most famous international theatre festival in the Balkans, where all the major avant-garde theatre companies in the world have performed, and since 2005 director of the Bitef Theatre which, in the wake of the festival’s success, was created twenty years later (1989).
Winter Gardens / Nourished Fruits, in the words of director Nikita Milivojevic, is dedicated to the lost generation of the Nineties. When he spoke of it for the first time in a Belgrade café with Maja Pelevic, the leading figure in new Serbian playwriting and co-author of the play, Milivojevic presented his idea of putting two generations face to face: his generation, which was born in Yugoslavia and viewed its country as a place where it “wanted” to live; the other, Maja’s generation, which viewed Serbia as a place to escape from. Those were the war years, when over 700,000 young people fled the country and Serbia became the land of Karadzic and Mladic in the world’s imagination.
The play is based on the exchanges of e-mails and letters written to Milivojevic by his friends who had left the country. “My thoughts were prompted by the stories told in these letters, says the director. I imagined the lives they led in new cities, with new friends, new neighbours, their loves, hopes and fears. Their confessions of what concerned them – from their everyday life to political considerations to simple descriptions of landscapes – and their considerations about those of us who stayed in Belgrade, appeared to me to contain more truth about our existence than I could find in all the texts I could read at the time. They were not looking for a new homeland, but for a place that could offer them a decent life. In one of these letters they asked me: ‘How is it possible that a country wastes everything it built in only 15 years?” There, Winter Gardens / Nourished Fruits is dedicated to this lost generation.”
Nikita Milivojevic (1961) is one of the greatest Serbian contemporary theatre directors. His committed performances have been influential in Serbian theatre in the Nineties and his daring new interpretations of the classics have led this theatre into the twenty-first century.
He has been awarded all the most important national prizes for best director, including Bojan Stupica, the Sterija Prize (1994, 1996, 1997, 1999); the Politika Prize at the 31st Bitef for best director; Critic’s Award from the "Scena" theatre magazine, annuals awards of the National Theatre of Belgrade, Theatre of Yugoslavian Drama, Theatre of the City of Budva and many others, in various festivals in the former Yugoslavia: Kragujevac (1995), Vrcac (1996), Novi Sad (1997), Ohrid Summer – Macedonia (2000).
His productions of Ivanov and Crime and Punishment were proclaimed the theatre events of the year in Athens, and for his Three Sisters by Chekhov at the Katja Dandulaki Theatre he won the award as the best director for the 2004/05 season. He has worked as a director in Serbia, in Sweden, in Slovenia, in Macedonia, in Turkey, the USA, Greece and elsewhere. Since 2005, Nikita Milivojevic has served as the director of Bitef – Belgrade International Theatre Festival and of the Bitef Teatar. He is a professor of the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Department of acting and directing.