Sarajevo is in thaw. It's noisy as the snow frees itself from the rooftops and crashes down onto the pavements. The Milijacka river gurgles in full flow and has turned red bringing down mud and minerals from the surrounding hills. Through the drains, the many springs and tributaries that run underneath the city can be heard and the green line of Spring is slowly but surely creeping up the Treskavica Mountain dominating the town to the South. The year is on the move and our time here is coming to a close.
We took it easy today, pottered about and enjoyed the cafe culture that helps make this a very special place.
In the evening we went to see an exciting and expressionistic version of The House of Bernarda Alba at the Sarajevo Theatre of War (SARTR) performed by the impressive SLG company from Slovenia.
The space itself has a noble history of resistance and during the siege managed to cobble together enough resources, artists and audience to put on over 2000 performances. Its slogan 'Theatre against Death.'
Tonight's production seemed to fit perfectly with the chaos and surreal nature of war. Unlike so many British productions of Lorca, which treat the writer as a sacrosanct naturalist, the company found a hugely impassioned physicality to unleash the repressed desires of Bernarda's five daughters.
With every hurt magnified, every relationship deteriorating, the stage was very quickly strewn with physical debris - clothes, liquids, broken things. With the civilised diplomacy of trying to live through seven years of mourning exposed and shredded in free flowing visual metaphors, the survivors are left to pick their way through the fragments and try and connect them back together again.
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.