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|Photo courtesy of Annemone Taake
Filip and Ivana, main characters of I'm afraid that we know each other now
Life is a stage, they say. Whilst institutions and many associations are working on integrating Europe under several points of view, the European Theatre Convention trascendes geographical and language borders andbrings real life stories simultaneusly to Europe's stages. Philip Wallmeier attended one of these plays in Heidelberg, Germany for E&M and now wants to unveil its reflections on sex, life and memory making.
How can young people today live and create change when they cannot even understand how they got to where they are in the first place? This is the question around which Ivor Martinic’s most recent work, "I am afraid that we know each other now", evolves; it is being staged simultaneously in Zagreb and Heidelberg as part of the project The Art of Ageing of the European Theatre Convention (ETC).
In "I am afraid that we know each other now" the young Ivana and her ex-boyfriend Filip run into existential trouble. Not because she broke up with him; but because when she told him about her decision to end the relationship, he responded by restating what his mother once said: "You best satisfy a woman with the tongue". Ivana cannot accept this as the last words which were spoken in their relationship: "How can I tell people about how it ended?". Since Ivana cannot accept Filip's reply, she comes to see him again and again. While Ivana is looking for a way to tell the story of her life, Filip is searching for words that could describe "what really happened".
In this involving play, the spectators are shown this tension between Ivana’s search for a story that could be told and Filip’s soul searching for what really happend not merely through the actors' words but also through their bodies in motion. The young actors, who spend nearly two hours continuously on stage, run, shiver, are aroused, beat or caress each other, looking for ways to communicate that could transcend the tension between what happend and what can be said. Often their bodies speak a different language from that of their voices. The play is not, however, a meditation on the general impossibility of true communication through language but can be understood as a reflection on the feelings and lives of the young generation today in Zagreb and Heidelberg. When, for example, Filip is finding a way to give his experience an expression, the characters think about the particular city part of which their story is: Ivana and Filip discuss the meaning of the monument "The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" in Zagreb. The monument was originally built for the fallen soldiers of World War One, but the placard which recounts this history was erased by the communist regime – the consequence: many people believe that this is a tomb for the soldiers who fought the Nazi regime. As the young director Miriam Horwitz explains, the "piece questions the role of spoken language but also the idea of stories as memories and memory making".
In this Good Reads issue, E&M’s Diána Vonnák shares with you some articles that got her thinking about our continent. Follow her to discover the multiple ways descendants of victims and perpetrators deal with genocide as well as inside some bits of Bosnian literature about the human facets of the war. And make sure you read it till the end, because there you can find an interesting article analysing Maidan and its revolutionary potential, all framed in a personal way.
Diána Vonnák, managing editor
When Bosnia was at war: self-appointed humanitarians in Sarajevo
Recently I had a chance to visit Sarajevo, this incredible city still somewhat scarred by the horrors of an inhumane siege and yet full of the mundane signs of moving on: the smell of coffee, strolling tourists and lazy stray dogs. Those bloody years in the ´90s were my only childhood exposure to the fact that war could happen so close, and ever since it proved to be a returning theme, as I would assume it has for many of my generation. It came as a coincidence, then, that in the recent issue of Asymptote Magazine I came across a letter exchange between Miljenko Jergović and Semezdin Mehmedinović.
Both of them being in the forefront of Bosnian literature they try to get closer to one of the iconic interactions the Anglophone world knows about the war: Susan Sontag's visits and her solidarity with Bosnian people. Jergović recalls Sontag’s visit to his mother, in search for an ‘ordinary resident’ who could give an honest angle to her understanding of the war. Throwing away and thus wasting barely lit up cigarettes by the dozen in the middle of a war-torn city, Sontag acted as an emblem of failed self-appointed humanitarians: she was incapable of turning the war, the object of her amusement and horror, back to what it was - a challenge of empathy where stepping in requires real silence on your side and a readiness to let others’ lives creep into the place of yours.
|Photo: Matthias Ripp; Licence: CC BY 2.0
Love for all
Being in a love relationship can be at times complicated, right? Besides the ups and downs of a "regular" story, those who are in a long-distance relationship may find it way harder to overcome misunderstandings as well as to share nice moments. Broadening the topic,we wanted to go deep inside the feelings and thoughts of a young European couple currently split up into two different places, unveiling their fears, their struggles and their hopes for a future together. E&M's Veronica Pozzi tells the story of Marta and Johannes, an Italian-German couple who have grappled with national stereotypes and modern technology as part and parcel of their relationship.
"I was terribly late. It took me a while to get from my flat to the underground station and the way to get there had been quite weird, featuring a soldier from the German army who paid my bus ticket as I had run out of coins. After getting lost and adding more minutes to my already huge delay, I managed to arrive at the place. And he was there. With his blond hair, drinking a rather big beer. Looking very German indeed. Without taking my eyes off him, I started to talk to an Italian friend, who arranged the evening together, and as I was talking to her (read: very loud and with lots of gestures) I thought I must look truly Italian. And then the show began".
The memories Marta tells us are a strange but clear mixture of funny and sad bits. Her willingness to be abroad brought her to Germany, but she never thought that she was going to be so involved with that country as she is now. She was in that situation when you are not really on the look-out for a new story. But the guy she met there impressed her a lot and the dates that followed made her feel so comfortable, interested and happy that she felt she didn’t want to miss out on him. So, almost two years ago, their relationship started – more as an emotion-driven decision rather than a totally rational one. But here they are, and, in these two years, they have gone through quite a lot.
Photo: Tobias Melzer
An English classic, brimming with Eastern promise
Move over Harry and Sally, there's a far more interesting new pairing in town! E&M's Frances Jackson shares a recipe for a bold and romantic take on the classic Victoria sponge – delicately spiced with cardamom and rose water, sandwiched together with a pistachio and pomegranate cream, and just in time for Valentine's Day.
There is something about cardamom – its dominant, almost mint-like aroma; those citrusy notes, paired with an unexpected sweetness – that transports me, even in the depths of winter, to warmer climes and balmy nights. Rose water, on the other hand, is perfumed opulence, an alluring drop of summer, distilled to perfection in a technique said to have been discovered by Persian physician Avicenna in the 10th century.
Whether you're making this cake for that special someone in your life or as a treat to enjoy with friends, don't stint on the spices: the almond sponge is just a pencil outline, the cardamom and rosewater your colour pigments. The filling too should be positively studded with pistachios and pomegranate seeds, shining like gems in the ermine of the cream. Even if seduction is not on your mind, you'll find few able to withstand the temptation...