Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Special Issue

Haunted Stages, Haunted Countries – How Theatre Remembers an Interrupted Performance

  • Senad Halilbašić
On 31 May 1990 the National Theatre of Zenica was staging its performance on the Serbian national hero Sveti Sava on the stage of Belgrade’s Yugoslav Drama Theatre. Following controversial protests against the fact that a non-Serbian theatre dares to touch the divine topic of Sveti Sava and portray him as a human being full of flaws, the actors were met with rigorous interruptions while attempting to act on the stage in Belgrade. A nationalist group interrupted the performance, calling it blasphemy and threatening the theatre artists. 25 years later the National Theatre of Zenica staged the production Sveto S. or how the production Sveti Sava was ‘archived’, which dealt with the memory of the actors of that controversial, pre-war performance. This paper will discuss the production Sveto S. and raise the question, in which way it remembers the referential work past in relation to the Yugoslav Wars, its conditions and consequences.