SANJA MITROVIC/STAND UP TALL PRODUCTIONS » Will You Ever Be Happy Again? (2008)

About

 

For Will You Ever Be Happy Again?  Sanja Mitrovic got the prestigious BNG Prize for the best young director 2010 (BNG Nieuwe Theatermakers Prijs) given by Theatre Instittut Nederland

Will You Ever Be Happy Again? is a docu-tale for one Serbian, one German performer and two cartoon boxes (in Serbian and German, with subtitles)

“Are we ever going to be happy again?,” the German population asked themselves at the end of the Second World War. A significant part of the Serbian population is facing the same question in the wake of the new millennium. The Germans called that moment “hour zero”, to symbolize their desire for a fresh start. But this appeared to be an illusion, because one can’t escape one’s own history; one can only hope to survive it.

Will You Ever Be Happy Again? is a piecefor one Serbian and one German performer. Developed around authentic autobiographical accounts of its performers, Will You Ever Be Happy Again? employs documentary strategies to explore how nationality influences one’s personal identity. This issue has been acutely pertinent to both Serbia and Germany, which, at different points in their national histories, have been perceived in negative terms within the international community.

Will You Ever Be Happy Again? is structured as a succession of performative situations, based, amongst others, on childhood games, primary school classes and sporting events. The performers’ personal and collective memories outline the narratives of good vs. bad, of victim vs. criminal, and how these distinctions can easily be turned upside down. The German performer relates his family memories, the period after the Second World War and the Cold War era. The Serbian performer reflects on her childhood in the 1980s, the ethnic conflicts and disintegration of Former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and the recent experience of becoming a Dutch citizen. Counter–pointing and mirroring each other’s cultural and historical backgrounds, they attempt to approach the problem of self–representation, the way one looks at the other, and the urge to see oneself through the eyes of another.

Will You Ever Be Happy Again? is poised between documentary material and its theatrical interpretation. Shifting from a straightforward address to allusion to quotation, and relying on an oblique exploitation of historical images and poetic expressions, the work swings from research to a ritual game that creates imaginary parallels between the two countries, repeating History just like History always seems to repeat itself.

Will You Ever Be Happy Again? is based on autobiographical accounts of its performers. The first version with the performer Jochen Stechmann premiered in 2008 and toured internationally. In its new iteration from 2011 it has been adapted and performed with Katja Dreyer.

The result is an intelligent, expressive and artistically unique analysis of the phenomenon of nationalism which transcends the individual experience. Theaterspektakel Festival, 2009.

Video

Video registration by: VideoMachas / Susanna Brenner & Helle Lyshoj

Credits

Concept&idea/direction: Sanja Mitrovic

Performers new version: Sanja Mitrovic, Katja Dreyer

Performers old version: Sanja Mitrovic, Jochen Stechmann

Dramaturgy: Felix Ritter

Artistic advisor: Vladimir Tupanjac

Sound design: Vladimir Rakic

Light design: Erik Gramberg

Costume design: Dejan Dosljak

Stills photography: Srdjan Veljovic

Text new version: Sanja Mitrovic, Katya Dreyer

Text old version: Sanja Mitrovic, Jochen Stechmann

Co-produced by:

Centar za kulturnu dekontaminaciju, Belgrade

Het Veem, Amsterdam

Stand Up Tall Productions, Amsterdam

Supported by:

BITEF festival Belgrade & Pact Zollverein, Essen

Performance WILL YOU EVER BE HAPPY AGAIN?  was produced as a part of  the long-term project COMMUNITY OF MEMORY realized by Center for Cultural Decontamination and supported by Erste Foundation, Ministry of Culture Republic of Serbia, Belgrade City Council – Department for Culture. German Embassy and Swiss Embassy in Belgrade.

Many thanks to: Das Arts, Amsterdam & Shady Lane Productions, Glasgow

 

Press

“With “Will You Ever Be Happy Again?” Serbian-Dutch Sanja Mitrovic produced an autobiographical show in which she combines theatre, performance, dance and visual art. The story with autobiographical elements examines how nationality effects one’s personal identity. This is touching and highly engaging, fascinating performance, presented in a beautiful, simple form.”

- From Jury Statement(pdf) BNG Nieuwe Theatermakers Prijs (New Theatre Director Prize) September 2011


“Serbian-Dutch performer, actress and an author of increasingly prominent reputation in Europe theatre circles, Sanja Mitrovic, directs an intimate and deeply personal story that concerns all of us who grew up in Former Yugoslavia, and who can still remember the country that once existed(…) The performance is structured through an inspired mix of emotions and humor, with which we often don’t know what to do(…) For the story is so truly simple and interwoven with such facility and skill, the viewer can hardly decide between laughing and crying. That is why only silence remains at the end. But luckily, Sanja Mitrovic is sufficiently skillful to offer the audience vast pleasure and joy of life through positive vibration her directorial stamp bears, which was proven at numerous festivals across Europe where she performed this fantastic play”.

- Nikola Zavisic, Selector’s statement 55. Sterijino Pozorje Festival, International selection, May/June 2010


Kako cemo djeci objasniti sta se desilo? (jpeg) Interview with Sanja Mitrovic by Mersiha Drinjakovic, BH Dani 20-11-2009 (in Bosnian)


Happy Medium (pdf) Maya van den Heuvel, Time Out, 02-02-2010 (in English)


Umetnost nije dekoracija  (link) Interview with Sanja Mitrovic by Tanja Matic, e-novine 22-06-2009 (in Serbian)


Schwarz- weise Kinderwelt (jpeg) von Annette Strohm, Leipziger Volkszeitung 6-11-2009 (in German)


Sretna porodica ili polet navijackih pesama a (pdf) Ana Ikovic, Oslobodjenje, 25-10-2009 (in Bosnian)


Telemaco na Jugoslavia (pdf), **** Publico, 23-05-2011 (in Portugese) 


Envances et revolution s (pdf), Les Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace, 07-06-2009 (in French)


Aktualno gledalisce, da umetnost ne bole dekoracija (pdf), Delo, 30-08-2010 (in Slovenian)


Will You Ever Be Happy Again? par Sanja Mitrovic (pdf), Diversions Magazine, 05-2012 (in French)



Playlist (archived)

For upcoming performances, check the calendar


2011


Portugal Tour – New version with the new performer, Katja Dreyer!
9-5-2011 Guimarães (PT)
Oddiseia: TEATRO DO MUNDO Festival


Portugal Tour – New version with the new performer, Katja Dreyer!
13,14-5-2010 Porto (PT)
Oddiseia: TEATRO DO MUNDO Festival, Teatro Nacional Sao Joao/Teatro Carlos Alberto


26-5-2010 Utrecht (NL)
Huis aan de Werf Festival


2010


22-1-2010 Maastricht (NL)
Huis van Bourgondie


29,30-1-2010 Corsica (FR)
Theatre Alibi


10,11,12-2-2010 Utrecht (NL)
Feb – Theater Kikker


26-2-2010 Amsterdam (NL)
hetveem theatre


19,20-2010 Brussels (BE)
Festival de Verwarring, Beursschouwburg


April 2010Blind Date Tour – Serie voor Nieuwe Theatermakers 



6-4-2010 Groningen (NL)
Kruithuis


7-4-2010 Arnhem (NL)
Schouwburg


8-4-2010 Amersfoort (NL)
Lieve Vrouw


10-4-2010 Den Haag (NL)
Zeebelt


12-4-2010 Utrecht (NL)
Schouwburg


14-4-2010 Almere (NL)
Schouwburg


19-4-2010 Amsterdam (NL)
Bellevue


20-4-2010 Deventer (NL)
Bouwkunde


21-4-2010 Leeuwarden (NL)
Harmonie


23-4-2010 Rotterdam (NL)
Walhalla


27-4-2010 Alkmaar (NL)
de Vest


28-4-2010 Leiden (NL)
Lak Theater


8-5-2010 Tilburg (NL)
NWE Vorst


Austrian Premiere
26-5-2010 Vienna (AT)
Wiener Festwochen


27-5-2010 Vienna (AT)
Wiener Festwochen


29-5-2010 Novi Sad (SR)
Sterijino Pozorje


29-8-2010 Ljubljana (SL)
Festival Mladi Levi


4-9-2010 Idar-Oberstein (DE)
Idar-Oberstein Festival


20-10-2010 Istanbul (TR)
I-DANS Festival


22-10-2010 Zagreb (CRO)
Festival Perforacije


13,16-12-2010 Lyon (FR)
Théâtre Les Ateliers


17,18-12-2010 Reims (FR)
Reims scenes d’Europe festival


2009


4,5,6,7-6-2009 Strasbourg (FR)
Festival Premieres


25-6-2009 Belgrade (SR)
Center for Cultural Decontamination


27-6-2009 Presevo (SR)
Cultural Center


22-8-2009 Biddinghuizen (NL)
Festival Lowlands


23-8-2009 Zurich (S)
Theaterspektakel Festival


22-10-2009 Sarajevo, (BH)
(SARTR) Mess Festival


German Premiere
4-11-2009 Leipzig (DE)
Euro-scene Festival


5-11-2009 Leipzig (DE)
Euro-scene Festival (Schaubühne Lindenfels)


17,18-11-2009 – Montpellier (FR)
Théâtre de la Vignette


20,21-11-2009 Rennes, (FR)
Mettre en scène festival, (CCRNB)


2008


Premiere
26,27-9-2008 Belgrade (SR)
Festival Bitef


29,30-9-2008 Belgrade (SR)
Center for Cultural Decontamination


Netherlands Premiere
23-10-2008 Amsterdam (NL)
hetveem theatre


24,25,26-10-2008 Amsterdam (NL)
hetveem theatre


6-11-2008 Tilburg (NL)
Kristallnachtremembrance, De NWE Vorst