Reviews

FROM THE PRESS

The Bacchae, directed by Lenka Udovički

Premiere: July 2018

The performance is interesting for three reasons: firstly, the director Lenka Udovički in cooperation with the dramaturge Željko Udovičić brought a new, contemporary, female interpretation of this brutal Euripides’ drama; Secondly, the public is asked whether reason and rational understanding of the world really are the most important, and thirdly, with that move, ZKM and the Ulysses Theatre have pointed towards a potential model that would prolong the life of expensive summer perfomances by moving them to the continent, which is not negligible at the time when there is less money for culture. (Nina Ožegović for Tportal, January 2019)

The result is the actors’ performance of the extremely rebellious energy, seems like a dark swarming, and immediately afterwards an individual song of gathered women’s votes. The performance ambience, however, does not remind us of the occasional gathering of street protests, but of the increased rituality of collective entry into the mystery of genuine gathering around the dark emotions. (…) This is the first directing of “Bacchae” in which they obviously have their own faces (individually presented to the audience) and a common song of rebellion.


“Antigone, 2000 years later” directed by Lenka Udovički.

Premiere: Season 15, August 2015

Maja Izetbegovic as Antigone is reaching her crescendo just as the role develops. At the beginning a little restrained, but later displaying moments of great performance and excellent character developement of Antigone, sister of all those who dare to say no in a particular historical moment.
Great Rade Serbedzija, who plays several characters, earned a big round of applause, and, although fantastic in all roles, perhaps his best one was Creon. (Vanessa Begić for Glas Istre, August 2015)

In each part of the performance, Šerbedžija retains the seriousness not seen in decades on local stages, maybe since the great tragic roles of Fabijan Šovagović.
Actress Katarina Bistrović Darvaš appears as a „double mother“ , as Creon’s wife Eurydice, but also as the paradigmatic mother of modern families from “our region”, brilliantly portraying paralysis and tragedy of women’s obedience; ( … )
“Antigone”, directed by Lenka Udovicki, hits not only the center of the tragic Sophocles play, but also the post-Yugoslav war trauma, where every house had a royal loss, as well as executioners in their neighborhood.
( … ) “Antigone” is a play with very strong performances and, so far, the most well-rounded work of director Lenka Udovicki. (Nataša Govedić for Novi list, August 2015.)

Fragmentary dramaturgy allows the mixing of space and time on a single stage, understandable at any moment of play thanks to the excellent music of Nigel Osborne and a strong stage movement of actors.
The message is clear – we are still looking for answers to the questions of difference between law and justice, the line between tyranny and anarchy and male and female understanding of the tragic events in life. (Tamara Opačak Klobučar for Večernji list, August 2015.)

The director Lenka Udovicki has shown great sensibility in connecting ancient times and Yugoslav conflict. (…) „Ulysses“  has once again shown its provocative and intriguing side, creating a performance that has the artistic force and suggests that history repeats itself. (…) Šerbedžija has the strength, the will , the perseverance, and the defiance in giving his top performance. (…) „Ulysses“ has created a performance that directly communicates Sophocles’ ideas pairing them with its 2000 years later reprise in Yugoslavia. (Jurica Kerbler for Večernje novosti, August 2015)

Sophocles’ ” Antigone” was adapted and dramatically shaped by Željka Udovičić – Pleština and directed by Lenka Udovički, combining, reshaping and editing the original ancient drama template with scenes of family tragedies, here among us, after the destruction and crimes of the recent war, followed by closing arguments of the forensic team.
The play becomes a tool that provides the ability to analyze the post-war period (both in Sophocles’ time and in our country) burdened with heritage, and fearing of what is to come. (Mladen Bićanić for Oslobođenje, August 2015)

“Antigone 2000 years after” is a myth in dialogue with reality. Lenka Udovički set the story on the fortress of the Mali Brijuni, in an almost cinematic approach. (Natasa Gvozdenović for Politika, August 2015)

The story leaves room for analogies between two periods, as well as room for discussion. (…) Blending of ancient and current times, the performance clearly shows that Sophocles’ Antigone is a contemporary piece. (Nataša Gvozdenović for Vijesti.me , August 2015)

Maja Izetbegović’s stellar performance of the main character was enjoyed not only by the audience, but also by the entire team. (Dnevni Avaz, August 2015)

The details are hiding thrills that are awakening the audience. The play “Antigone – 2000 years later” opens space for audience to feel and comprehend, and that is one of the ways to truly change consciousness. It is also one of the goals of serious theater.
The role of the choir is not commentary. The choir is the people, but the choir is also a team of forensics trying to find mass graves and identify the remains.
The people at the end condemn Antigone played purely and wholeheartedly by Maja Izetbegović. (Nataša Gvozdenović for Dani BH, September 2015)

Brijuni Antigone insists on the global genetic kinship of the entire humanity, staging the exploration of the human genome and using scientific facts to confirm the thesis that, regardless to which state administration we belong, our genetic ancestry and kinship are undoubtedly shared. Actress Maja Izetbegovic plays Sophocles’ Antigone by beating her chest, grabbing her sister by the lapels, throwing her to the floor, threatening her, shouting, pushing her away or grabbing and almost strangling her. (Nataša Govedić for Zarez, September 2015.)


The Funeral in Theresienburgh, directed by Staša Zurovac

Premiere: July 2014

For an hour, 11 minutes and 47 seconds, which is the duration of the performance, the audience didn’t blink because they were offered a compact performance in which Zurovac, in the manner of some kind of an alchemist, very courageously, but with an unbearable sense of balance, mixed different scenic expressions and genres – and produced a real gold. (…) All three actors, Drazen Čuček like Ramong, Ozren Grabaric as Mihajlo and mentioned Winter, performed their acting-singing-dance task impeccably. Even more than that. And the praise can also go to the address of the Split Ballet Ensemble, which once again, with this performance, confirmed that experiments, in this case vocal, work well. (Siniša Jović for Slobodna Dalmacija, August 2014)


Odysseus, directed by Aleksandar Popovski

Premiere: July 2012.

The cast is woven from the diverse types and characters of actors, and the title role of the Odysseus is led by the great actor from Zagreb, member of Gavella Theatre, Ozren Grabarić. Once a magnificent war hero, here he is portrayed as a lost seeker condemned to eternal wandering, and Grabaric gives him the necessary conviction with a degree of dullness and comedy. (…)Natasa Matjašec Rošker is excellent (especially because of the singing parts) in her role of the Athens of the human reverse (in love with the mortal), Jasna Duričić has performed very well in the multiple roles seamlessly transforming from one character to another. (…) Svetozar Cvetkovic and Boris Isakovic in the role of Zeus / Menelai, or Poseidon / Nestor, stood out by giving a profoundly irritating arrogance and greed, a necessary dose of humanity to otherwise uniformly coloured gods and mythical heroes. Penelope played by Anita Mancic impressively marked the emancipation, which was most evident in a marriage quarrel shortly after Odysseus returned to his home. (Zvjezdana Belić for Seecult, January 2013)


“King Lear” directed by Lenka Udovički.

In this production one is more conscious of the natural world than in any other Shakespeare production I have seen. The forest, the sky, the thunder, all play their part in the action, as do the sounds of the birds and the insects. At the end, in the darkness, nature is all we are left with. It could be the end of the world, after all human life has been extinguished. The natural order of the world has been re-established. After all the waste, after the false order of man.
The setting gives the production a tremendous boost, but one cannot sit (or walk, or stand) admiring the setting for over three hours. Something else has to engage us, and it does. It is the ensemble playing of the company. Some of the actors – Lear, the Fool, Gloucester – have been playing these same parts for years, others are new to theirs. But they all have one thing in common – a willingness to give to each other. The spark is Shakespeare, but the flame is kept alight through the performances. (Rod Wooden for Contemporary Theatre Review, April 2014)

Personally, from the view point of a spectator, I must admit that the performance has exceeded my expectations. King Lear, directed by Lenka Udovički is a real theatrical experience, the ambiance of the theatre has been used to its maximum, at locations which seemed to have been made for Shakespeare’s play. This King Lear is not a monument to the main actor nor to the research of the director – it is (…) made totally for the audience and offers a classic Shakespeare tragedy in a completely understandable, but at the same time spectacular way. (Zlatko Vidačković,Vijenac, September, 2001)