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ANNE FRANK

Historical Anti-Fairy Tale for Children and Adults
Directed by: Jelena Bogavac
Dramatized by: Milena Bogavac

The whole world knows Anne Frank’s story. Her diary, first published in 1947, was translated in seventy languages and is believed to be one of the most read books on the planet. It describes events in the life, as well as the thoughts of a Jewish girls who died in World War II. It is a moving document on the Holocaust, but also a touching, confusing story on growing up in a world turned upside-down, the world without mercy, understanding, compassion, or justice. The whole world knows the story of Anne Frank’s life, yet the question is what we learned from that story. This production of Anne Frank asks that question. This is a play for children and adults, since at its centre there is a child – wiser, smarter and more mature than most of adults. That child never had a chance to grow up… But do we have such chance? We, as a society? As a community? As the world?

DIRECTED BY: Jelena Bogavac

DRAMATIZED BY: Milena Bogavac

CAST: Vanja Pavlović, Olivera Guconić, Deana Kostić, Slobodan Petranović – Šarac and Miloš Vojnović

COSTUMES: Aleksandar Kovačević

STAGE MOVEMENT: Aleksandra Veljković

AUDIO I VIDEO: Igor Marković

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Marko Ribić

ASSISTANT PRODUCER: Vanja Vujanović

PHOTOGRAPHY: Jugoslav Radojević

GRAPHIC DESIGN: Kombinart Group

TECHNICAL MANAGER: Radivoj Kostadinović

LIGHTING MASTER: Luka Popović

SOUND MASTER: Kosta Pavlović

PROPS: Mirjana Neziri

MAKE-UP AND HAIR: Gordana Barović

WARDROBE: Danijela Dragojević

TAILORING WORKS Zlatomir Nenadović, Dragica Vujković

CARPENTRY WORKS: Borivoj Čeivanović

METALWORK: Mihailo Brezina

PAINTWORK: Rade Stanković

ELECTRICIAN: Miodrag Popović

DECORATORS: Čedomir Vučinić, Josip Ucaj, Mladen Simić, Ivan Jovanović

WE THANK Irit Halm (Anne Frank House, Amsterdam); Johannes Rüger (Berlin); Hostel „Art of Life”; the Šabac Library and Dragica Kejić (Ruma)

Anne Frank: Historical Anti-Fairy Tale for Children and Adults was made as a co-production of the Šabac City Theatre, Museum of Šabac Jews and Faculty of Contemporary Arts, as the exam work of Vanja Pavlović, student of the MA programme in acting. The premiere of the play was performed within the European Days of Jewish Culture festival, organised by the city of Šabac, Šabac National Museum and Museum of Šabac Jews.

ANNE FRANK (1929 – 1945) was born in Frankfurt am Main, as a German Jew. When the legislation that revoked German citizenship for all Jews was adopted in 1941, her family fled to Amsterdam, where Anne spent a major part of her life. During the Second World War, together with her father, mother, sister and four family friends, she was hiding in the premises of a company co-owned by her father. During that period, she kept a diary, writing about her life and thoughts. At the very end of the war, in 1944, their shelter was discovered and all its inhabitants were taken to concentration camps. A couple of months later, Anne Frank died in Bergen Belsen concentration camp. The exact date of her death remains unknown. This year (2019), we celebrate the 90th anniversary of her birth.

 

EUROPEAN DAYS OF JEWISH CULTURE is a manifestation which has been organised since 1999 in 34 European states. In 2019, the city of Šabac became one of the organisers of this Pan-European festival, to commemorate the Jewish community which left a permanent trace in the city’s history and culture, yet it does not exist anymore. The idea behind the EDJC festival in Šabac is to contribute to the development of the cultural memory concerning the community which, together with us, built this city, but also to promote respect of all diversities, which is the general basis for the City of Šabac cultural policy.

JELENA BOGAVAC (Belgrade, 1973) is a theatre director, authoress, poetess and dramaturge. She graduated theatre direction from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts. In 1999, together with Milena Bogavac and Igor Marković, she founded an independent theatre troupe Drama Mental Studio, in which she has worked until this very day. She directed more than fifty theatrical productions, awarded at festivals in the country and abroad. She authored the novel Batman over Zvezdara (Betmen nad Zvezdarom) and the poetry collection Mom, Dad, Sun, Sister and Me (Mama, tata, Sunce, sestra i ja). Since 2002, she has worked in the Bitef Theatre as a Dramaturge and the Art Manager of the Bitef Festival.

WORDS OF THE DIRECTOR

ANNE: A FAIRY TALE OF A CRACKED WORLD

Ana Frank had a cat. The cat’s name was Moortje. She was unable to take him with her to the shelter. Moortje was left alone to deceive Nazis into believing that the family had left in a hurry. During one of our first rehearsals, a cat appeared on the stage of the Šabac City Theatre. He peered out from behind of a scenery element, hissed and meowed, tiptoed the entire stage only to curl up purring in the corner of the stage with the best view of the actors. A grey, young, big-headed, lean feline. He came searching. He stayed to purr and wait.

Anne Frank had a tree, a large horse-chestnut that she observed from her shelter’s window. The chestnut went down some seventy years after Anne. It rotted and was felled on 24 August 2010. The chestnut stump sprouted fourteen saplings. They were replanted in different places all over the world. At that point, Anne would have been 81 years old. On that day we walked towards the Sava River through the Chestnut Street. Today, Anne would be ninety.

Today is 3 September. The day of the premiere. On this day, her last train took Anne to Auschwitz. The last train taking her to her death. She was scared, so she closed her eyes and dreamt. She dreamt that she was a tree. Her deep roots clung to the ground, as her tall branches grasped at the sky. She dreamt that the tree was felled. And that saplings sprouted out of its rotten root. A young tree for each year of her young life, out of each putrid pore of this decaying stub. And then she dreamt that she bloomed, leafed and emitted scent. Then she dreamt that a cat climbed onto her arm-branch. Moortje strolled back to her through his feline lives. Perked up on her arm-branch, he hissed at the Moon. He purred the scent of August, while she was taking roots.
I dream that she dreamt.

She was dreaming as she slept, her head shaved and tattooed with the camp’s brand. Caught in a typhus epidemic. Itchy and blotted. Behind the wired fence of the hell that was Bergen Belsen concentration camp on the eve of liberation. Alone, hungry and deceased. She dreamt that she was in bloom. For she was a child, and children are susceptible to dreaming.

I dream her fairy tale. Anne in a ball of glass. The glass ball that was the world to Anne. The fragile, brittle, washed-out and sharp world. Prone to breaking. A window world offering a view of the chestnut. Translucent world which we should handle with exceptional care. So that it would not shatter in our hands. So it would not cut us. The world of open windows. So as to allow the scent of chestnuts into well-aired rooms. So that a cat could jump in without you shouting: shoo, you beast!

I dream that we are good. That we are still capable of helping. That we are going to help just because we are capable. To save Anne’s life, rather than her death. Her words in the sharp world’s window case. In a glass bud. Her name resounding with our remorse. Why do we exist in the world which felled the girl, the tree and the words? We demand your compassion. A special dose of your love. A special place in the window case of the empty museum of your loves. In the wasteland of the museum of our time’s soul.

Jelena Bogavac