On Wednesday, April 15th, we published ten records in the time capsule from our artists at home. How they feel without a stage and how their days are passing, what they miss the most and why the theatre is alive even while the building is closed – we heard all this from the famous faces of the Croatian and Italian drama companies and the ballet of the Ivan pl. Zajc National Theatre: Olivera Baljak, Tanja Smoje, Leonora Surian Popov, Jasmin Mekić, Elena Brumini, Cristina Lukanec, Anastazija Balaž, Morgan Perez, Carlos Huerta Pardo and Maria Mataranz de las Heras.
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Olivera Baljak, National Drama Principal:
“I CLEAN UNNECESSARY THINGS FROM MY LIFE”
Life has taught me to try to solve every problem as soon as possible, either alone or with someone’s help, and some will resolve themselves if we do not bother them with our fixations and fears. Most problems tend to be solvable. However, what is happening to us now globally and which we are all facing for the first time is something that we can’t easily resolve nor pretend doesn’t exist or doesn’t affect us as long as we are healthy and closed in our own homes.
COPING WITH THE INTERNAL SELF
On the human level we are connected with all people, especially those who are impacted by the illness and the loss of their loved ones. No matter how much I want to help, I still feel powerless, and though it may sound unbelievable and even contradictory, I help the most this way – by staying at home!
I’m using this time to work on myself, even in completely ordinary household chords such as cleaning the apartment, because in that way, as Arsen would say, “I clean unnecessary things from my life.” I read, watch movies, watch domestic and foreign shows that are more accessible to us now over the internet, I listen to music… I’ve always loved to cook, and now I’m experimenting a little, which has finally motivated me to exercise. I spend quality time with my son, call loved ones, especially the elderly, starting with my mother and some people outside of Rijeka. I go for walks with my two dogs every morning, which they look forward to now since they can spend all their time with us… I am becoming more and more aware that this situation helps me cope with my internal self, which, deprived of the daily rush and stress, is finding its peace. And from that peace, I’m finding a common point with many people who are experiencing this pandemic similarly, which has led me to the realization that our universal brotherhood is the only way to overcome this problem.
Tanja Smoje, Principal Actress of CNT Ivan pl. Zajc Drama:
I FEEL THAT WE ARE AT A GREAT CIVILIZATIONAL CHANGE
For me, not much has changed in this “stay home” era. My biggest life change happened 3 years and 3 months ago and is named Fabijan. Since then, my life has mostly been a “stay home” life which makes me happy, and still, even in the wake of this pandemic, I haven’t felt that anything is missing.
Still, I tremble and wonder how life as we know it and live it will look one day, and when it will resume at all. We are forced to expand methods of communicating virtually, from birthday parties to meetings, practice…and it seems to work. Even Zajc has been able to reach you.
I feel that we are at a major civilizational turning point which at once connects us (like all disasters make us better to one another), and divides us since we each do it from our own homes. Where is the theatre in this, I ask myself with considerable fear. But I still believe that nothing can ever replace live contact and the joy of staying in the present moment. I’m excited to share that moment with you again.
Leonora Surian Popov, Principal Actress of CNT Ivan pl. Zajc:
THE THEATRE CHANGES AS THE TIMES CHANGE
The purpose of the theatre is to ask some questions, to provoke, to shock, to educate. It’s been like that across history – only the theatre can touch on certain topics through satire which could not be discussed otherwise. But in my opinion, the theatre must also be beauty, harmony, art… and I think that in the circumstances we live now, we have to offer that. Something beautiful for the soul that can uplift in moments like this, transport to an alternate world of imagination and positivity and provide the strength to go on…
Jasmin Mekić, Principal Actor of CNT Ivan pl. Zajc Drama:
THE THEATRE IS HERE, EVEN IN THE TIME OF CRISIS, TO “STRIKE” US WITH EMOTIONS
The theatre has always had a special place in every society. In this time of uncertainty, I think the theatre is inspired by leading well-designed programs of our administration. In this time of not going out, the theatre is bringing some tranquility to homes. We all strive to inspire others, and the theatre and artists do just that.
Art and theatre are here to move us, to touch us in various ways, to push us when necessary, to enrich us with new feelings or realizations when we find ourselves sinking, and to never give up on provoking us, “slapping” us with emotions, to move and stubbornly inspire us. It is because of that feeling we give others that I am happy, alive, and immensely grateful! And I will never stop!
Elena Brumini, Italian Drama Actress of CNT Ivan pl. Zajc:
IL CAMBIAMENTO È CONSTANTE
Il teatro ha molti ruoli. Dovrebbe educare, divertire, criticare e provocare. Per provocazione intendo porci domande, farci pensare e reagire. Poi dipende dalle affinità del pubblico. Nel periodo di crisi preferisco lo svago che il teatro offre. Altri magari hanno bisogno di una critica o di ispirazione e forza per andare avanti.
L’arte è il carburante dell’anima e del cervello. Purtroppo oggi il fatto viene ignorato oppure semplicemente dimenticato e siamo testimoni di una società sempre più fredda e superficiale. Il diverso non è ben accetto e c’è tanta paura di distinguersi dal “normale”.
Il bello del teatro è che il cambiamento è costante. Siamo qui per un pubblico vasto ed è nostro compito e privilegio di rispondere, per la maggior parte, alle loro esigenze.
I gusti del pubblico saranno sempre diversi. Cambiano sicuramente con le generazioni e la situazione nel paese.
Sono cresciuta in un ambiente in cui la musica è le risate erano sempre presenti. È quello che cerco quando vado in teatro ed è quello che vorrei offrire. Proprio questo tipo di repertorio il nostro teatro sta già offrendo al pubblico.
Cristina Lukanec, Ballet Principal of CNT Ivan pl. Zajc:
I DON’T KNOW WHAT KIND OF WORLD AWAITS US WHEN THIS IS OVER
I wish I had something really fantastic to say about this strange situation for all of us, but I don’t.
These days, like everyone else, I am still getting used to the idea that we will be living by these rules for some time (who knows how long?). By that I mean that it may be too early to predict what people will miss after a long time in isolation – for some that may be stores, or going to work, or even that sweet “escape from reality” that some people find when going to the theatre…I don’t know, everyone knows the best for themselves.
For now, others have important roles to play and I admire and applaud them.
Anastazija Balaž, Croatian Drama Actress at CNT Ivan pl. Zajc:
ART IN THESE MOMENTS REMINDS US OF SOMETHING GREATER AND MORE BEAUTIFUL
We go to the store, and I see wide and worried eyes behind protective masks. We all look at each other as if to say something to one another…but still we are silence…here and there some eyes smile at me… We pass by the park… That scene of the fenced park saddens me in particular… In the evening we cook delicacies for which we don’t normally have time… again we all laugh and enjoy…
I WATCH MY ACTOR COLLEAGUES IN THE “ZAJC WITH YOU” PROGRAM
I watch my colleagues as they recite poetry, tell stories for children…it sounds warm and soothing to me… in these moments, art reminds us of something greater and more beautiful… of something far away, and so close… of something intangible, yet so true and so real… of something bitter yet comforting… In the evening dark thoughts and the uncertainty of tomorrow cross my mind again… I sneak into bed with my angels… remind myself of the endless blessings around me… and fall into sleep…
Morgan Perez, Member of the CNT Ivan pl. Zajc Ballet:
WHO PRESSED PAUSE IN THE LIFE WE HAD?
This is when the internet and social media somehow make everything slightly easier. They connect us from all over the world! Dance companies are giving free online access to daily morning classes, teachers are uploading combinations of exercises/tasks to give us some challenges during the day, several companies are giving free access to their most famous repertoire. Art is everywhere on the net giving us some strength to deal with the crisis. Currently we are all forced to be more creative in order to keep our passion alive, and we are trying the best we can to help one another. And slowly, slowly you realise that everyone is going through the same frustrating feelings and you feel less alone, even if at the end you are still only you, watching your mobile phone!
THE POWER OF AUDIENCE
It is the most magical moment that every dancer is waiting for: to be on stage, lights on, the curtain opens and it’s immediate: the power of the audience is such a strong feeling, so many emotions we receive and we want to share.
But the whole world is truly suffering right now, and it forces us, nearly everyone, to press pause in the life we had. And so this day that we, Ballet HNK Ensemble, were waiting for is being postponed until further notice. I guess we are all shocked and sad by the current situation but we keep our heads up, we keep training even if it means moving all the furniture upside down!
Carlos Huerta Pardo, Member of the CNT Ivan pl. Zajc Ballet:
KEEP THE AUDIENCE IN CONSTANT CONTACT
I think the theater is doing a nice job trying to keep the audience in constant contact with them. Through the theater’s official website, the artists continue to share their art with the audience. Opera, ballet, theater—everyone, through their interpretations, tries to send a little support in these difficult times and the theater continues sharing art.
Maria Matarranz de las Heras, Member of the CNT Ivan pl. Zajc Ballet:
THIS SITUATION WILL BECOME PART OF WHO WE ARE ON STAGE
As artists, I think that we have a special sensitivity, and I am sure that everyone will reflect on their own and try to contribute with their grain of sand to this collective of which we are part. I think that same collective has a great responsibility in society at the moment.
Each of us as dancers will take this situation with us, and it will be part of who we are on stage and how we want to connect with people.
PEOPLE NEED THEATRE
Right now, theatre and the arts play the fundamental role of the voice of people, and function as the universal language of human beings. Dance is a form of expression; people can feel identified with, free themselves or find something to reflect on by going to the theater.