Oct 11 / 8 pm / Princely Serbian Theatre

Production:  Virovitica Theatre / Croatia

Duration: 90 min

Photography: Saša Pjanić
Crimes and punishments of Špišić's Alabama
The play you are reading about begins with a musical paraphrase of the Alabama Song by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, subsequently popularized as covers by the Doors and David Bowie. Apart from the obvious references to Brecht's politically and socially engaged understanding of theatre and anti-authoritative rock subculture, Alabama Song finds its link with our staging of Špišić's play in another detail. The same whiskey that Jim Morrison invoked from the stage in the aforementioned song during the hippie movement is also present in our performance, in the form of a box of American Jack Daniels, where the mother of the late mass murderer Goran keeps her son's ashes.
Goran's appearance on stage unites and condenses a series of theatrical paradoxes, starting with the state between life and death in which the character finds himself. A walking corpse and restless specter in search of redemption, Goran carries the burden of the life (lessness) of a theatrical character as such. In this case, his existence is stipulated by the imagination and reminiscences of his mother, who is thus at the same time, his author in a very literal, but also metaphorical and metatextual sense of the word. Špišić's anti-hero, who on one occasion describes himself as a "fragile anarchist", in the dramaturgical sense carries the burden of a mediator between the worlds and levels of the drama's fiction: past and present, America and Croatia, realistic and surreal, and even, in a very subtle key, the stage and the auditorium. Active and passive at the same time, trapped like a bizarre genie in a bottle (or, in this case, in a whiskey box), Goran changes his status from a projection of his own mother to a mischievous trickster and commentator on the stage happenings. Therefore, his appearance transposes Alabama outside the space of "ordinary" social drama, especially if we take into account that the tragedy of transition in this text does not function only on a social level, but also on a spiritual level, being embodied in Goran's incessant "transgressions" – from the reminiscence of the crime to the repeated reliving of guilt, and in his cathartic, almost anciently intoned final transformation, during which the prevailing principle of revenge is replaced by forgiveness.
We should not forget that Alabama is, at its core, a drama about the violence of a large state against small states - a drama about class violence that is brutally implemented and circulated on the macro and micro levels of the neoliberal capitalist social structure. The tragedy of Špišić's Croatian-American Raskolnikov and his unfortunate family clearly shows the pain of multiple spiritual trespasses and physical loss of the "prodigal son", but it also demonstrates the impossibility of concrete political action by Goran as a powerless subject, a mere cog in the machine. Responding with violence to his role of a victim, he only perpetuates the destructive cycle of a system against which he does not find adequate means. Not even the redeeming motherly love offers a final solution here - namely, Alabama is very much a drama about Ruža, Goran's mother, whose possessiveness and symbiotic bond with her son had its dark side long before his terrorist attack and death.
Ultimately, despite the sound and the fury, Alabama is a drama about a social class that, in somewhat patronizing fits of sympathy, is often colloquially called "the little people." Špišić depicts the everyday life of the Burić family and the occasional passers-by in their lives, almost all of them the little people who "want to cross the line, but dare not”, with warm colors that occasionally remind of scenes from the work of a filmmaker from the Italian neorealism. Workers' angst of Alabama focuses the audience's attention on them, their being torn between living in their own country and living in immigration, and on the necessity of strengthening their visibility in the public space as well as insisting on changing their social position. Namely, with a bittersweet happy end or without it, Špišić's drama clearly points to the fact that the likes of Goran Burić are never created in a vacuum.

Dora Golub

Marina Mađarević o Alabami Kazališta Virovitica: Gotovo je, utjeho moja izmučena
autor: Marina Mađarević
izvor: virovitica.net
Od sna do pepela
autor: Olga Vujović
izvor: kritikaz.com  

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