CHILDREN PLAY ‘ROMEO AND JULIET’// 10. 1994. • OLIVERA KOSTIC// ACTRESS
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
CHILDREN PLAY ‘ROMEO AND JULIET’
‘In October ’94 we had to great pleasure of performing Romeo and Juliet that hadn’t been produced for 56 years - with children. Just imagine children, let’s say a Romeo of 11 and a Juliet of 10 years old. We worked on it for two years. We rehearsed in my room. Somewhere in the middle of ’93 I couldn’t bear to see children playing in the streets where shells were falling, but you can’t keep kids indoors. So I got them to come to girls boys and me from 5 - 12. During that time they learned all kinds of things. They went into it with such enthusiasm, intelligence, maturity, responsibility and joy in acting. We acted all sorts of plays and ended up with Shakespeare. I thought that if children can played Beethoven and Mozart then they can act Shakespeare and Moliere. The Opening was in the Youth Theatre and there was an audience of about 700 children and the theatre can take 250. Half of them were on the stage, in the corridors and the foyer.’
• U.S. Secretary of Defense, William Perry, expects NATO to take action. Disagreements between NATO, the United States and the UN on how to punish the Serbs. NATO asks that the UN to determine adequate provocation for attacks. NATO strikes are an important part of international pressure.
• Owen and Stoltenberg say that the Serbian border is closed and that the sanctions against Yugoslavia should be lifted.
• Phantom negotiations over the airport. The Bosnian Serbs claim that they will not allow the use of the airport if UNPROFOR does not guarantee that in the case of a UN withdrawal the airport will be handed over to the Serbs. Presidency member Ejup Ganic: "In 1992, the legitimate BiH goverment signed an agreement surrendering the airport to UN troops. This is the only legal agreement. "
• The Bosnian Serbs set up a missile system near Bihac.
• While the Belgrade and Podgorica airports are open in reward for cooperation, Tuzla and Sarajevo airports are closed. Nothing enters the town, and the Serbs do not give consent for the passage of humanitarian convoys. Natural gas pressure is decreasing.
• NATO claims that the suppression of Sarajevo is sufficient reason for NATO air strikes. They request permission from UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to launch strikes.
• Willy Claes becomes the new Secretary General of NATO.
• With the "Sow of Death" (M-84 machine gun) the Bosnian Serb form a stronghold in the hills from which they attack a tram. The driver is killed, 12 people are wounded. UN soldiers hid behind containers and APCs. Tram traffic is suspended. Akashi is shocked by the incident: "It is a clear violation of the agreement on the termination of sniper fire."
• The airport is closed because several aircraft are hit, as pilots discover upon landing.
• Promotion of the new BH dinar.
• Road brigands on Bosnian roads. Serbs attack and abduct UNHCR convoys.
• TV School for survival gives 2500 advice on the topic "Let's plant on every bit of our land!"
• The ARBiH is required to withdraw from the demilitarized zone on Igman. They request that the UN protect Igman road when they withdraw.
• In California a “sniper lifeguard” is invented as protection against snipers after one of its inventors watches a Serb on television boast of having killed 300 civilians through hilltop sniper fire.
• The film "Bosnia" by French philosopher Bernard Henri Lévy screened.
• The National Theatre has its premiere performance of "Romeo and Juliet" for children. Director - Olja Kostic.
• The Fifth Corps of ABiH is advancing.
• The Institute for Strategic Research in London issues an analysis of the situation in BiH: "The Serbs are slowly losing the military supremacy that they had at the beginning of the war."
• There is no oil in the city. The minimum amount reaches the city, and goes toward UN needs.
• The City government expects that UN troops will again ride the tram as protection, as well as UN APCs to follow trams Marin Dvor to Dolac Malta. The City government again requests anti-sniper teams
• François Léotard, French Defense Minister: "Our troops will be withdrawn from Bosnia if the arms embargo is lifted for Bosnia."
• The BBC shows video footage of Russian writer Eduard Limonov in 1992 shooting at Sarajevo from its surrounding hills.
• Progress in cooperation between NATO and UN. They agree on the prompt use of strikes and the choice of multiple targets without warning.
• Igman road is unprotected, as Bosnian Serbs fire on it.
• Liberated territory of BiH expands.
• By decision of the Pope, Vinko Puljic, head of the Catholic Church in BiH, will become a cardinal.
“Kamerni teatar 55” is located in a shelled building in the main street, Marshal Tito 55. The auditorium is one of the safest places in the city. Every day at 1 p.m. (the time is determined by the difficulty of moving about in the light-less city at night) there is a performance, a presentation of a new bank, newspaper, or a commemoration of some significant event... Sometimes there are cocktail-parties where the humanitarian aid is served. Hair is the most popular hit.
Sarajevo is a unique city on the planet. It is the site where our civilization has been dismantled in the course of intentional violence.
But Sarajevo is also the symbol of civil defense, the site where violence has been fought back with tolerance, fascism with art and culture, destruction with rebuilding, death with humour, the outburst of rural culture with the one that's urban terror with stubborn maintaining of normal city lifestyle.
Sarajevo has been deprived of all the civil, existential and social rights. It has been deprived of the right to live. Everything that makes normal urban living has been taken away from Sarajevo and its citizens, everything that could have been taken away has been taken away, all except for the right to survive by maintaining the right to culture.
But among all that destruction and dying, kids are being born, birthdays celebrated, weddings carried out. In the city surrounded by the deadly circle of primitivism the exhibitions are being opened, movies made, festivals organized, theatre plays and musicals performed.
Sarajevo lives the post-cataclysm. It is the picture of civilization emerging out of cataclysm, making something out of nothing, giving messages for the future.
Not because the future is necessarily a future of wars and disasters, but because humans are growing older and being born into a world which is ever less secure.
All that has been left under the ruins of Sarajevo, all that has survived the shelling of our civilization is the spirit of the cultural survival. The reconstruction of that spirit, the spirit of Sarajevo must start – now. Otherwise – Sarajevo will become the graveyard of the principles of multiethnicity and human rights.