Ana Stefanovic Bilic
"Odysseus from Cushland"would be a theatre play dealing with migrants’ problems cloaked in a paraphrase of the Myth about Odysseus.The play tells the story of economic migrants and refugees –who leave their homes in search of another place to live in.By its genre,the play would be a phantasmagoric tragicomedy, a kind of a„road movie“on stage, with the emphasis on adventures and temptations of the protagonist,Odysseus,who pursues happiness and learns bitter lessons of faith on his life’s journy
Vienna, Austria/ Belgrad, Serbia
What makes immigration such a complex issue is the fact that both Europe and Balkans have an outside perspective on it. The only ones who are inside, who live that phenomenon, are the migrants themselves. Those are people torn between worlds, while they don’t really belong anywhere. They connect those worlds, in this case Western Europe and the Balkans, but their only real home is that insecure bridge between those two backgrounds, the bridge they themselves personify.
The goal of this play is to depict the world of migrants empathically, to make it emotionally comprehensible for the audience, and to offer to migrants among the audience a cathartic experience of recognizing themselves in the drama. We believe that it is only through empathy and insight into feelings of others that art can make a difference; a creation of a more welcoming attitude to understanding of that which is different and a better understanding of the migrants by European audiences.
The creative team is making a play performed in several countries. Summary: Our protagonist, „Odysseus“, sets off on a long and uncertain journey, motivated by existential troubles, from his small village in the Balkans, heading to Western Europe, a mythical place of immense opportunities and money that is „just waiting to be earned“. On that journey, he finds himself in a series of unusual situations and adventures, meets a gallery of characters who are, just like him, taking that journey. The episodes of his travels would be dramaturgic equivalents of the episodes of the Odysseus’ travels. Likewise, there will be a Penelope – a girl waiting for Odysseus in their small Balkan village, a Circe – a prostitute of Russian origin with whom Odysseus falls in love on an „enchanted island“...
...and that love affair diverts him from his journey for a while,he enters the dark world of the migrants’ criminal underworld; Scylla and Charybdis would be social workers and migration officers,whose stern judgment on whether he fulfills the conditions for staying in EU, Odysseus finds impossible to avoid, no matter how hard he tries... The play is intended for theatre audiences in Europe and in the Balkans,as well as for migrants and asylees for whom it would be staged in asylum shelters.
My wish is to stage plays with multicultural creative teams. The experience with the two preceding plays showed me that artists from different countries who meet on one stage, on the same wavelength, with the diversity of their mentalities and energy but, on the other hand, with recognition of how similar we essential are, enrich the play and bring us together, not only on the rational level but also on the much deeper, substantial, spiritual and emotional one.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
Fees-payments to the artists,traveling of the troupe, costumes, stage, requisite..