13 March, 2004 ZAREZ (newspaper)
"Damir Bartol Indos : Breakthrough to the Center"
by Agata Juniku
AJ: "Already for the larger part of your life you've occupied yourself with 'engagement' themes of anarchy, terrorism, wars...But it seems that you are at this moment, in these last few performances which originated from 'metaphysical ' motives, beginning to work in a much more political theatre'...
DBI: " Paradoxical, but true. The further I run from this, the deeper I'm encroached upon politically in reality. What I most try to touch upon is 'the first question'- and it is this that I am more socially and politically engaged in. Since the time when I first began to grapple with the question of how the first man originated, I am left out of necessity to partly deduce in engaging intentionally in the pusuit of politics outside of the theatre, which are of a civil nature-voting, for example. The rest of my activities are in deep metaphysical waters. The top priority question for me is the relationship of man and God; and I can't imagine that my priority can be other than this. What interests me is why is life so created as it is; and what is more interesting is what is supplied, in these conditions created, is the will & ability to rebel against the Creator. As for me, I place my position towards this as Artauds' in the text ' I Hate' and the contempt as a coward. In all sincereness-- honestly and out of necessity - these issues all reflect politically. I am concerned with the reality that the more metaphysical we think, and the more quality-wise and politically we think - the more this will effect our actions.
AJ: You like to say that you have 'merited your own theme'. About what exactly are you thinking of on this statement?
DBI: My themes are made worthy and merited because I have undergone them, and they are from outside the theatre; in them I have invested a good part of my life-- for example, because I decide to learn from life--to communicate and associate with others which have markedly, strong symptoms of spiritual suffering (this is what society calls mental illness). Likewise, I'm not whining on the stage from some kind of exhibitionism,but rather because I have seen a real-life man that worked in his own five bedroom apartment, on the floor of his living room, and not on a place which people have anticipated--I've endeavored to localize it-put it under controlled conditions, but I am then, in a performance, transfering this part of a life--carrying it over from a specific experience. I've created it, brought it- among other things-about; because for me it is a trial, like a doctors' recommendation- I'm assigned as a guardian to it particularly; its' value is that I'm made worthy of this kind of confidence & trust. When I'm seen on the stage, maybe at the time the impression isn't conveyed -it only depends on how high the audiences threshold of intellectual tolerance is. I will say, I love to work like this; for me, perfectly clear situations on which I base and make the performances on that are easy for me to recognize and which are about something that I mustn't use some type of acting technique for. Satisfaction for me are my memories on some happening and the consciousness from and about this-- how I reacted on them-- was my contribution to them complete or not.
AJ: Continuing on this thought, one of your meritous themes is 'The Schoolbus...' a performance of your everyday riding with children to school and back home, in which, along with you, appears 10 other people - children and adults. In the re-make of 'Rocking', on equal footing, were included still two more professional performers...since when after all these years has the anchoretic wished for company on the stage?
DBI: It is only a reflection of my momentarily social reflections and considerations, I would like to be socially acceptable, useful-- to consider that the audience and public see something which is in my assessment estimated as useful for the human community. My life off-stage, behind the scenes, leads me in this direction: my everyday accompanying that schoolbus and helping one alternative elementary-middle school, which is one among any number of the others that are neglected and unfit. It is my voluntary contribution & pluralism to and in the schools of Croatia and I think that it is terribly essential. Even though in all schools there are examples of excellent success rates and accomplishments within the colleges and school system, my experience with the school system is strikingly apalling. What bothers me the most is the politicized instruction for the children-to make a decision from a resolution between two ideologic manipulations---political and mystic-religious---I settled for, as others and their children, to enroll in the Waldorf school. If nothing else, it is closer to the questions which I deal with... With political jargon, I think that I want to begin to work in the center, and not anymore on the periphery. Or, perhaps, hold onto and retain both entities. The Unity workspace, represents a retrospective periphery; shown further is the work which is more central-with people which are otherwise usually working in theatre institutions-its given precedence because those performances are seen in those circles of people. Within this concept I tried to associate and choose the highest quality of collaborators...Vili Matula is one of these persons whom I would like to work more with.