A new play by the playwright and versatile theatre maker Nebojša Pop-Tasić, commissioned by the SNT Drama, is centred on a paradigmatic moment of birth. Wake (2018) is a story of a forbidden family intimacy, of the stories untold to the offspring, because they are too harsh or too contestable in terms of ideology and history. It tells a family history incongruous with the official, political and ideological history. The stories that are hard to tell. The stories that are hard to listen to. And sometimes the tories that are hard to believe sometimes.
As a simultaneous reader and the future director of Nebojša Pop-Tasić’s play-in-progress, I find Wake an invitation to the world of the dead. But not all dead people in general, but an invitation to the life of our significant departed who make us what we are.
In a seemingly innocent way Pop-Tasić slightly opens the back door, leading, reversing … into the endless, mysterious, untold stories from the very roots of a family tree, the stories of our deceased that we put together drop by drop into our self-realisation, just as the audience puts together an unfolding theatre show. The stories of our significant deceased touch upon the life of every single one of us in different life periods, telling us »who we are«, whereby constantly changing the identity of us, the living.
As I think about how to direct Nebojša’s play, I wonder about my own deceased. Who are my significant deceased? Who of them are important to me? Who are the deceased who make me ̶ me? Such as I am. Such as I see myself, feel myself – such as I live.
And how do I see the production?
As a concert for actors’ voices and props with musical scores.
As a silence, more evocative than words.
As a whisper, louder than a shout.
As an every-day story, with an epic hiding between the lines.