plakat A3Scenario and directing: Nenad Čolić

Performing: Maša Jelić

Scenery and costume design: Ivana Čolić

Executive manager: Dubravka Vujinović

Poster and programme design: Ivana Čolić

Premiere: 28.04.2013. BIGZ, Belgrade

Production:                    PLAVO theatre – theatre laboratory

Festivals: Two Open Weeks of Plavo Theatre 2013 – Belgrade, Serbia; Summer in Ruma 2013 – Ruma, Serbia; Festival and symposium ‘Passing the Torch’ 2013 – Bielefeld, Germany

‘The performance is inspired by a short story by F.M. Dostoevsky ’A Gentle Creature’, in which the question of human freedom is revealed through the destiny of a miserable woman, who committed suicide by throwing herself out of a window while holding an icon in her hands. Dostoevsky read about the actual event taking place in the newspapers and from that moment on he was haunted by the question: why did a young woman need to do this? My favorite texts from letters of Marina Tsvetaeva are also used in the performance. Those letters were addressed to her female friends. A voice of an apostate and an eccentric of her time speaks out from those letters. We can recognize in them the inner life of a woman and a suffering, uncompromisingly exposed to the eyes of people. Russian songs that are connected to one period of my childhood, which I spent in Moscow, are also utilized as a part of the performance. There are also a traditional Bosnian ‘sevdah’ song, a Mexican traditional song and one of my favorite songs by Janis Joplin.’

Masa Jelic

There is only one highest idea on the Earth and that is – the idea about immortality of human soul, for all other highest ideas of life, which help humans to live, derive from that single one.’

F.M. Dostoevsky

Ema is the vessel of purification of my soul. Ema is my alter ego, my encounter with the deepest darkness inside of me and the space of freedom of my desires, of my feelings and my irrationality. Ema is the reflection of the original sin in me. Ema is the power of the one who has nothing to lose. Ema is the initiator of my responsibility. Ema is my forgiveness to myself.

Ema’ is my first solo performance. That is why it is very dear to me. ’Ema’ is the first experience created from my need to find out something more about the meaning of my life and my work in theatre. That is why it is very important to me. ’Ema’ is also the reaction of my director, who had offered me his help even before I asked for it, pointing out without hesitation to what I was missing. And that was severity towards myself. Severity as strictness.

Ema’ tells about my inner life, about my soul, ’about the most important one, the one that has demands and that is bitter’ (M. Tsvetaeva). It is the act of revealing what is invisible – the truth of my own existence, in striving towards creation of a new dimension – spiritual and timeless. It is my inner rebellion against rules of life accepted by society, against the spirit of mediocre mentality, against the feeling of numbness, against the ‘tragic inability to transform love into life, eternity into crumbs of the day’ (M. Tsvetaeva). It is my struggle with ghosts of judgment and guilt, struggle with the sensation of my own worthlessness, struggle with the fear of loneliness and rejection.

Ema’ is a kind of a confession, pervaded by my memories connected with traumatic and brutal adolescent experiences of growing up in Serbia during the nineties of the last century. It is dedicated to Ivona.

Maša Jelić