The Maladype Theatre launched its “Crossroads” project in 2011. The program’s main goal is to present artistic directions, theatres and workshops that represent new trends in cultural life, enhance new artistic initiatives, help in establishing new ways of contacts with the audience and foster ties among different countries. That way the European independent theatres are given the possibility to cooperate and establish a network that helps them in creating new meeting points for dialogue and interaction.

The Maladype Theatre has benefited a lot from its international ties: by establishing them it has the possibility to get acquainted with various theatrical troupes, traditions and institutions. We consider our important task also to present new trends, and young talents to our spectators. We invite theatres and performances that can adapt easily themselves to our location and technical conditions.


Freedom: The Most Expensive Capitalist World

On March 30 at TRIP Ship Theatre the Crossroads programme presented Freedom: The Most Expensive Capitalist World one of the most original Bitef festival productions in these 50 years. The production it has been conceived and performed by dramaturges Maja Pelevic and Olga Dimitrijevic, based on their research trip to Pyongyang. In the form of a well-controlled guided trip, the authors face and question the propaganda patterns and stereotypes of the North Korean totalitarian regime and Western neoliberal democracies, how the idea of freedom is represented in this context and how it is manipulated.

Performed by Maja Pelevic and Olga Dimitrijevic

Author: Maja Pelevic and Olga Dimitrijevic
Director by Maja Pelevic and Olga Dimitrijevic
Choreographer: Igor Koruga
Music: Anja Dordevic
Costumes: Luiljana Dragovic
Video Editing: Deana Petrovic
Technical Manager: Ljubomir Radivojević
Stage Manager: Maja Jovanović
Light Design: Dragan Đurković, Igor Milenković
Sound: Miroljub Vladić, Jugoslav Hadžić
Executive Producers: Dragana Jovović, Olivera Kecojevic, Jovana Janjić

Openning Nigth: September 28th, 2016 at BITEF Festival
Production of Bitef Teatar, Belgrade, Serbia
Lenght: 1 h, 45 min

About the production:

The production, inspired by the authors’ research trip to the world’s most isolated country – North Korea, questions the idea of freedom in the era of ever-intensifying global surveillance. The audience will have a chance to get a unique touristic tour through a country considered by the “Western World” to be the biggest bogeyman, whose existence raises the question on freedom and non-freedom in today’s society. The show brings up many other issues as well: how extensive are the limits of our thinking, conditioned by constant propaganda and the context which we come from? How relative is the notion of freedom and how determined by the socio-cultural context? Is the visible personality cult worse than the invisible cult of money? What does the last Cold War remnant, North Korea, tell us about our, “Western” world? Is having an atomic bomb and a nationwide defence concept the only way to avoid imperial dominance? Is a socialist political structure always totalitarian? The show faces the possibilities and impossibilities to talk about a country outside our cultural and political code.

About the authors:

MAJA PELEVIC graduated at the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade in 2005, and obtained her PhD at the University of Arts in Belgrade in 2012. She writes theatre plays, does theatre direction and creates author projects. Her plays have been produced in Serbia and abroad. With Milan Markovic Matthis, she produced They Live project in 2012. In 2015, she directed Thomas Bernhard’s My Prizes at the National Theatre in Belgrade. Together with Srecko Horvat, she has started the Philosophical Theatre at the National Theatre in Belgrade. Among many awards are Mihiz Award for Playwriting and Sterija Award for the Best Play.

OLGA DIMITRIJEVIC, born in 1984, has graduated in Dramaturgy at the Faculty of Drama Arts. She used to write theatre reviews for Vreme and Teatron. Produced plays: The Boarding School (Dadov, Belgrade, 2009), Workers Die Singing (Heartefact Fund, Bitef, 2001), National Play (Bora Stankovic Theatre, Vranje, 2012) and Stop to Say Hello within The Crave Flow Project (Tkh, CDU, Zagreb, 2014). Other projects include: cabaret Behind the Mirror (Rex Cultural Centre, 2012), co-editing of the book Among Us – Untold Stories of Gay and Lesbian Lives (Heartefact Fund, 2014), dramatization of a novel Red Love by Alexandra Kollontai (Bitef Theatre, 2016), temporary lecturing at the Women’s Studies Centre in Belgrade, dramaturgical work in theatre. Main awards: Heartefact Fund award for the best play, Sterija Awrad, Mihiz Award for Playwriting.

Authors’ word

When we talk about our, ex-Yugoslav, East-European context, the introduction of liberal democracy usually meant an excuse for hegemony of capitalism and the transformation of public property. The typical leitmotif used for propaganda in those processes was the question of freedom and the liberation of society. People of a certain country should open their eyes and realize that they are non-free. This deeply patronizing narrative contributes to the formation of ideological matrix according to which the non-free – and therefore insufficiently mature – peoples need to be helped by the more aware and the more developed ones. The ideal of freedom will thus be used for making imperial and neo-colonial interventions legitimate.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of socialist project and the breakup of Yugoslavia, the only island still surviving in isolation, thus constantly arousing interest and contempt in the West as the only remnant of the Cold War, is North Korea. The image of North Korean people “suffering under totalitarian oppression” is one of the most spectacular and most fantastic ones. The image of North Korea which reaches the West, the way its interiors, architecture, monuments, the government, repression and mass events are represented, absolutely equals the dystopias seen in SF movies, where all freedom is abolished. North Korea functions, thus, as a kind of unconscious western world, the dark spot on which all the gulags, torture, state supervision over individuals, etc. are projected. The projection of repression over the Other is ideal for masking one’s own repressive, non-democratic practices, such as the struggle against terrorism, the Greek crisis and the refugee crisis. Therefore, by speaking of North Korea, we also speak of America, of the EU, of Serbia.

North Korea definitely is connected to the phenomenon of personality cult which is the core of the projection of non-freedom of “non-democratic” societies. And yet, while North Korea has a visible cult of personality, in the West and elsewhere in the so-called developed world the invisible hand of market has been getting stronger for decades now, insisting on the freedom of individual as the justification for ideological hegemony of neo-liberalism. That is why it is very useful to have a clear, tangible and visible enemy – for example the North Korean cult of personality – because its shadow offers a disguise for numerous other “crimes” masked in freedom. This might sound as a poetic version of contemporary geopolitical scene but it doesn’t make it less real.