Montenegrin National Theatre enters its eighth decade with premiere of 'The Visit'

Montenegrin National Theatre

With the première of the play "The Visit", the Montenegrin National Theatre enters its eighth decade.

The Day of the Montenegrin National Theatre was marked on November 1 with the annual awarding of prizes and awards, a festive evening program, as well as the première of the play "The Visit" by the reference European director Aleksandar Morfov. The first première in the eighth decade of the MNT's existence was met with excellent reactions from the audience, who congratulated the ensemble and the creative team with an applause that lasted several minutes.

The festive program began with the performance of the national anthem of Montenegro interpreted by the opera singer Sara Vujošević-Jovanović, followed by an address by Ilija Subotić, director of the Montenegrin National Theatre and Milena Mijović-Durutović, general director of the Directorate for Cultural and Artistic Creativity of the Ministry of Culture and Media.

MNT’s director said that the founding of the Montenegrin National Theatre, seven decades ago, had a crucial role in establishing the institutional framework in the Montenegrin culture, but also in the creation of a cultural policy in which the theatre is positioned in accordance with its civilizing mission and enlightening role.

“The Montenegrin National Theatre, with its decades-long achievements, in our cultural and historical context, being an institution with a specific influence on the socio-cultural state of our society, has a greater significance than just being a theatre. Such a role is characteristic of theatre art and it should certainly be primary and recognizable in the operation of the national theatre in the coming period through the conception of an aesthetically and genre-wise diverse and balanced repertoire with a high artistic scope, i.e., through staging dramatic texts that belong to the dramaturgical canon, but also texts that initiate contemporary topics,” Subotić pointed out.

Mrs Milena Mijović-Durutović, Director General of the Directorate for Cultural and Artistic Creativity, stressed that through the staging of significant works and different directorial poetics, our national theatre, throughout history, has made an immeasurable contribution to intellectual awakening, it was there to ask questions, to make us aware and purify us, which is one of the main tasks and missions of theatre art.

The ceremony was attended by the President of Montenegro, Mr Jakov Milatović, former President of Montenegro, Mr Filip Vujanović, current and former Ministers of Culture and Media, Ms Tamara Vujović and Ms Maša Vlaović, Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Montenegro Brigadier General Zoran Lazarević, representatives of state bodies, national and municipal institutions of culture, diplomatic corps, distinguished artists and creators from Montenegro and the region, dignitaries from public life, as well as a large number of media.

The ceremony continued with the premiere performance of the play "The Visit", based on the drama "The Visit of the Old Lady" by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, directed by the renowned European director Alexander Morfov.

The roles are played by: Varja Đukić, Mirko Vlahović, Slobodan Marunović, Aleksandar Radulović, Slavko Kalezić, Nikola Perišić, Jadranka Mamić, Sejfo Seferović, Jelena Nenezić, Julija Milačić Petrović Njegoš, Jovan Dabović, Stevan Radusinović, Sanja Vujisić, Jelena Šestović, Radmila Božović. The following students of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts Cetinje, from the class of Associate Professor Dubravka Drakić, also play roles in this play: Matija Memedović, Anđela Marunović, Jovana Brnović, Itana Dragojević, Mina Mićović, Miloš Kašćelan and Milo Perović.

MNT artistic director Mrs Vesna Vujošević Labović said that "Morfov skilfully relied on the Dürrenmatt’s world, which is grotesquely distorted, and in this way tells a timeless story, with current problems that distress us all, examines all the virtues and weaknesses of an ordinary man;
he furthermore establishes the relationship between the group and the individual, and at the very centre is the power of money".

The dramatist of this play, Mr Stefan Bošković, said that the main issue that is analysed through the idea is the issue of paying for justice. “It's a very disturbing idea. The play deals with a serious exploration of the dark side of humanity and the belief that economics determine morality," Bošković concluded.

The main roles were entrusted to the drama icons of the National Theatre, Ms Varja Đukić and Mr Mirko Vlahović. MNT icon Varja Đukić plays the main role – Claire Zachanassian.

MNT icon Varja Đukić said that Dürrenmatt's play was much broader in its original form and that Morfov did a very good job of adapting the play.
“This is a story that actually poses a question that is very close to the legacy of civilization, but we often separate it – the question of morality and the position of a person who has or does not have money. What I, as an actress, have to defend is amorality that is constant, it is a question of society – to what extent it is aware of its temptations and its duration, how resistant it is to succumbing to everyday temptations and how much conscience a society has – individually and collectively," said Đukić.
MNT drama icon Mirko Vlahović said that this is a contemporary play, a contemporary text, because even today we can see the same contents in our country.

“There is a sentence in the play that states that our poverty is terrible and our temptations are huge. This can also be put into the contemporary framework. The name of Alexander Morfov is very significant at the European theatre level. He is one of the greatest directors today and working with him was very special. We have a great play and I invite everyone to watch it," said Vlahović, who was also entrusted with the main role of Alfred Miller.

Actors Slavko Kalezić, Radmila Božović and Julija Milačić Petrović Njegoš shared positive impressions about the work process, the importance of cooperation with director Morfov and expressed high expectations for the new première, which contributes to the importance and status of the national theatre with its quality in all segments.

Student Jovana Brnović expressed her gratitude for her involvement at the Montenegrin National Theatre and the opportunity to share the stage of the National Theatre with the icons of the MNT and other colleagues.
The creative team of the play consists of: Stefan Bošković, dramatist, Nikola Toromonov, set designer and costume designer, Nina Perović, singing instructor, Ivanka Vana Prelević, set designer assistant, Lina Leković and Gordana Bulatović, costume designer assistants, Jelena Šušanj, proofreader, Dušanka Belada, director's assistant and collaborator on adaptation, Nada Vukčević and Slavko Kalezić, stage movement assistants and Nela Otašević, executive producer.

Source: MNT / photo: Duško Miljanić, Krsto Vulović / translation: Aleksandar Šupeljak

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