World Without Women

Curators’ Statement

Both local plays in the main programme are co-produced by Bitef and two leading institutions of our repertory theatre, i.e. independent sector (Yugoslav Drama Theatre for Dr Ausländer  (Made for Germany) and Centre for Cultural Decontamination for World Without Women), and will be premiered at the festival. In a year when the festival explores the issues of inadequate working conditions, job loss, etc., this is an attempt of Bitef and its partners to help domestic theatre creators from the independent sector. The play World Without Women is an auteur's project by Maja Pelević and Olga Dimitrijević, which examines the representation and, in general, the position of women in Belgrade theatre. The performance is based on documentary materials, interviews with the directors of our theatres on the topic of gender equality in the theatre, as well as various theoretical feminist texts.

About the Production

Women and work - that is the major topic of the project World Without Women. The authors start with research on structural inequalities in Serbian theatre: gender inequality, unequal wages, normalized violence, reproduction of patriarchal capitalist patterns. The research opens up the questions: who has the right to work, under which conditions, and how much should they be paid for it? The performance examines the extents of engaged art today, and how love (for art) represents the most insidious source of social repression.

With all its regulations, specific features and status, theatre might seem displaced from “normal” life, but it still does represent a good case study for wider social processes. Therefore, the question of women and work is not only treated within the context of theatre but also as the key motive for the deliberation about some future emancipatory policies. If we are unable to overcome the power relations and come up with some new models in theatre, in which we create different and new worlds, how could we expect to do it in the real world? The performance goes beyond counting, quotes, and the frames of liberal feminism, and is trying to open the space for visualising political and affective actions which intervene in the existing system and the structures of inequalities. Can we again imagine union struggle in theatre? How about women’s union? What if the women in theatre went on strike? Would it be caused by low wages or by sexism and misogyny they are constantly exposed to? A slalom through those topics takes us to an attempt to search for a new language, a political, theatrical and poetic one - a new language of women, work, and the left for the days to come.

The Authors

MAJA PELEVIĆ has obtained her BA at the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade and a PhD at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Department of Theory of Arts and Media. Her plays (Orange Peel, Me or Someone Else, Bollywood, Belgrade-Berlin, Maybe We Are Mickey Mouse…) have been translated into many languages and staged throughout Serbia and Europe, and also published in numerous anthologies. Since 2012, she has been active in directing, auteur projects (They Live, Consequences, Hopelessness, Freedom: the Most Expensive Capitalist Word, Lonely Planet), and performing in her own plays. She has received numerous major awards, among which are “Borislav Mihajlović Mihiz” for playwrighting, and Sterija Award for the best contemporary play for Orange Peel and The Last Little Girls. She lives and works in Belgrade and in Bečići. She wishes for the apocalypse.

OLGA DIMITRIJEVIĆ was born in 1984 in Belgrade, SFRY. In her work, she explores the topics of social struggles and injustices, female friendship and solidarity, queer histories, borders of political imagination, and the possibilities of a better world. She is the author of many plays (My Dear, The Folk Play, Workers Die Singing…), and auteur projects (Red Love based on the novel by Alexandra Kollontai, Freedom: the Most Expensive Capitalist Word, Lepa Brena Project/with Vladimir Aleksić/, Lonely Planet / with a group of authors/, Radio Šabac, Drama about the End of the World). She has worked as a dramaturge on many performances in Serbia and abroad and has received several awards for her work. She participated in the International Forum - Theatertreffen in 2019. She lives and works between Belgrade and Rijeka. She often dreams of revolution.