Overlooking the Convergence of the Sava and Danube Rivers at Sunset
My name is Jon Dahl, and I am a rising senior at Mac. My project is just over a week underway, as I’ve started working with Dah Theatre here in Belgrade, Sebia. I’ve been participating in intensive workshops for six hours a day, 5 days a week.
My project involves working here with Dah, learning their vocabularies and exercises for theatre for three weeks, after which I return to Minnesota to work with several different groups of high school students, sharing what I have learned. Dah works with ideas of devised theatre, which is a form of theatre created by actors through improvisation. Dah has used devised theatre here in Serbia in many ways, but they have worked most notably with theatre as a form of discussion surrounding the conflicts that occurred in the former Yugoslavia in the last two decades, along with remembrance of those affected by the wars.
Our first week of training involved intense physical and vocal work, as two experienced actors from the company shared a variety of techniques that they have learned throughout their years as performers. Now the director and co-founder of the company, Dijana Milosevic, has begun work with us on ways to build performance, applying many of the principles we’ve learned in the last week. We have worked with a variety of approaches from dance, theatre, even martial arts, as the members of Dah have shared their basic principles for making performance both physically and mentally engaging.
Dah insists that actors and directors learn to notate everything quickly and efficiently, and I’ve been taking notes like crazy. The workshops have already been so enriching and have given me a thousand ideas of what to share with the students in Minnesota, but we are just getting to the heart of devising work. Naturally there’s just too much, but my notebook, my brain, and my body, are all full to the brim with ideas and possibilities. Dah’s approaches to theatre ask how theatre can be engaging for the performer and the audience, and Dah has worked to make theatre that speaks to and with the community in which it works. I can’t wait to bring some of these things back to Minnesota.
“I choose to believe in Utopia, not because I am naive, but because I have to believe.” -Dijana Milosevic, director and co-founder of Dah Teatar
Best from Belgrade,