Family Stories
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in times of war

 
 
EM BREVE

Histórias de Família [Family Stories] is the last part of the “Trilogia da Guerra” [Trilogy of the War]: an artistic trajectory that includes the plays, O Dragão [The Dragon] and Kabul. This time, we delve deeply into one of the bloodiest European conflicts that have taken place since the Second World War, namely, that which dismantled Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Histórias de Família, by the Serbian playwright, Biljana Srbljanovic, describes the confused state of affairs in which her contry were thrust, to address the theme of childhood in a violent scenario.

Amid the ruins of war-devastated Yugoslavia, four characters play a game, pretending to be a family, reproducing the delirious behaviour of disoriented adults. In these games, we perceive people’s weaknesses and also their fears.

Little by little, the logic of war is revealed, created and maintained by the political power manifested at every level of society. The game ends, but soon everything starts all over again. The violence of the game substitutes the real violence of combat, and, in this ritual, the image of the political climate, the tension among them all, are extreme.

In order to speak of a society saturated with hate, where violence and perversity have become reflections of survival, Biljana Srbljanovic chose derision and the absurd. With all the cruelty they can muster, the characters reproduce the behaviour of irresponsible immature adults. In this “dark family parody”, the authoress invites us to see the war in a playful light, and the theatre as the place where adults continue to do what children do: create a game. We engage in a dialogue with Biljana Brbljanovic's script, taking our visions into account,  our queries and our Trilogy of War, confronting theatre with reality. These Family Stories are, at the same time, an image of the predicament of the former Yugoslavia, and, also, an image of any society.

 

 
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