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YTID Youth, Theatre & Intercultural Dialogue in Serbia, October 2015

From 24th September – 1st October 2015 a group of TRY students and teachers attended an an intense 8 day workshops focused on Youth, Theatre and Intercultural Dialogue in Sremski Karlovci, Serbia. Organized by REACH organization (Regional Endeavor for Art, Culture and Health), the group consisted of 24 participants (theatre workers, youth workers, artists and pedagogues) from 12 European countries. Superbly organized workshops set the group on a life changing voyage expanding horizons of social awareness. The training course consisted of several different theatrical methodologies (applied drama, theatre of the oppressed, image theatre, and physical theatre) all based in intercultural dialogue and social inclusion. The success of the training was rooted in stimulating yet relaxed environment in which there were no wrong answers and hence no stress of failing. Furthermore, with such an open minded and multicultural group, the only natural thing was to learn from each other and broaden our horizons.

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Art and Creativity for Intercultural Dialogue in Barcelona, September 2015

In early September 2015 a delegation of TRYers led by Natali Bosić took part in a two-week youth exchange in Llinars del Valles, Barcelona. The project, called ACID (Art and Creativity for Intercultural Dialogue), was organized by the Catalan branch of the International Network for Culture and Arts (INCA) and gathered 50 young people from 10 European countries. The workshops during project were organized and conducted in turn by each country, resulting in a very successful exchange of experiences in various fields of performance art, from street theatre to break dance. After the first few days of team building exercises a strong bond was created among the participants, which resulted in additional dialogue and sharing of experiences even during moments of rest and free time. The whole project was focused around teaching using the principles of non formal education, allowing each individual to feel confident and ready to push their boundaries ultimately resulting in an amazing experience and invaluable personal growth for every participant.

galleryThe View from the Tips of the Toes, HNK Ivana pl Zajca, Spring 2015

June 16th 2015 was in many ways a historic date for TRY theatre. The first major collaboration (with the Rijeka School of Ballet and Dance and I.M. Ronjgov Music School) opened and, what is more, it opened at the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka! Two nights of sold-out house (566 people each night) and a wonderful medley of almost 100 young dancers, actors and musicians from Rijeka and the area. The piece, The View from the Tips of the Toes, asks the question which branch of art is more important: the written word or fine arts? Embodied through the two muses and their helpers, the question is never fully settled, but excellent arguments are posed for both cases.

Directed by Tina Zubović of the Ballet School, the piece masterfully combined music, dance and acting in a sequence of choreographed scenes. The text is the work of Ivan Verunica of TRY theatre, and many more tireless teachers from the Dance School and Music School took part in bringing the complex piece together.

galleryV for Verona, Spring 2015

For never was there a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

And thus William Shakespeare concluded his famed tragedy. Little did he know, the poor chap, that 400 years later TRY theatre would have a go at his piece and make it, well, less woeful. Based on Shakespeare’s original and co-rewritten by Ivan Verunica and student Lisa Mihelec, TRY theatre’s V for Verona places the eternal romantic struggle into a much more contemporary – and comical – setting. Is Juliet a little bit bitchy? Yes, yes she is. What car does Romeo drive? A Lamborghini. Can tragedies be funny? Absolutely! Performed in the truly classic setting of the Governor’s Palace marble room, V for Verona delighted the audiences over four nights in June with a brilliant cast composed of 23 Middle School students.

galleryJUNK, Spring 2015

“Junk” is a project that will go down in history as TRY theatre’s first movie. Thanks to the brilliant and meticulous work of the director, Nina Sabo, the older high school group managed to put together a full scale, 1 hour and 30 minutes long movie in just a couple of months. The story focuses around the lives of 9 teenagers that slowly fall deeper and deeper into heroin abuse, showing the various stages (from playful experimentation to outright addiction) of their love/hate relationship with the illegal substance. A theme rarely mentioned and discussed, the movie really exposes the close correlation between modern teenagers and the feeling of abandonment that can ultimately force them to run their lives into the ground. A bold movie for a bold audience, an amateur “Requiem for a dream” of sorts, “Junk” is a must see for every teenager and every parent. Working on this project demanded a lot of emotional and psychological dedication from our students, and it is quite possible that the roles they had in this movie changed their life forever.

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Elementary Group Production, Spring 2015

With Chekhov’s Three Sisters as a rough starting point, this intriguing historical and political play focuses around the fall of communism, the collapse of Yugoslavia and the transition that followed. The family relationship of the six sisters, each of which represent a former federal republic, are an allegory of the different international relations the newly independent states created and choices they made.

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The Six Sisters, Spring 2014

With Chekhov’s Three Sisters as a rough starting point, this intriguing historical and political play focuses around the fall of communism, the collapse of Yugoslavia and the transition that followed. The family relationship of the six sisters, each of which represent a former federal republic, are an allegory of the different international relations the newly independent states created and choices they made. Each sister weighs new horizons, hopes for a different future and independence, and they ultimately all join a headless race to get as much away from the family as they can. In the end, they each in their own way enter new legal and market relationships that prevent them from reaching the only thing they ever wanted – independence. The main thesis of the show is confirmed by the place where it was performed: the ex-factory Rikard Benčić which, despite its rich history and great potential, has now become a sad monument of economic transition.

The goal was to attract people who are interested in a different, dramaturgical approach to the analysis of the period from the early 90s to the present and the still stormy relations between the former Yugoslav republics.

It is particularly interesting the fact that the play is in English (with translated subtitles) and that it is played by young performers, who are unbiased regarding this complex segment of history. In this way we achieved an honest performance that focuses around what these young people have left after the fall of Yugoslavia: the debris of a good economy and an uncertain economic future.

galleryScenes from Growing up, Spring 2014

By far the loudest day of the year – not just for TRY but all of Rijeka – is the day when all of TRY theatre’s youth groups get together to perform a series of sketches that they had been working on during the year. The stage, whilst still the focal point, is no longer the only place where drama occurs, with more than 100 students and their family and friends turing the world into a stage. We saw excellent performances from the Kastav Elementary (“The Sick Hospital), Rijeka Elementary, Kastav Juniors, Rijeka Juniors and Rijeka Tots. TRY theatre’s future? Loud and clear!

galleryPosition of Influence, Spring 2014

PLACEHOLDER TEXT “Spilt”, TRY theatre’s last and most serious play thus far, has served as an emotional graduation for the High School group. The drama is rooted in adolescence’s inevitable sojourner: the fascination with what we are not nor should become. We see ourselves as inferior and inadequate, and it is not often that we sober up from these insecurities in time to prevent them spilling onto the rest of our lives. We stubbornly defend the image of what we are told we should be whilst suppressing what we are in a continuous fortification of this plastic facade. Through  the perspective of four highly imperfect angels, “Spilt” examines the lives of young people and their families, as well as interpersonal relationships that set the scene for skewed development.

gallerySpilt, Spring 2013

“Spilt”, TRY theatre’s last and most serious play thus far, has served as an emotional graduation for the High School group. The drama is rooted in adolescence’s inevitable sojourner: the fascination with what we are not nor should become. We see ourselves as inferior and inadequate, and it is not often that we sober up from these insecurities in time to prevent them spilling onto the rest of our lives. We stubbornly defend the image of what we are told we should be whilst suppressing what we are in a continuous fortification of this plastic facade. Through  the perspective of four highly imperfect angels, “Spilt” examines the lives of young people and their families, as well as interpersonal relationships that set the scene for skewed development. The play opened in June 2013 at HKD theatre, winning both audience’s affections and critical acclaim.

Choiceless-TRY-theatreThe Choiceless, Spring 2013

“The Choiceless”. A play set in 1930s Boston introduced teenagers to the challenges of hardships of life during economic crises and played for three nights at Filodrammatica theatre in May 2013. Performed by the Middle School and Kastav groups, the play showed great understanding and determination on behalf of the cast who, although quite young, grappled with the dog-eat-dog script with diligence and attention to every detail.

The Rijeka Play, Winter 2012/2013

“The Rijeka Play”, a play that – you’ll never guess – talks about the Adriatic city of Rijeka, was commissioned from TRY theatre by – another surprise – the City of Rijeka and opened in January 2013 at Filodrammatica theatre. The fast-paced, spoof-happy piece made the audiences laugh out loud while wetting their appetite to learn more about Rijeka’s rich and often confusing history. Performed by the Middle School group, the play will open again on Trsat castle in the summer of 2014.

galleryThe Break up, Winter 2012/2013

“The Break-Up”, TRY theatre’s first play ever performed on the main stage of the HKD theatre, opened in February 2013 and featured an inspiring interpretation by the High School group. Seventeen young performers occupied the stage and dealt with a topic so cloe to their chest – falling in love, falling out of love and the countless vicissitudes in between. In a dramaturgically novel flow of scenes and situations, the performers showed great concentration and maturity. The second night was followed by the second annual Thespian Awards ceremony, adding to the excitement of opening a big, modern play on a big stage.

galleryClinically Same, Spring 2012

The long-awaited “Clinically Same”, the high school group’s new project, premiered on May 14th 2012 at Filodrammatica theatre. This dynamic and energetic piece, hinting at conformity during high school years, proved that the young actresses and actors are developing their on-stage skills at a very high pace, showing exceptional maturity and concentration. The third and last night, 17 May, also broke TRY theatre’s attendance record with as many as 183 people rushing to see the show – Filodrammatica is getting too small! All high school students got to participate in at least one of night, with some truly memorable performances. The play was written and directed by Ivan Verunica, with Erin Sweeney as assistant director and stage manager, while Sierra Verunica designed and made the costumes. The hair was the work of Salma Hasanbašić.

galleryThe Adventures of Baron Darcy Popplewhite

In mid-April, Rijeka’s theatre-goers had a chance to see a new writing play, “The Adventures of Baron Darcy Popplewhite”, performed by TRY theatre’s 7th and 8th grade group. Linguistically more challenging then any other TRY theatre production, the play takes us a century back into the intriguing world of English aristocracy and their resourceful servants. During the two nights, the cast (Vrhovski, Dessardo, Butorac, Šustar, Arbanas brothers, Ettinger-DeLong, Jurčević-Franko, Banov, Kaštelan, Fućak) did a splendid job interpreting their lines in custom-made Sierra Verunica costumes, causing one established critic to write: “When I learned that the actors were all still in middle school, I was as positively shocked as I was ashamed at the level of my own English.” The play was written and directed by Ivan Verunica with Erin Sweeney as the assistant director and stage manager.

winter-night-special-gallery-TRY-theatreThe Winter Night Special, Winter 2011

2011 was seen off in style! Three consecutive performances at Filodrammatica theatre made sure that the first semester’s work was wrapped, signed and delivered to the general public in time for holidays. Hiding under the umbrella term “Winter Night Special”, we got to see two sketches and two half-hour plays performed by various classes functioning within the organization. The youngest crew had their stage debut with the Classroom Sketch, the Kastav group made audiences laugh with the Restaurant sketch (thank you Monty Python), and the two older groups presented two new-writing plays. Middle school students performed a comedy set in WW2 Yugoslavia under German occupation and the high school student went contemporary revealing the inner workings of corrupt city administration in “A Position of Influence”.

To top it off, we also saw the first ever Thespian Awards handed out on the last night of performance.

galleryWithout Hamlet, Spring 2011

After the four originally scheduled performances and one more due to popular demand, one gets the impression that Hamlet was indeed just about the only one that didn’t turn up for the play. Luckily though, his merry entourage from Elsinore castle showed up, as did the struggling playwrights Nina and Vesna and their mildly strange neighbour. This resulted in 90 minutes of quick dialogue, humorous situations and some extremely good acting! An acting staff made mostly of on-the-stage first-timers showed high concentration, good execution and a very promising ability to think quick and improvise in unscripted situations.

The audiences’ laughter spoke volumes of what they had thought and even the ever-grumpy director liked some parts of some performances.  All in all, it was a very strong first run and a major down-payment for future performances and the shows yet to come. With Hamlet or without him.