We have embarked on a dystopia of the collectiveness. We want to speak out about the fragility of the performance in order to outline the void and create myths about bodies of the theatre and bodies of the TV spectacle, and deal with the passage of time. We want to expose the fiction we encounter in the unfulfilled fantasies about the so-called better life.  As a part of the project On entertainment dealing with the relationship between performers and the audience we want to examine the promise of the fulfillment opposite to the disappointment of the failure, we want to explore ways how to include this failure to fulfill and how to put the disappointment into the function of the political force. We want to play with directness and promiscuity that are more or less typical in the relationship between performers and the audience and are missing in the big television spectacles.


Reinforced by the impact of capitalism and its derivative – consumerism, contemporary society has been persistently inscribing in the fundamental premises for its existence various ideas about the evolution and progress towards the better future awaiting all stakeholders if they consent to take part in some part of the consumer cyclical and succumb to the logic of the system. What is the better future, better life about to come and what will the future bring is that better life comes are some of the answers that cannot be answered. Or, if they do exist, they seem as a momentary impetus, a beautiful story with an unrealistic outreach with the aim to maintain the role attributed to an individual who has to keep the faith in the system and its norms. Although that beginning might seem almost anarchistic and rebellious, it is the narrative whose materialization is much more concrete than anarchistic manifests and revolutions they proclaim yet they never occur. That narrative is familiar to every person whose expectations were not met in the contemporary society and its orientation towards the luck-success duality no matter how conscious that person was about the improbability of its realization. A Better Life by Saša Božić, which premiered at &td Theatre in Zagreb, deals with such visions of the future that might indisputably bring the progress and evolution but instead they bring new disappointments and crushed expectations.
A serial created by the same team of artists, On Entertainment, consists of two productions resonating important and current topics: Born to Please and Folk Acts, to which this play was added to finalize the trilogy (as stated in the programme materials). Formally, A Better Life stands as the third part or the closing conclusion and its thematic direction has clearly set the stage for the improbability of offering answers which would impose the content of that conclusion. Instead, the substance of the play is contained in the new setting or piling doubts whose realization lives in the life perspective and for that very reason requires to be addressed in theatre. Saša Božić and Petra Hrašćanec (stage movement assistant director and one of the performers in the first part of the play) execute that in the two parts of A Better Life, with intense varying motifs and resulting performative potentials of various stage symbols. The first part of the play titled The Future thus investigates the individual and collective future in a series of short lines that are grammatically shaped with the permanent use of the future tense to express the characters that are supposedly determined by what they will do. Using stage movement, they often try to do what they say they will do no matter how banal and out of context those actions might seem. Finally, instead of focusing on individual determinedness, which would correspond with the social norm or expectations, The Future reveals a collective deflection from that. A deflection which is staged with the use of various means of creation, simple and absurdly flirting movements and lines that might provoke derision or laughter, sometimes openly potentialised by the performers. However, that is merely a first reaction since the aftermath brings about the actualization in the spectator’s experience of reality. In that sense, the first part of A Better Life, i.e. The Future, introduces a framework for communication or a reception that is achieved only after an insight into the whole but due to the current relevance of the motifs, it materializes almost unquestionably. And that is its fundamental value because subtle means whose meaning can be grasped only in the context of the whole piece and an outside-of-theatre-experience actually link what is in theory considered as relatively hermetical procedures with clearly articulated and exceptionally receptive meanings. Enriched with expressly white costumes and corresponding lighting (designed by Marino Frankola), The Future, as the first part of The Better Life, functions very powerfully combing the absurd, which invokes actuality instead of disruption. The performers in the first part are Petra Hrašćanec, Nataša Dangubić and Jerko Marčić.
The second part of A Better Life – Game of Thrones – with its title hints the scope of interest introducing a globally popular and for Croatian tourism economically relevant TV series whose existence and reception can already be characterized as a phenomenon discussed about in countless for a ranging from those entirely informal, everyday ones to academic and scientific ones. However, Saša Božić is not interested in such analyses, at least not at the first sight. On the contrary, he is interested in a different kind of the analysis – decontextualization of its typical procedures and, generally speaking, deconstruction of its imaginary world. This is done through parody, ridicule and hyperbolization of certain procedures and ways of expressing things, which have already become generalized paradigms in Game of Thrones.
As actors, Ugo Korani and Boris Barukčić, taking part in Game of Thrones, are very witty and adept at a repertoire of procedures that often enter the sphere of slapstick (…)


October 22, 2018