‘Timbuktu: the canine rase goes to heaven too’ by Jasen Boko (Slobodna Dalmacija, daily newspaper)
That a dog is man’s best friend, we’ve known for a long time, but that he can become the lead actor in a theater play, we did not know before, at least in this country. And that is exactly what happened in the play “Timbuktu”, directed by Borut Šeparović and produced by Montažstroj, which premiered in Zagreb’s Scene Travno.
“A monologue for a dog on stage spoken by an actor from the audience”, as its genre is determined by the author, was based on the well-known namesake novel by Paul Auster and in the dramaturgical adaptation by Jasna Žmak and Šeparović, it was not at all accidentally premiered on World Animal Protection Day.
This utterly unusual and original theatrical project, aside from the extremely disciplined and trained dog as the “lead actor”, brings out on stage an entire pack of his “brothers” from the dog shelter as well, and demonstrates a strong social note by including local homeless men as extras.
The story of a faithful dog Mr. Bones (Kosta), suffering for his deceased homeless master, communicating with him in dreams and fantasizing about how some day he will join his life companion in this Timbuktu, a metaphor for paradise, is a lot more than a drama about the relationship between dogs and humans.
The play is also a story of the differences that exist between the creatures on earth, which are so difficult to overcome, whether they be generic, racial, national, religious or sexual. It is also an image of the condition in contemporary America and the world, and a story about good and bad people, who are not always easily discerned.
Timbuktu is finally a metaphor of our modernity, sometimes tragic, but often funny. An emotional story about fidelity and love, in the end fuses together a dog on stage and an actor speaking his monologue from the audience, Sven Medvešek, who comes on stage himself later in the play, so the human is a bit of a dog here, and a dog human, much like in Smoje’s „Canine novelettes“. Anyway, Mr. Bones or in Croatian version Kosta, much like Smoje’s Šarko, becomes a true character, a character indeed – a man, who induces both tears and laughter.
From playing a role to adoption
Although one could hardly say that the ending is happy, because Mr. Bones (Kosta) dies as well, though joining his master in paradise, “Timbuktu” might end happily for a dog or two in each of the performances: since the audience has the opportunity to adopt one of the dogs from the shelter that participate in the play. Timbuktu grew from a confession of a dog into an image of the modern society, which forgets its humanity, running after profit and success, so Šeparović’s production is a welcome reminder. Provided by a single – dog.
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- October 8, 2008 / 7:49 pm