Who is Pope Joan? Why is it a top-secret of Vatican? This is the topic of the ‘Pope Joan’ theatre play that will be held tonight in the Egység Cultural Station, and audience will have a chance to watch it online on the official Facebook pages of Cultural Stations and Egység Cultural Station at 7 p.m.
The play is a dramatisation of the novel of the same name by Donna Woolfolk Cross. It is a master project by Lea Jevtić, a student who is, in addition to being a director, the leading actress in the play, and for Nikola Miloradović, a Physics student, it is the first production endeavour.
The leading actress and director thinks that we are all Pope Joan. Who is she?
‘Pope Joan is a historical figure, despite great efforts to conceal that she even existed. Pope Joan was a real person, which gives us, I would say, some hope for the change, and on the other hand, symbolically, she is the fight, the justice. The reason why I have chosen to dramatize this novel is the essence that exists within all of us and if we ignore it, we will simply not be what we are made for. Pope Joan is a story about religion, but the focus is on the human essence and that I think that we are all Pope Joan’, says Lea Jevtić.
The play deals with the topic of dark Middle Ages and it is about fight, justice, love, and human cruelty, which is, according to Lea and Nikola, present even today, but is manifested in a different way.
‘Comparing to cruelty that was very present in the past, perhaps physically the most, today, it is some kind of individualism, speaking of which we are cruel towards each other. There is no collective conscience at all. The alienation actually makes us crueller towards one another. However, the thing that has not changed is the presence of inner torments and I think that observing history as a course of time that presents the progress is a complete illusion. When we speak about humanity and spirituality, I think that the mankind did not make a progress from that period of time until today. Technologically definitely did’, says director, Nikola Miloradović.
The aim of the play is to encourage critical thinking and raise important questions such as feminism, thus trying to remove the stigma from that word, explains the director. She believes that the art itself is a powerful tool that can do such thing. She says that each play that deals with the topic of society and ourselves within it, will inevitably develop critical thinking.
She says that she is very strict with herself as a director, although she is a professional actress.
‘Yes, I am strict, especially because being a director is not my profession. That is something that I love, and I am interested in. I do not have enough knowledge, I am an actress in the first place, but it was very interesting because I did it as a master project, and it requires certain research on acting. I did the research on Brecht and it is impossible to act his plays if you do not understand them well. So, I hope that I have an excuse for being a director’. This is how Lea talks about her experience of ‘playing’ two roles, while the Physics student connects his profession and theatre with one word – infinity.
‘Both Physics and theatre deal with two different types of infinity. Physics explores the width of the world within the whole its phenomenon, while art, theatre in particular, deals with the topic of infinite, inner world of a human. I think that I am attracted to infinity’, explains Nikola Miloradović, the director of the play, and says that the only challenge during his work was organisation, which he managed to master.
The ‘Pope Joan’ theatre play is one of the 22 projects that received funds within the ‘Artists. Now!’ public call of the ‘Novi Sad 2021 – European Capital of Culture’, aimed at strengthening local cultural scene, raising its capacities through a network of cultural stations, decentralisation of culture and audience development.
Partner in the project ‘Artists. Now!’ is the Merkator S company.
Photo Credit: V. Veličković