(…) In a theatrical sense ‘Macho men’ opens stylistic and meaningful levels and those were used by the skilled authors and actors in two ways. When speaking of something beyond their experience it is comical, but when speaking of generation gap and childhood it is closer to being startling. The dramaturgy, which could be simplified as biological stages of childhood, adolescence, maturity, was dominated by intelligently contemplated and processed subjects and dilemmas. (…) All the diversity (randomness of subjects) and large number of layers (possibility of translation) is enhanced by the stylistical concept of the scenography. The performers act frontally like stand up comedians. At one point they even start rapping. The box-scenography and hints of mise enscène, being typically childish debauchery and grimacing (when one of them plays the scene, the others join him and ‘spoil’ it), functioned very well. (…)

Igor Burić

"Dnevnik", Novi Sad
(…) The main question which appears with every verbatim drama is also justified here: to what extent did the authors manage to escape the tempting process of work with actors and made indigenous art piece which can be appreciated also outside its educative function. In short, in a great extent they managed to do that. Playful and dynamic (choreography and scenic movement LJiljаnа Tаsić) touching and witty, with skilfully set dramaturgy, the play captures freshness and honesty and the faith that theatre can (still) change the world. Naturally, the large part of the credit goes to irresistible and infinitely charming actors, who uncompromisingly, and in youthfully direct way expressed their intimacy on stage. This play should be watched by the young, their parents, people who occupy themselves with education. Actually, it should be watched by everyone in this country. The way it is, it is simply necessary.

Boban Jevtić

Nin, Beograd
(…) The macho men opened my eyes. Not those macho men who spend their days in a gym, but the actors from ’Macho men’ play or, more precisely, from creative Centre E8. I went to the premiere without any expectations (even saying: ’My, something experimental again!’), but the things that were happening in front of my eyes for the next eighty minutes changed my view of macho men in Serbia and gentlemenship that strives to break through the thick layers of testosterone.

Marina Andjelković

www.wannabemagazine.com
Fantastic show in a theatrical sense and in a sense of what it can mean for the people and education, not only as a support for these boys who were children during the hardest times in our country, but also for the generations of boys who are yet to come. Excellently witty and emotional, the show has excellent rhythm, many well chosen theatrical means and charming performers

Tanja Marković

psychologist and art theorist
(...) The theatre of the year is without doubt Bitef teatar, which not only prepared the biggest number of premieres, but also succeeded to establish itself as a place one of a kind by the choice of subjects, carefully tailored repertoire, constantly present energy and enthusiasm. It is a place where theatre and social involvement intersect in a creative and inspiring way. THE BEST 1. Just keep it nice, JDP 2. Zona Zamfirowa, Terаzije Theatre 3. Macho men, Bitef teatar

Boban Jevtić

NIN, Beograd
In macho societies, especially ones like Serbia, play “Macho men” is of great importance. Title of this play treats the problem of manhood in its traditional form with rather great dose of irony. In order to make this play even more convincing, the director has chosen actors who are, or at least look like, real macho men. Because of this casting, the play is funny and in a way lethal. All of this is done in a way which implicates that problem of manhood must be treated non typically and that analysis of this problem must be done in a specific direction.Regardless of this, the play is on very high artistic level. Although this is extremely important, it is also very unusual for plays which tend to be enlisted.

Jovan Ćirilov

Macho men

Theatrical documentary about masculinity here and now

Text of the play was created by collaging stories, experiences and attitudes of the team of co-authors and performers; by dramatization of thesis of the book "To be a man" by Steve Biddulph; by quoting theorists of the men’s movement; of the fragments from the press, internet and television. Statistical data obtained in the study "Young men and masculinity" conducted within the project "Be a man" was used in the play, experiences of trainers in this project and materials generated through the workshop process based on the use of drama techniques and methodological games designed to encourage collective authorship.

Most men don’t really live. Instead, they act so they can protect themselves. During maturation we choose one of several standard masks - a hard worker, a cool guy, a good guy, a macho man, a sensitive new man. And then for years later we hold that roles and pretend it's us and that it’s all right. "Everything is cool". "She's right". However, inside there is often a sense of loneliness that prevails. To act and to live are not the same thing.

Steve Biddulph, "To be a man: action plan for changing men's lives"

In desire to fit in socially acceptable matrix of gender behavior, young men do many things that are detrimental to their physical and also mental health. Society expects of them to prove their masculinity by showing strength, determination, courage, fighting spirit and bravery, which often leads them into destruction and self-destruction. Brought up in a culture where the male expression of emotions is considered as a sign of weakness, young men repress their emotions and transform them into destructive behavior. This theater play is intended to draw attention to the problem, but also to document the story of the generation born during the Balkan wars, a generation whose value system was formed in the transition and is, therefore, confusing and insufficiently firm.

The main theme of this play is masculinity and the way it’s treated and formed in our culture. The idea and the message it should convey is the message of freedom, of personal achievement and effort to overcome the culturally imposed norms that prevent young men to be themselves.

Masculinity, noun.

  1. Refers to properties that are characteristic for persons of male sex.
  2. Sex. Biological attributes of the organism in relation to the role of reproduction.
  3. Refers to properties that are characteristic for persons of male gender
  4. Gender. Social and cultural determination of person and their behavior in relation to their sex.

Box, noun.

  1. Object that is used for packing other objects in it.
  2. Sex. Box for packing gender stereotypes.
  3. Gender. Habits, rituals and customs from these boxes.

Freedom, noun.
1. The possibility/right/desire of beings to think for themselves and act on their own.

Question: can you be free when you are in a crammed box?
Answer: ____________

Proposal: Unpack the box and pack in it what you want!

In other words: Be a man, in the way you want and not in the way others think it should be!

Theater play "Macho men" is realized within the program «Young men as allies in prevention of violence and conflicts in the Western Balkans» which is implemented by Center E8 and CARE NW Balkans and funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Concept, direction and dramaturgy: Milena Bogavac i Vojislav Arsić

Co-authors and performers:Alek Surtov, Đorđe Živadinović Grgur, Jovan Zdravković, Marko Panajotović, Nemanja Puvača, Nikola Pavlović, Uroš Novović i Rastko Vujisić

Choreography and scene movement: Ljiljana Tasić

Original music: Vladimir Pejković

Costume: Pull My Daisy

Sound design: Miroljub Vladić

Lighting Design: Dragan Đurković

Head of technology: Ljubomir Radivojević

Expert Consultants: Jelena Bogavac i Mila Manojlović

Organization: Aneta Goranović

Direction of documentary movie: Ivan Stojiljković

Photography and Video: Miloš Mitrović

Design: Sanja Drakulić

Production: Reflektor teatar i Bitef teatar

Support: CARE NWB, Ministarstvo inostranih poslova Kraljevine Norveške, DKC Majdan, Alma Quatro

Festivals:

Ex Teatar Fest, Pančevo
Patosofiranje, Smederevo
Šumes Festival, Rudnik
Youth Theatre festival, Novi Pazar
Bitef polifonija, Beograd
Festival “Cultural Pump Up”, Srebrenica
Festival Devet, Beograd
A.N.F.I. teatar, Kraljevo
Festival Internacionalnog Alternativnog Teatra,Podgorica
Festival Pulski forum, Pula
Filmstreet, Beograd

Awards:

NIN, one of the most respected weekly newspapers, declared Macho Men for one of the best plays in 2012. On the festival PatosOFFiranje 09 the play Macho Men was awarded with “Branislav B. Čubrilović” for artistic bravery, on the Youth Theatre Festival it received the award for the best play.