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Theatrical documentary about masculinity here and now

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

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.