THE LIEUTENANT NIDRIGEN'S WALTZ
THE QUESTION OF FREEDOM IN TODAY’S TIME
THE LIEUTENANT NIDRIGEN'S WALTZ rehearsals are underway
Author: Miodrag Ilic
Directed by: Vladimir Lazic
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they.”
"Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want, but not being forced to do what you don't want."
The Lieutenant Nidrigen’s Waltz by the author Miodrag Ilic, created in the eighties of the last century, inspired by a note in some German newspapers telling about a high military school cadet who refused to take a dance exam and got expelled afterwards, turned out to be a great play for questioning freedom in the world, where intimacy is in the palm of one’s hand, the voice of reason and justice is restrained, and personal freedom is subordinated to mass hysteria. By choosing Vladimir Lazic as this work director, we make sure that this philosophical work, realistically written in its actual and universal meaning, which to some extant draws towards expressionism of von Horváth, requiring a certain realization shift from realism to fantasy and by symbols create a grotesque melodrama, putting in the first plan the romance of the young cadet Nidrigen, played by Milos Djurovic and Adela Bonen, played by Isidora Gradjanin. Although the work is set in the epoch of the tsardom with ballrooms, officers, revolutionaries, which will be stylistically shaped by a set designer Milica Bajic Djurov and a costume designer Tijana Sicevic, the story is bound to be a contemporary one. An exciting flow of events, plenty of conflicts, imaginative solutions and wit, as well as a strong music and dance component, a composer Aleksandar Srebric, choreographer Jelena Arsic, all provide the director with playful divertissement. The director promises thoughtfulness through entertainment, which means a combination of an easy plot and dark drama of the main character’s suffering. As the director V. Lazic says, "I am taking up the work of philosophical insight into the essential question of man, and that question is: how to remain self-consistent and survive in conditions of social repression."
The choice of actors certainly promises an attractive performance: Srdjan Karanovic, Irfan Mensur, Milan Caci Mihailovic, Lazar Djukic, Janko Cekic, Sinisa Ubovic, Petar Mihailovic, Branko Jankovic, Stefan Bundalo, Srdjan Sekulic, Jelena Arsic/Anka Gacesa Kostic. The premiere is announced for the beginning of December 2022 on the Large Stage of the Madlenianum.
The Lieutenant Nidrigen's Waltz was first performed on the stage of the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka in 1985, directed by Ljubisa Georgijevski, with the young Bozidar Alic in the title role. The play was then staged at the Joakim Vujic Princely-Serbian Theatre in Kragujevac (1986), directed by Dragan Jakovljevic, while the character of Nidrigen was played by the young actor Mirko Babic. After the artists’ from Rijeka guest performance at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb stage, the text was included in the anthology selection of Slobodan Snajder (Prologue No. 2, Centre for Cultural Activities, Zagreb, 1985)
"After almost four decades, thanks to the Opera & Theatre Madlenianum Management assessment, this is the first time the work has been performed in front of Belgrade audience, with even greater reason, we would say, than when it was first illuminated by the spotlights of the stage! The position of a man in the world surrounding us has, in the meanwhile, become even more difficult and uncertain, the policy of violence and dehumanization has narrowed the space of individual freedoms to a minimum, the cry for the right to one's "I" is almost inaudible today. A young man entering life feels a heavy compulsion to submit to those who decide on his present and future, powerless to choose, to decide for himself, to reject what does not suit him. In the past decades, the system of oligarchy has strengthened, embodied in powerful people who cynically impose their interests as general principles. So-called human freedoms and rights, democracy in which the majority stifles the minority, and hence the individual himself, the deception called the representative system, these are all platitudes, more precisely mechanisms of collective and individual enslavement of a man and his consciousness", said the writer of the play, Miodrag Ilic.
"This is the play of identity, the play of the defence of the individuality of a man always threatened by the rules he has to live by, by the coercion of the authorities and what is even more difficult and sinister - by the uncompromising imposition of established patterns of living. Being yourself, sticking to your choice, your beliefs, your principles, has a high price: it often leads to ruin, loss of support, suffering and sacrifice," the writer continues. The director adds: "A little thing in our life is often the cause of great traumas. Making a small mistake or deviation from conventions, a person can lead themselves into an absurd state, into a conflict with the surrounding and political and state factors, and to slip emotionally into paroxysm." According to him, the key issue in this work is the question of freedom.