Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Jovana Malinarić | Università di Bologna | Italy 


September 16th 2022 | 10.00 – 11.30
Panel #7 | “Bodies and Identities
Room G.127 | Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milan, Largo Gemelli 1

Beyond fiction and reality. Contemporary performance discovers fairy tales in Lina Majdalanie and Rabih Mroué works

Yeki bud, jeki nabud is the common opening of Persian fairy tales, whose equivalent in Arabic reads: fi yawm min al’ayaam. And while both phrases are usually translated into English as „Once upon a time…” their real meaning is much more fluid: There was, and there wasn’t or This happened, and it didn’t happen. This sentence is a strategy used by many artists from the Middle East. But it has become almost a trademark of Lebanese performers Lina Majdalanie and Rabih Mroué. In a playful and sharp mix, they typically bring together historical events, biographical facts and cultural phenomena and push them to the dystopian. They often use the strategy of a fairy tales; a tale whose ending brings some insight into the state of the world, some grain of wisdom to those listening. We will see how they use this kind of elaboration and reinvention of the past to trick and mislead their spectators, ultimately to help them understand how new propaganda works and how political narrative is built on the deconstruction and falsification of historical and cultural narratives. In their artwork the concept of truth is pushed toward a dystopian representation of it, and in the same time it accompanies performative characters as ghosts, reflecting as well on a fairytale tradition of storytelling, showing how the same story can be distinctively told by different people. This kind of elaboration bring one of characters to the point saying, “And I said to myself what a terrible world”. We will finally investigate the relation between fiction and non-fiction: to trust or not to trust. As artists highlight it themselves, “based on true events, this performance is purely fictional”. 

Jovana Malinarić is a performing arts dramaturg and PhD Researcher in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Bologna in collaboration with the University of Utrecht. Her research presents innovative approach on a contemporary dramaturgy as a practical knowledge. The foremost goal of her work is to investigate how dramaturgy functions as a practice that put in relation seeing and hearing, and how bodies, objects and media perform and in a final instance, how do memories, emotions and ideas continue to do their work when the performance is over. Her main publications are: Un’etnografia del folle: Poor Tom dall’isolamento al teatro elisabettiano; Dare forma all’incontro. Gli aspetti relazionali della drammaturgia contemporanea.