Life is Rough-and-Tumble


A brutal world, the recession, the little guy, loss of dignity, in short, the current social reality. ‘Actually, everything is fine now’ is a show that debuted in early 2013 at the Zagreb Youth Theater (the ZKM) as one of this year’s 11 annual premieres. This is a show that displays reality without any trace of sugarcoating or denial, at the parquet circle of the small Miško Polanec hall. However, it doesn’t drag along and it is neither ruled exclusively with a vehemence of emotion nor is it focused exclusively on glorifying desperation, rather approaches the whole scope of current issues in all their traumatic truth in a minimalist style focusing on their essence. And the essence of the original project by author Olja Lozica is most certainly the acting ensemble as well as the set that without a doubt constitutes one of the most important elements.

Architects Juraj Glasinović and Ivana Škrabalo developed their idea for the stage set, as they say, from a synthesis of two requests. “The first request that we imposed on ourselves was to problematize the depth of the hall space for the performance. The depth of the Polanec scene seemed problematic as it is actually redundant it its entirety and can hardly be used. We received the second request at the director’s proposal, and it consisted of us creating an arranged nature space, something along the lines of a countryside garden, with a clearly synthetic impression. Considering the size of the scene, the conclusion that arose was that it had to be unique and rudimentary.”

The result was a homogenous green area that simultaneously represents the floor and the horizon containing all necessary set props. A homogenous look was achieved by covering all the surfaces with artificial green grass, almost as if they were rearranged from some large garden lawn. The elements carefully hidden within the surfaces – the door, a table, and chairs – jump out of the shaggy carper and plunge back in it according to the course of the plot, and even though at first glance may seem wondrous, they are first and foremost functional and in sync with the idea of three clean and rudimentary grass surfaces.

The second idea that the set works upon is the idea of playing with perspective that logically ensued, and by which the space is defined with three dimensions – with an emphasized perspective shortening which is barely visible, while placing the actors in unusual relations interpreting the position of the characters in the play. The size and concept of the scene hinders movement from their own situations, literally and metaphorically. The slant of the floor and unreliability of the perspective invite insecurity, the very characteristic of the times we are living in, into the storyline. The mentioned multi-functionality of prop use leaves space for a possible future structure, yet again with reference to social instances, while leaving room for a performance movement towards the unknown and new.

Thanks to the author’s vision and a play without any solid structure and content dictations, in the process of creation of the play, precedence was given to spatial definition of play after which the basic contours of the future play started to become visible and were thus defined. The grotesque vision of today’s state on the border of the police beat and a sitcom manages to speak up about the pathetic without a trace of pathos, while you’ll be able to dance on the shaggy rug after the ZKM’s summer break. In this case, reduction resulted with an exceptionally visual experience.