SAKESHVILI: Come on, he is not the director. Fuck his Sakeshvili mother, we have to perform the play. (He nervously runs his hand through his hair.) (Vilčnik, 2016: 8)
The mentioned foyer at the same time represents the space of the play, but also the foyer through which the real spectators will go home after the play. In this way, Rok Vilčnik uses the spaces of the theater itself as props, blurring the boundaries between dramatic action and reality. The spaces of real and fictitious in this play intersect in a variety of ways – from using the audience to the theater premises – however, it is important to mention that this play does not play with reality only on a theatrical level. Namely, this play was designed as a kind of art project, which had its own internet dimension.
During the first premiere of the play Peoples Democratic Circus »Sakešvili«, the Facebook page Peoples Democratic Circus Sakešvili was active, which served as an info page on the social network, and whose posts were a mixture of real and fictitious information published by representatives of the »Sakešvili« circus. Playing around with extra reading online didn’t just end at the biggest social network, it also included the biggest online encyclopedia. In addition, the People’s Democratic Circus »Sakeshvili« has its own page on Wikipedia, where the reader can find information about the history of the circus, the values it stands for, as well as about the ensemble. All this information is related to the world of Rok Vilcnik’s work and is an internet supplement to the artwork itself. So that the playing with truth, fiction, the imaginary, and the real in Vilcnik’s circus is realized on several levels, so this work can be simultaneously understood as a drama in a narrower sense, i.e. a drama with metatheatrical elements, but also as a complete multimedia and interdisciplinary artistic work. a project imbued with a strong critical awareness.
Zoran Milutinović believes that the question of social identity is a question of reality, and when everything that is changeable is excluded, the elements that determine human identity are found in personal documents such as identity cards, passports, etc. In a distinctive way, this also determines the characters in the drama, because in the metatheatre they are, in fact, part of reality. In the last segment of the drama People’s Democratic Circus »Sakeshvili«, the people who until then had fluid identities, i.e. identities that often change during the drama and become Strumecki, Lebe, etc., are now in a position to establish their identity, getting the opportunity to see their documents:
SAKESHVILI: Look here… Let everyone read for themselves. Next to the picture, it says…
(He shows them and everyone reads them…)
SAKESHVILI: Prop. (Vilcnik, 2016: 57)
At this point in the drama, the cathartic role of the metatheatrical elements is most clearly presented, and it reaches its peak here. Moreover, in one of the parts of the play, the spectator is already faced with the realization that he, in fact, is part of the play and that he is drawn into it, which was achieved by using some means of metatheatricality, and then at one point the prop-assistant Sakeshvili even kills one of the spectators, indicating that the spectators are also props of this play. In this way, a combination of metatheatrical and critical elements is achieved, and the play manages to erase or at least blur the boundaries between reality and fiction presented in the play, at least while it lasts. In this case, the blurring of the border between reality and imagination acts more strongly and cathartically on the spectator, and through comic and metatheatrical effects the spectator can internalize much more deeply the social criticism presented in the play. In other words, the meaning of these last lines where the dramatic characters are defined and constituted as props, is supported by numerous metatheatrical elements, it is universalized and includes the audience, who through the cathartic effect of this performance would become aware that it is itself a prop in this play, which is actually a circus. Then if the play, which is actually a circus, is interpreted through the prism of metatheatricality and an insight is gained into how the boundaries between the dramatic action and reality are erased, the audience could then become aware that it is only a prop in the circus that, in fact, is the reality of a social and political system. The audience, in fact, becomes part of the comic and circus system which, like that of Sakeshvili from the People’s Democratic Republic of Sakeshvili, is not as distant from the viewer as it seems at the beginning.
Translation from Serbian: Vincent Vilčnik
Vilčnik, R. (2016) Ljudski demokratični cirkus Sakešvili. http://sigledal.org/w/images/9/95/ Rokgre_Ljudski_demokrati%C4%8Dni_cirkus_Sake%C5%A1vili.pdf Accessed on 28.02.2019.
Milutinović, Z. (1994) Metateatralnost. Beograd: Studentski Izdavački Centar.
Obrazloženje Grumove nagrade 2016. http://sigledal.org/w/images/6/61/Nagrada_Slavka_ Gruma_2016.pdf . Accessed on 24.02.2019.
Orel, B. (2001) Struktura gledališča v gledališču. Primerjalna književnost. Vol. 1, no. 24, 101–117.
Ljudski demokratični cirkus Sakešvili, https://sl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ljudski_demokrati%C4%8Dni_cirkus_Sake%C5%A1vili Accessed on 26.02.2019
Peoples Democratic Circus Sakešvili, https://www.facebook.com/sakesvili/ Accessed on 26.02.2019.