Director Tea Tupajić (Sarajevo, 1984) investigates the role art and performance can play in a wide range of often controversial social issues. Her work has a strong international orientation and takes place at the intersection of theatre, performance, video art and happening. As ‘lead actors’ she usually chooses non-professional performers: a company made up of festival curators, former employees of Israeli intelligence, or a mixed selection of ordinary European citizens. Within the clearly delineated context of the theatre, she is able together with her performers and the audience to create space for meeting, discussion, experience and reflection; a free space for a new perspective on complex, political topics.
Tupajić achieved international renown with The Curators’ Piece (2011). In this ‘legal action against art’, she asked various curators to share their personal visions of the dramaturgy behind their work and of the social role of art. She then created the trilogy Variété Europa, in which she went in search of traces of a contemporary European identity. For the first part, Orpheus (2013), she invited four random European citizens – an insurance agent, a tax consultant, a gynaecologist and a nude model – to give their own interpretation of the mythical role of the title character. Tupajić then embarked on a multi-year project focusing on the use of interrogation techniques by security and intelligence services. In The Disco (2015), made in collaboration with (former) employees of the Israeli security services Mossad and Shin Bet, visitors were able to experience a number of these techniques for themselves, from subtle psychological acting from an interrogator to the shock effects of extreme light and sound explosions.
For Frascati Producties, at the end of 2017 Tea Tupajić presented her preliminary research into the fall of Srebrenica during the Bosnian war of the 1990s. This was an impressive solo piece, which she performed at various (international) locations. She continued working on this performance under the title Dark Numbers (Frascati producties 2019). For this performance, she invited veterans of the Dutch peace mission Dutchbat as co-creators and performers. The presence of Dutchbat III in Srebrenica in July 1995 and the fall of this Muslim enclave constitute a collective trauma, which still keeps Tupajić – who was born in Bosnia – and the at the time in many cases young soldiers of Dutchbat awake at nights. Together, they step into one of the darkest episodes in European history, in the hope that theatre can add something to all the public discussions, reports and law suits: a physical meeting, empathy and perhaps the beginning of a closure. Dark Numbers toured several theatres in the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Sweden and will play once more at Frascati Theatre on May 14 & 15, 2019.
Dark Numbers was realised with support from the Veteranen Fonds and Veteranen Instituut Nederland. Parallel to the production Dark Numbers, Tupajić created (with IKON and Basalt Film) the film documentary Bosnian Girl on the same topic. Dark Numbers is a co-production by Frascati Producties, Veem Huis voor Performance, Radio Kanzas (Zagreb, HR), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen, NO), Teaterhuset AvantGarden (Trondheim, NO), Inkonst (Malmö, SE), Théâtre Garonne (Toulouse, FR) and Vooruit (Ghent, BE).
Tea Tupajić (Sarajevo, 1984) studied at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb. She initiates long-term projects which she develops in a range of productions, performances, installations, lectures and workshops. In addition, Tupajić regularly writes for leading arts magazine Frakcija. Her work has been shown internationally in theatres, at festivals, in galleries and in the public space. For Frascati Producties, at the end of 2017 she undertook preliminary research into the fall of Srebrenica during the Bosnian war in the 1990s. During the upcoming season, she will develop this production further under the title Dark Numbers.