The play “Say Hello to Someone” was performed yesterday by the Mladiinfo Montenegro amateur acting group (MAAG) in “Zahumlje”, Nikšić. Đorđije Tatić is the director, while the play was written by Marija Rakočević.
“Say Hello to Someone” is an adaptation of the same-titled book, whose authors are Vesna Ognjenović and Budimir Nešić. The play in Nikšić was organized by Mladiinfo Montenegro and Cultural and Artistic Association “Zahumlje”, as part of the Support Program for Cultural Development of Nikšić.
The play retells true stories of abused children, as well as children who have been taken away from their parents due to negligence and inadequate care. Tatić said that these are children who have suffered traumatic experiences since early childhood, which has affected their adolescence in negative ways.
“A good number of Montenegrin youth behaves in this sort of way, which is the reason why I decided to direct the play in the first place, and figure out why there is a presence of ill behavior among youth who have not been abused in ways similar to the ways the children in the play have been”, said Tatić, trying to explain what drove him to direct the play.
The actors in the play were Jelena Pajović, Dragana Vujisić, Bojana Tomović, Danilo Stefanović, Dina Abazović, Marija Jeknić, Tajana Nedić, Balša Vukčević, Danka Bubanja, Naida Bibežić, Katarina Jeknić and Stefan Boljević.
The Mladiinfo Montenegro President Milica Žugić explained the birth of the amateur acting group MAAG, which was formed after the School of Public Performance, at which several young participants expressed their desire to act and direct a play. The group consists of students from cities across Montenegro, mostly from Podgorica.
“We aim to address current social issues through theatre. After the story of abandoned children, we plan to work on topics of bullying and gender inequality, and by the end of the year, we plan to have two more plays. When it comes to “Say Hello to Someone”, it will be performed in other Montenegrin cities, as well as festivals in the country and abroad”, said Žugić.
She added that Mladiinfo Montenegro is an organization which works with and for the youth, and that the organization sees theatre as another channel of reaching young people.
The characters are diverse, but connected by a similar upbringing, past, and experience, which are part of their daily discussions.
“There is a lack of sympathy and understanding for these children because of ignorance, which results into people not understanding the issues and difficulties these children deal with. People realize the gravity of the situation only when they encounter someone who has had this sort of life experience”, said Stefan Boljević, who plays Veljko “The Bastard”.
It was not easy for actors to relate to the characters, but they dealt with their complexity in a professional and mature way.
“The character that I play is a lot different from who I am, but I always try to find parallels between her and me in order to do her justice. I try to feel her emotions, fears which she doesn’t show, and the indifference which she emits”, said Dina Abazović who plays Ljiljana „The Countess“.
Marija Jeknić, who plays Slavica, said that this topic is one which she did not know much about due to her upbringing, but she tried her best to relate to her character.
The “Zahumlje” auditorium was full, and the audience was not indifferent to the way the amateur actors depicted the emotional and melancholic stories of the children.