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Mara & Kata
MARA & KATA
inspired by Petar Kušelj’s radio show At Home With the Gossipmongers and Desa Begović Mrkušić’s book The Gossipmongers of Dubrovnik
Author: Saša Božić
in collaboration with:
MARA: Nataša Dangubić
KATA: Doris Šarić-Kukuljica
Author of the text of the booklet: Antonela Tošić
Parts of the following songs are used in the play Mara & Kata: Tiho je negdje svirala mandolina, Adio Mare, Stare ljubavi, Izašla je zelena naranča, Zbogom ostaj moj cvijete ljubljeni, Kad pjesma zrikavaca zamre and Dubrovačka jesen. We would like to extend our gratitude to their authors for granting us permission to use them.
We would like to thank: Ivana Selmani
Broadcasting of Radio Dubrovnik’s famous show At Home With the Gossipmongers started in the 1960s and many of the citizens still remember how the streets of Dubrovnik would empty during each broadcast. In every episode, the characters of Kata and Mara, played by actresses Žuža Egreny and Desa Begović Mrkušić, were paid a visit by Uncle Pero (played by Renco Perce, afterwards by Tomo Šuljak) and this famous trio would comment on recent events in the city in the form of typical Dubrovnik small talk. The play Mara & Kata was inspired by this popular radio show and accounts of Desa Begović Mrkušić from her book The Gossipmongers of Dubrovnik; it is a story about the mentality of Dubrovnik and the character of its citizens, full of bitter-sweet elements, primarily those that revise and enrich our memories. The play revisits different epochs in Dubrovnik’s history in a non-linear way, taking us from 2020 to 2000, and afterwards into the distant future. Nataša Dangubić and Doris Šarić-Kukuljica take us on an absurd journey through the City from the end of the nineties until the present day, the City that today sails towards its uncertain future.
This theatre project deals with the potential of memory in creating a new theatrical act. The play begins where the original radio recording of Mara and Kata ends.
In the sea of stock characters in Dubrovnik’s literature, the most popular ones have always been parodic counterparts, regardless of whether their relationship was antonymous, like, for example, that of master and servant, cunning man and naïve man, or synonymous like our gossipmongers.
As they thoroughly address each city topic, Mara and Kata sharply and expressively comment on everything: from current political affairs in Croatia, tourist apartment rentals, to their preferred kind of tourists. With their extraordinary skill of jumping from one subject to the next, this Dubrovnik tandem relentlessly criticises everything and everybody with their specific humour, well-timed comic reversals, original language and absurd redefining of the term ‘common everyday wisdom’. As we listen to their dialogue, we witness the creation of a new discourse of gossip which, as it develops, slowly takes on a form of pop-cultural philosophy, available to everyone and easily understandable. Classic, stereotypical gossiping undergoes a sort of metamorphosis into cultural-sociological speculation – of course, at all times keeping its enticing, perky and playful expression. Mara & Kata is also a story about Dubrovnik’s recent history and all its citizens – from politicians who run it to the so-called oriđinali, unique individuals who make it what it is. Omnipresent in all periods, we can learn about their existence both from historical sources and present-day social networks. Or you can simply hear what Mara and Kata have to tell you about them. To illustrate the uniqueness of their conversations, it suffices to say that even the history of the Republic of Dubrovnik, when humorously approached by the gossipmongers, can be perceived from a gossiping point of view. In their discussions about a variety of topics, not even the subject of political correctness is spared, with each of them analysing it in a new, authentic way. By reconsidering Dubrovnik’s way of living in the period from the 1990s onward and all the way into the future, our courtyard analysts continuously open new perspectives as they create the art of endless wasting of time.