Presence of Absence

DAH Theatre
5 December 2013 to 6 December 2013

The performance is part of the project The Power of Remembrance and deals with the post-traumatic memories of family members, especially women, who are missing persons from their immediate environment. Their disappearances are tragic events for individuals and families who have been left in the dark and the only thing they have left is memories and hope for resolution. During the process of resolution, which requires time, the memory fades and erases along with the historical truths that are also being erased. Deep wounds caused by disappearances continue to undermine relations between groups and nations, sometimes decades after such disappearances, and prevent the society to start with the process of healing.

Art, and specifically theatre art is able to record and revive those efforts through the live word and the presence of the performers. The performance Presence of Absence deals with the topics such as: How to make a place for remembrance? What is it that can record absence? How not to repeat the horror that took place, but to create something that allows life to be carried away on a healthier level, at the same time reminding us that those who are responsible for the tragic situation are still unpunished.

By creating the performance and music installations, our aim is to empower women and their families who have gone through the trauma of losing family members and to underline their role in overcoming the trauma, as well as to offer theater as a tool for transforming difficult memories and open dialogue in the process of dealing with the past and building peace in the region.


The performance Presence of Absence

Directing and dramaturgy: Dijana Milošević
: Sanja Krsmanović Tasić and Maja Vujović
: Jugoslav Hadžić
Violin and music for violin:
Nemanja Ajdačić
Sanja Krsmanović Tasić, Ivana Milenović Popović, Nina Norén,  Maja Vujović
Set design
: Neša Paripović
Costume design:
DAH Theater and Maja Marković
Light design
: Milomir Dimitrijević
Assistant director
: Mladen Lukešević
Claudia Bernardi
: Sanja Krsmanović Tasić
Costume manufacture:
Rajka Sokić
Oragnizationa and PR
: Ivana Milenović Popović and Nataša Novaković

The authentic testimonies provided by:  Samra Alić, Olgica Božanić, Ema Čekić, Cica Janković, Dragica Majstorović, Slavica Marinković, Beška Avdić, Ismeta Dardagan, Fadila Grahić, Hahifa Hasanović, Enisa Hasanović, Mirsada Lupić, Mevludin Lupić, Šifa Musić, Ajka Selimović, Mevla Selimović, Suvada Selimović and Zarfa Suljić.

Excerpts from: Circle of Love Over Death: Testimonies of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo by Matilde Mellibovsky; I Remember Julia: Voices of the Disappeared by Eric Stener Carlson; A Single Numberless Death by Nora Strejilević; The Art of Truth-Telling about Authoritarian Rule edited by Ksenija Bilbija, Jo Ellen Fair, Cynthia E. Milton and Leigh A. Payn; On the Heights of Despair by Emil Cioran; Nemesis by Richard Muller; Wisdom from the Earth by Anna Voigt and Nevill Drury; also original texts by the artists of DAH Theater.

DAH Theater would like to thank to Goran Bubalo, Jaya Hartlein, Kenan Karavdić, Snežana Ljubevska, Nataša Novaković, Suvada Selimović, Milena Todorović, Staša Zajović and Women in Black, Danka Sekulović and Aleksandra Stojanović.

DAH Theatre's special thanks go to Lina Vušković and Claudia Bernardi for their support and to Ivana Milenović Popović and Nina Norén for "lending" us their voices. Also to all those who have given us their trust and shared with us their testimonies.

The realization of the project was supported by Kvinna till Kivnna foundation, The city of Belgrade - the department for culture, Reconstruction Women’s Fund, The Municipality of Vračar and the Association of the Independent culture scene of Serbia.


DAH Theatre Research Centre is a professional theatre group, which exists and creates for over twenty two years in Serbia and internationally. The mission of DAH Theatre Research Centre is the examination of the social turmoil, strongly opposing to violence and the mediation between the opposed sides trough art. The work of DAH Theatre Research Centre is focused on the continuing exchange of knowledge, experiences and ideas between artists and participants from different theatre and national traditions.

‘’In the contemporary world, destruction and violence can only be opposed by the creation of sense’’ – motto of DAH Theatre.

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