More than a quarter century since I thought I was finished with my theatrical experiences, THE PROFESSIONAl, a play I translated and adapted for American and English stages in June 1990, has come back to life. This time, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, courtesy of Michael Staley, the play’s director, and a group of Colorado theater enthusiasts.
Here’s a message I just received from Michael:
“Hi Bob! I hope that your trip is going nicely? Thank you so much for adapting “The Professional” and sharing your experiences with us! We had great fun and really gave our audiences something to think about! Best, Michael”
“I am currently enjoying your adaptation and translation of “The Professional.” We first staged it in college in 1996 and now I’m bringing it back to the Chief Theater in Steamboat Springs, CO (we are putting it on again later this month).”
Michael asked me if I could offer him some “words of wisdom” or comments about my work on this drama so he could share them with the cast and the audience. I sent him the link to the story about my FIRST SIX BRUSHES WITH THE THEATER WORLD.
SERENDIPITY ON STEROIDS
I was amazed. Earlier the same day I had mentioned my work in the theater world and THE PROFESSIONAL to Elizabeth. It was serendipity on steroids! I had not thought or talked about this play for years. Maybe decades. The last premiere I attended was in New York in 1995.
And I thought that was it. I had moved on to other endeavors in my life.
Evidently it was not to be the end. Because this weekend (Sep 21-23, 2017), THE PROFESSIONAL was revived again in Colorado.
Here are some more pictures Michael has sent me from that performance.
An excerpt from…
My first brush with the theater world took place in January 1990, on my second visit to Yugoslavia, after a voluntary exile from its communist government for nearly 20 years. Getting involved in theater was the last thing on my mind when I agreed to attend a premiere of a new play, THE PROFESSIONAL, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. on January 10, 1990.
Back then, Yugoslavia was still a communist country. So the theater was full of important government officials on the opening night. I had just met the playwright the day before, who invited me to attend and said he would make sure I get a ticket even if he “had to take it out of the hands of a politician.”
The play moved me to tears. Here’s what I wrote about that unforgettable experience six months later, on July 4, 1990:
“It was a typical cold January (10th) night in Belgrade. At 19:30, Miodrag Perisic, editor of “Literary News,” his wife Zhanetta, a teacher of world literature, and I met for a prearranged cab ride from Studentski Trg (the Students’ Square) to the Zvezdara Theater. Earlier that day, Perisic had given me a message from Dusan Kovacevic, the author and director of the play Professional.” He said he’d get me a ticket to tonight’s opening performance “even if he’d have to lift it from the pocket of some high-ranking politician.”
At the time, I had no idea who this “Kovacevic” was, what the play was about, or why I — an American and a Yugoslav emigre who had not been back to his country of birth for nearly 20 years — should rank higher than a local politician. I agreed to go to the premier basically for two reasons. Because I’ve always liked theater, and because I felt a sense of allegiance with Perisic, the person who invited me and who, as I had just found out, like myself, faced Tito’s Communist police and the army during the 1968 student uprising at the Belgrade University.
For more, see… http://altzar.org/Drama-professional.html
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS PRODUCTION CREDITS
“The Professional” (A “Tragi-Comedy”)
Written by DUSAN KOVACEVIC
Translated/Adapted by BOB DJURDJEVIC
Chief Players’ Cast:
Teya – KIRK AIGNER
Luke – CHAD McGOWN
Marta – SARAH LAPING-GARLAND
Lunatic – HOWARD BASHINSKI
Gypsies – AVERY CAVENDER, CHRISTIAN NIEVES
Chief Players’ Crew:
Director/Producer – MICHAEL EDWARD STALEY
Stage Manager – ROBIN DAVID
Production Designers – DANNY DAVID, A.J. JENNINGS
Scenic Artist – ANNA BAGLEY
Technical Wizardry – LOCK McSHANE
Carpentry – KYLE NOBLETT, CHAD McGOWN, & CHRISTOPHER WADOPIAN
Artistic Executives – SABRINA STEWART, BETH BLASKOVICH
Additional Costuming by – SANDY PUGH
Make-Up Artistry by – CAROLINE WILSON
Properties – AMANDA MARQUART, AVERY CAVENDER, HOWARD BASHINSKI, MAGGIE WHITTUM, MICHAEL EDWARD STALEY, PEGGY AIGNER, ROBIN DAVID, THOMAS MILLER, RYAN FLEMING, SABRINA STEWART, HARWIGS, & CHAD MCGOWN
Poster – TORI NICKLES
Program – SHANNON PARKER
Theatrical Producer – SCOTT PARKER
*”The Professional” (complete with didascalias) opened in San Francisco, CA in July 1992, in London, England in November 1992, and at the Off-Broadway Circle Repertory Theater in Manhattan, New York in May 1995.