RADNIČKA CESTA (WORKERS ROAD)

Digital theater. A never-performed workers’ play. An online mini-series. A 15-fragment film.

The never-performed, two-and-a-half-hour workers’ play RADNIČKA CESTA (WORKERS ROAD) takes place in Croatia, during the Coronacrisis, in the warehouse of a production plant located on Radnička cesta in Zagreb. The characters in this online mini-series belong to different generations and have different hopes and fears, yet all of them are the sons and grandsons of workers from the production sector of the socialist-era planned economy who worked at the same location on Radnička cesta (Workers road) – once a symbol of industry, now transformed into the service and financial center of Zagreb.

Two workers from the plant for the production of electronic components for Chinese 5G generation mobile phones, EDO (Bernard Tomić) and ĐURO (Domagoj Janković), decide to kidnap and kill a corporate consultant who is coming to assess the efficiency of the plant with the end goal of automation or possible profitable liquidation. They envision their act as a political message that will bring back the idea of revolutionary violence as a legitimate form of working-class resistance. Everything is witnessed by the night guard TOMO (Matej Đurđević), who belongs to the “Millennial” generation of highly educated, precarious workers, and who happens to be at the scene. Problems arise when the revolutionaries realize that the corporate consultant they had targeted is neither Chinese, nor American, nor German – that he is not from one of those countries where, according to their prejudices, the winners of corporate competition come from – but a local man FRANJO (Goran Grgic) with whom they share the same language, culture and historical relations.

The questions that this hybrid media work raises are further contextualized through the health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic: What is precarious work, is there a dichotomy between failed manufacturing plants and the post-transition service sector, is there a class consciousness of resistance and engagement or has cynicism prevailed while frustration inevitably forces youth to cross the border? Is the introduction of automation and artificial intelligence in the workplace threatening to further increase polarization and employee insecurity?

We moved away from performing in front of an audience in a physical space to adapt the project to the circumstances of the Coronacrisis. Picture and sound were recorded with an iPhone 12 Pro Max. The digital premiere of the project was streamed on a Telegram channel. A rerun of the digital performance of the never-performed workers’ play is available on the video platform IGTV.

Credits

CREDITS

Author and director: Borut Šeparović / Text and dramaturgy: Ana Prolić, Borut Šeparović / Performers: Bernard Tomić (Edo), Domagoj Janković (Đuro), Matej Đurđević (Tomo), Goran Grgić (Franjo) / Image and sound recording: Borut Šeparović / Image and sound editing and processing: Konrad Mulvaj / Sound & music: MONTAЖ$TROJ/ Photography: Borut Šeparović, Ana Prolić, Konrad Mulvaj / Graphic design: Nikolina Šerbetić Keserić / Intro design: Dejan Oblak / Project partners: ExportdrvoOčna optika LensGeneral SecurityKunst teatarTeatar Exit / Thanks: Bogumil Kulaga, Tena Kolarić and Diana Vitković (makeup), Maro Pitarević, Paul Stubbs, Ivan Brkić, Siniša Patačko, Enimark Ponjević, Nikola Kuprešanin, Antonio Čelan, Tihomir Jukić, Goran Arčabić, Jerko Marčić, Bojan Navojec, Ana Šišmanović / Executive producers: Borut Šeparović, Hrvoje Rodić / Technical direction: Konrad Mulvaj / PR and social networks: MONTAЖ$TROJ / Project funded by: Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of CroatiaCity Office for Culture – City of ZagrebKultura NovaFoundation / Production: MONTAЖ$TROJ

SOURCES

Gregory Burke “Gagarin Way” (1999) / Kazimir Maljevič “Laziness – The Real Truth of Mankind” (1921) / David Graeber “Bullshit Jobs” (2018) / Lupiga.com “Pad radničke klase i rađanje nove alternative” (“The Fall of the Working Class and the Birth of a New Alternative”) (2013) / Hajrudin Hromadžić “Leksikon tranzicije” (“Dictionary of Transition”) (2020)