. . . oscar wild said, is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but also it is the return of art to life. the world revolves around the serbian national theater in novi sad. or at least, our world does. i saw my first performance at the theater on my first full day here in novi sad. the serb's colleague, joanna, is one of a quartet starring in painkillers, a play about sex, style, suicide, philandering and prescription drugs. afterward the serb led me backstage, where prop masters were gathering the benches, white tea sets, and autumn leaves that comprised the play's backdrop. past a reading room, where actors in full makeup, fresh from the stage, compared notes. past the makeup room, the orchestra pit, and down an empty flight of stairs. through the main lobby, where the concierge, otherwise known as the only short man in serbia, kissed my hand multiple times and called me beautiful twice as much in the space of the 30 seconds it took the serb to greet him. i felt like the quarterback's girlfriend. the winding road led us to trema, or 'stage fright', one of two clubs attached to the theater. i collected 20 new facebook friends, drank 5 test tubes of candy colored rakia, and rocked steady to a ska band. the next night, back at the theater. this time in club sterijca where absolute romance, a band of gypsy origin, played a mix of traditional music and pop rock classics, substituting every other lyric with my name. it's so cold here i can feel it through the soles of my feet. with boots and 2 pairs of insulated socks on. but the theater feels like mulled wine and slow burning logs. i shot the following vid of absolute romance singing their special remix of serb classic, "leyla", last night.
serbian serenade from ieishah clelland on Vimeo.