seven kilometres north-east
is the forthcoming production at the Old Fitzroy Hotel produced by version 1.0
It is the vision primarily of Kym Vercoe
who, in 2008 travelled through what was the old Yugoslavia reconstructed into Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia. Kym fell in love not only with the beauty of the place but the outgoing easy lifestyle of the people and they in turn fell in love with her.
There was however no getting away from the past. Wherever she went in this reconstructed world the memories of the latest implosion of the Balkans were visible. None more so than in the Sarajevo Roses; red concrete markers that pepper the streets of Sarajevo as mute memorials to a not so distant bloody past.
Later Kym returned and visited Bosnia. It was here that the ‘Bridge over the Drina’ and the picturesque view of the Višegrad coalesced into the story that has galvanized into a multimedia exploration of what ultimately is the dark heart of a distant love.
The story is told through a reconstruction of the recollections, true or false, of the people that she has spoken to and drunk with whose space she has shared. In her words, ‘If it meant Slivovitz and coffee for breakfast you couldn’t say no. You arrive at four in the morning at a bar that’s deserted only to be told you’re early.’
What comes across is that this is a very personal trial of discovery, revelation and conviction. It is also the story of a homecoming. ‘What makes me feel more at home in Bosnia than here I can’t say; I just do.’ The catalyst that sparked the story however is to be found in the political intrigue and private deception that haunt this picturesque serpentine river. Višegrad has a past, an ugly secret.
‘If I confronted them with what I now know happened they would deny it; for them it didn’t happen. It’s a closed chapter, whether from paranoia or guilt, it’s still a lie.’
I asked Kym whether she felt it was an acceptable response in the wake of the past. ‘No, it’s not justifiable, it’s certainly not healthy; understandable but you can’t condone it.’
It is from this that the story springs, the need to own a tragedy. That tragedy that may have happened on the other side of the world but it may well have happened here. ‘It’s this revision of the past, the denial of the black arm ban of history; celebrate Anzac but ignore those parts of our history we don’t want to know about. I think that’s really what I’m speaking about.’
It promises to be a moving testimony evoked in video and music. It is intended to capture the warmth and generosity of a people and the magic of the country. At the same time it never lets go of the fact that underneath there ferments a suffering and pain that cries out to be remembered. seven kilometres north-east by version 1.0 previews at the Old Fitzroy Theatre Wed 29 Sept, 2010. Further details»