S C E N A : T h e a t r e ..A r t s ..R e v i e w
Novi Sad, 2008 . ..No. 21 . .January-December . .YU ISSN 0036-5743 .

d r a m a
Milena - Minja BOGAVAC
NICE & EASY / 3,4... NOW!
slam tragedy of the pathetic new-generation poetics
Translated by Goran Mimica and Therese Davies


Authoress, dramaturge, poetess
Born in 1982 in Belgrade, Milena Bogavac graduated from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Department of Dramaturgy. Together with director Jelena Bogavac she founded the DMS (Drama Mental Studio) theatre company, where she works as a dramaturge, writer, ideologist, performer and assistant director. The troupe has actualised over 30 artistic projects in Belgrade theatres and at festivals throughout Europe.
Produced and/or published plays: North Force, Red, Fake Porno (Bitef Theatre); Dear Daddy (Yugoslav Drama Theatre; National Theatre in Pirot); Fairy Tale on Electricity (Pinokio); Everybody Else (Det Apne Teatret, Oslo; Radio Belgrade II); Tdz or A First Three-pointer (published in ‘Teatron’ magazine, performance in preparation); The Planet Earth and Doctor Time (produced by EPS and Blumen group); The Overperformance (oneact drama in English, performed as part of the project ‘Europa am park’ at the Biennale in Wiesbaden); Ballerina/Gamma Cas and others...
Her plays have been translated into foreign languages, included in anthologies and presented at festivals in Avignon, New York, London, Leeds, Wiesbaden, Bratislava, Mostar, etc. As a dramaturge Milena has collaborated with a number of directors and adapted the works of Aristophanes, Gogol, Moma Kapor, Eve Ensler, Ksistof Bizjo, Dusanka Stojanovic, Aca Popovic... She has received the ‘Josip Kuludzic’ Award for ‘remarkable achievements in the field of theatre’ at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, while her drama Dear Daddy won first prize at the competition for the best contemporary play of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre. She also writes and performs slam poetry, and her first poem collection EPP was published by SCC in Novi Sad. She is the selector of EX TEATAR FEST, the festival of experimental and low-budget theatre in Pancevo; she is artistic director of the summer entertainment festival BEOGRADILISTE COOLTURE at Ada Ciganlija and a co-founder of the series of POCKET FESTIVALS OF FREE CIVIC THOUGHT at the Bitef Theatre. She is a permanent associate of Bitef and the Bitef Theatre, a member of the SFW NEW DRAMA group, and one of the editors of the website dedicated to the promotion of young national writers. Together with the authors from this group, she has led several workshops for the development of drama text. She is a contributor to the ‘Vecernje novosti’ daily newspaper, and her texts, stories and documentary prose are regularly published in periodicals.

Translated by Lidija Kapičić

Dramaturgical note

There are several reasons why Milena Bogavac’s drama 3,4...NOW! bears the subhead ‘Collapse of the tragic pathos of the new-generations’ poetics’ – and all of them are more or less based on the very text of the drama: irony, new romanticism, poetics of fragments, hopelessness, the contrast of the generational idiom to (critic)al discourse, discontinued plot. However, the essential reason surely – or at least the reason which bears an essential connection to the deep ‘profile’ of the text – lies in the need to ‘attest’ the protagonists’ antilife through the anti/para/pseudo language they speak (and equally, or perhaps even more, the language speaks them.)
Heroes of the drama we are talking about – let us stay a little longer in the ‘parallel’, to use the jargon of the authoress – are members of an urban /metropolitan/ youth editorial of the Radio ZOO - fans of hiphop and/or the ‘slam’ poetry: Staša, the host of the programme 3,4...NOW!, together with Rizla and Kreč. They live in an interspace, which is a visual metaphor of the language (speech, radio-media), but also in an interim, which is a paraphrase/copy of life. Characterised not as much by their personalities and goals, but by (life-aesthetic) inclinations and rhetoric, the three protagonists are put against, generally speaking, an ‘antagonistic trio’: Popadić (manager), Jasna (typical young poetess), and Diša (head of the Radio ZOO). Tegla, a critic by vocation, is somewhere in between: symbolically in every respect, both for (metacritical) position of the authoress, and for the position of the very (classical) notion of Art in drama.
In fact, the plot, that is the general plan of events in 3,4...NOW! is openly classical in one layer: the heroine/Staša - the programme host, a captive of ‘slam’ poetry - and her two comrades are more and more decisively crossing the boarder of provocation – in communication with the audiences, as well as in their attitude towards Diša and the rest of the authorities – until, more by an accumulation of events than a logical twist, they end up in a space of a tragic (for Staša) and crushing (for the others) finale. To what extent is this layer/plot/tragic feature important to the authoress – ‘incorporated’ as ‘I’ in the cast (as a dramatis personae) of the drama with a functional dose of irony? To a certain extent, more accurately, to the extent that can be allowed by the combination of the other two layers: postdramatic elements and idiomatic-rhetoric games.
The strategy of postdramatic is not exhausted in the contrast of the mentioned ‘visualisation of sound’ and psychologically based motivation which links the two character-‘trios’; nor is it exhausted in the effective leitmotif of the ‘sound workshop’ (off-sequences of editing which articulate the information jungle of the political underground, zodiac prophecies, family passions, and muscular, sports-music turbolence) as a ‘bearer of reality’ (in a naturalistic sense). For Milena Bogavac, imaginative but risky strategic post – the expression can be taken in its meaning in drama theory, as well as bloggers’ terminology, at the same time! – is reflected in a double effort: to destroy (stage) space, but also to recreate (poetic, hip-hop, slammer) poetic speech as the reverse side of the very act/process/state. So, both poetry and nihilism – but do we necessarily get nihilistic poetry out of this encounter?

The answer is more positive as far as the internal contradictoriness of the characterisation: Staša’s state of being torn apart between prose, aggressive activism and the media poetic rhetoric (that is, addressing the imaginary and real, theatrical audience) – which partially seems justified in the case of Kreč’s character as well. The same answer is less reliable and fruitful if we consider the dimension of the clash between these two dimensions with the ‘third party’ – Diša (as a caricature of the ‘media mogul’), Jasna and Popadić, and finally with the phantom-like enforced social framework, embodied in ‘cops’ who ‘are chasing pot’. Why is this, more poetically deepened than innovative, more stylistically divergent than ironically playful, ‘double twist’ not placed in some more convincing spaces of critically postmedia, or at least, postcritical? Seeking ramification of characters, events and tensions, simultaneously constantly renewing the constructive poetic elements, not only of the dialogue but the atmosphere as well (rhythm, rhyme of the verses, predictable spirit of rebellion, generation-wise logical de-tabooing), the authoress, satisfying herself with multi-vocality as polyphony, even with ‘stereophony’, stops half way towards disco(rd)phony: if tragedy is enough for some, for them irony can achieve effective, but mostly tactical aims. However, perfect tactics – and we are dealing with one here – is the best preparation for a new strategy.
Svetislav JOVANOV

Translated by Lidija Kapičić

Everything is happening in a radio studio and in off. What happens in other locations happens in a theatre. On the proscenium. Or in the audience. On the steps. Somewhere on the side. In the video beam, too. Everything’s happening this week. Or last week, too.
Or next week.
Now, never and always.
Every week.
Or is it the same week over and over?
A normal week in Belgrade.
A totally normal week, which has lasted for years.
Time has stopped. Only the children grow up.
Whatever that means. For sure it means something.


ZOO Radio studio, egg boxes covering the walls. Graffiti. Smoke. Chairs, a table and overflowing ashtrays. Two wrecked microphones. Real ones. Glass. A mixer table behind the glass. There is a chair for the sound man behind the mixer table. The soundman has his back to the audience.
On the floor there is a rotten mattress and a blanket. Empty bottles, plastic glasses. On the glass separating the soundman there is a message written in lipstick 103.4 FM ZOO.



Little STAŠA. 23. She is not little anymore but they call her little. A poetess. No, no. A SLAM POETESS, I’d like to emphasize that. A final-year literature student in a crisis. Stuck two exams before the end. Author and host of the “cult” broadcast 3,4...NOW...What else about Staša? She is from downtown. Her parents are intellectuals. She has always been a good student, she has been brought up as an intellectual snob, many professors and many, many others consider her talented. When her first book was published they just shook their heads. “She could have been the new Desanka.” (Desanka Maksimović (1989-1993), Serbian poetess.) Staša laughed. “Every peasant writes like Desanka”. That’s how she put it. Though she has nothing against Desanka. In fact, this is who Staša really is: an encyclopaedia in baggy trousers. A smart kid, though chronically ill with manifesting newgeneration poetics. Something like late puberty. Staša is proof that fiction (poetry in particular) is devastating for a female child’s education. True enough, every morning Staša promises her dad and mum and herself that she is going to study. Well, she is not stupid or lazy! At least school has never been a problem for her. Then she goes to the radio station...and there goes the day.

MC RIZLA SUPERSTAR. 25. HC MC. The better half of the “cult” hip-hop band BG KALADONT. The power behind the throne of youth radio. The power behind the throne of Belgrade clubbing. A tramp, I’d like to emphasize. And add: “RASCAL”. Once upon a time he enrolled at some university. To avoid military service. He can’t remember which one. So he says.
A suburban child. Working class. Both crazy and a friend. A dickhead and a cunt. All in all, he hasn’t had it bad in life. In his life, of course. That’s him. If he wasn’t an MC he wouldn’t be anybody. If he was better educated he would never have become an MC. So, not bad. Not bad at all... Kids go crazy for his rhymes, girls for his baby face. Rizla is a city boy. No more nor less than that. He wakes up in the morning, rolls a joint. Throws rhymes in the air...and there goes the day.

MC KREČ GANG CUFA MEGA DIGITAL BOY. 26. He is an MC too. And a kind of DJ too. The less talented half of the “cult” hip-hop band BG Kaladont. He’s a city boy too. A good looking guy, they say. Kids are not that crazy about his rhymes. But the girls are gone, so they go crazy for anything. He exchanged petty criminal puberty for making hip-hop demos. A child of immigrant workers. Lives with his grandma. Poor grandma! Poor mother! Mum and Dad send cash from Germania. Kreč buys equipment, and drugs. Lately, less and less equipment... If you ask him he’d say that he has nothing to say about himself. Wouldn’t emphasize anything. Others could say contradictions about him. He used to study. Tourism High School. Then dropped out. Mum and Dad don’t know about this, they work hard, and send money... ”No day in my life is the same”, he raps, “I whiz faster than light, ‘cos I am a digital boy”. It all comes to the same thing. All those parties, slags, drugs, drugs, drugs...and there goes the day.

TEGLA. 23. In fact, Nikolaj Vučo. He signs his articles with his real name, though he doesn’t get angry if they call him Tegla. (Tegla means jar in Serbian.) Staša, probably, gave him this nickname. Because he wears specs. And he’s a nerd. A columnist. A critic and theoretician. An essayist. A scholar and top of the class. A General Intellectual Practitioner. Little Father Time. Staša’s desk mate. In fact: ex. He graduated long ago. Of course, he enrolled in postgraduate courses. Of course he received a grant. Two grants. The time to become a Master is near. And soon he’ll be working at the university. He is really smart. And very thin. He suffers from acne, asthma, astigmatism...and so on, in alphabetical order, through the encyclopaedia of diseases. Let’s stop at the letter H. Hypochondriac. Deep down he has always believed Staša would marry him. Not right away, day when he becomes the Minister of Culture. But he made a mistake. A big mistake for the top of the class. The history of literature teaches us that poetesses never marry ministers of culture. At least not good poetesses. When I say good I mean brave... Cos who knows if Staša is a good poetess? He misses her. He worries about her, but has no courage to follow her... He studies, writes, reads, works... Listens to Staša on the radio...and there goes the day.

Jovan POPADIĆ. 25. Nothing worse than when a young man introduces himself with his surname. But, Popadić knows there is. He doesn’t take drugs. He likes suits. He is about to graduate in Law, he is politically active, he is president of the Young Conservatives, he studies and works as a PR for Maxi Cineplex. Studies and works. Imagine! Both studies and works. He is keen and businesslike. The way the little Joca imagines a yuppie. His intentions are pure. His mother is a housewife, his father an engineer. He’s got a girlfriend. A nice, pale and quiet girl. He is glad that she doesn’t dye her hair, uses make-up discreetly and is frigid. They like going to the cinema, and hot chocolate. Joca likes watching football. Doesn’t drink or smoke. Doesn’t use taxis. His vice is mum’s fried tripe in sauce. He likes doughnuts too. Joca is a straight young man. He likes order and everything in order. He wouldn’t mind being a Fascist, but it simply hasn’t occurred to him. He has no time, because, you see: he studies and works. In a flash, there goes the day.

JASNA Stojanović. 20. So young and already... provincial. Came from Stig, which (like all other things in life) is not an accident. It’s enough to remind you that Stig, Braničevo, or whatever its name is...was the birth place of our poetess Desanka. What? Stig and Braničevo are not the same? Really?! Never mind. She says that she really respects Desanka Maksimović. She could recite, in the middle of the night, her poem Strepnja...or at least the first stanza. If she knew how to sing she would never have gone to high school. But, Jasna writes poetry. She goes deep into the subject of love, so she doesn’t have much time to study. Unlike her two fat roommates from the dorm, Jasna is thin. No breasts, but as soon as she makes the first mill those will grow too. Then she’ll be a real woman. Until then she’ll have to make do... It’s not easy to be a girl in the big city, but Jasna knows one thing. She is not going back home. Never! In the morning she puts some make-up on, in front of the big mirror above the sink. Puts curlers in, puts on heels, off she goes to lectures...she always hitchhikes... because you never know where a girl’s luck lies...maybe today she’ll be picked up by the right guy?... Maybe today’s her lucky day.

DIŠA aka PREZ. Just like all men in a midlife crisis – he believes he is young. How old is he? Obsolete question? Prez is a regular in the gym. He is also a regular in the beauty parlour. He dresses casually. Youthfully. The way he believes is youthful. He plucks his eyebrows. He has still got his hair (when he thinks about it he touches wood, he could touch his head, it’s the same thing). Prez likes his clever head. Everything he’s got he did thanks to it. And he’s got a dozen I-am-a-child-from-the-provinces complexes. When he was younger he used to write novels. Average novels. In the 1990s he distinguished himself in the struggle for democracy, so it was logical that after October 5 he received a director’s post. Not in any special institution. To be a director of a Youth Organisation is just slightly above being the director of a kindergarten. But, Prez doesn’t see it like that. Perhaps the YO is a kindergarten, but it’s in the city budget. It’s an important cultural centre for young people. It has a stage, a club, a radio station, a publishing house... They organise loads of events. Youth is youth...they don’t ask for pay. It’s a good opportunity to put something extra in your pocket. And remain young, at least until the end of his term. Still Prez is not totally negative! In the beginning, when he “liberated” this kindergarten, he had the best intentions. He gave “toys” to the children! To play with. How he could know about today’s kids? He didn’t know, he couldn’t have known, that the moment they entered the protective fence, they would smash all the toys... And here we are. At the essential question. What does Prez prefer? The children that destroy their toys or being the Director? It’s a rhetorical question...”Give me good kids and I’ll show you what kind of parent I am!” All in all... You painted the walls for nothing!


GRANDMA. Between 70 and 150. Neighbour. Partisan Medal holder.
MIŠA aka MIŠOMOR – SOUNDMAN. Without lines, face or spine. Without sense.
CHARACTER FROM THE GHETTO. Young and crazy. Fervent listener of ZOO Radio.
ORTAĆ FROM THE HILL. Young and stupid. Fervent listener of the ZOO Radio.
MISTER TOST. Fast and dexterous. MC, bleater on ZOO Radio.

ME – squeezed between the lines, between the parentheses in the stage directions, lengthy introductions to the characters, but nevertheless responsible for the bad rhymes of all the good poets in this play. Me, confused by the question as to whether this is a play at all, this is poetry, is it possible you’ll believe me? am I ever going to graduate, with what grade, for whom, why? At the end and in the beginning I dedicate this play to all those I adore, all those I love more than myself, I believe all those that believe in me, I won’t doubt, I won’t question, I wish to grow up, to be stubborn, to become wiser and to say farewell to the generation, to the poetry of the generation, to slam poetry and swearing. And let me admit I sweated hard, this play made me sick, and in school and the theatre I haven’t learned anything more than I already knew---blah, blah, blah.

Darkness. From it you can hear
Tuning different radio stations.
Static noise, crackling and buzzing through which, occasionally, clear sound comes...the Moravac (A famous Serbian folk tune.) folk tune...crackling ... A newsreader: “...a young man has died in clashes between two groups of football supporters. According to witnesses, he was killed by a shot to the stomach, two hours after the final whistle, in general fighting between supporters...” crackling... Adverts.
Female voice: “I am really happy and I don’t have any major problems...” crackling ... HOST: “Ten sets of two tickets for this fantastic play, will be given away to whoever calls...” Beethoven’s Ode To Joy...crackling. Feedback.
The first light on the stage comes from a lighter...On the mattress, on the floor, Rizla is trying to light the stub of a joint...he burns himself with the lighter and smoke, swears. Stamps out the joint...
...crackling ... NEWSREADER: “Unofficially, the young man died while trying to retrieve a flag snatched by the rival gang”... Moravac tune... crackling ... feedback. This time the feedback is irritatingly long...
The stage is gradually lit. The door opens and Staša and Kreč enter. They look at each other confused. Kreč plugs his ears. Rushes to the empty mixer table, fixes something. The feedback stops. The door remains open.
Jingle – STAŠA: This is ZOO radio. Don’t change the station!

STAŠA: Fuck, shit...Rizla? (Kicks Rizla’s mattress) Get up, mate. You’ve been sleeping with feedback...
RIZLA: What feedback?...What’s the time?
KREČ: Moron, you’ll wash your own brain. You’ll go deaf.
RIZLA: What’s up, man...What’s the time?
STAŠA: No idea...Around 7.
RIZLA: In the morning?
KREČ: In the morning, bro.
RIZLA: Who’s got a fag?... You already up?
KREČ: We haven’t gone to bed.
STAŠA: We’ve been down at the cop shop, Rizla. Giving statements.
KREČ: Look at this, mate. Papers!
RIZLA (Gives him the papers): Wow, shit! This is you...(Looks at Staša) Last night?
KREČ: Read, man, read...See this: “Crash at Slam...” Read! You are mentioned... Read... look: “Serbia is the only country in the world where a poetry evening ends up in fisticuffs”...
STAŠA: “Fisticuffs”, can your hear Tegla...
RIZLA: Tegla wrote it?
KREČ: Nope, Jerry Springer!...
RIZLA (Reads): “The biggest applause was for, as usual, Staša ...” As usual? “the most prominent poetess of the younger generation, whose book HARD CORE is a particular sub..subl..
STAŠA (From memory): ...Sublimation of generation poetics.
RIZLA: Wow, fuck.
STAŠA: Hard Core sublimation.
Positive criticism
Wrecked generation
Sick poetics...
Keep on reading...from here...Look. This! Read this.
RIZLA: It doesn’t say who did the backing track for this sublimation? Doesn’t say anything about us...I mean, about Kreč...
STAŠA: Read this!... You see? This.
RIZLA: ...“then a chair flew at the stage. Rizla MC grabs the mike, the superstar of the Belgrade hip-hop scene...” Superstar. If I hadn’t read this I would never have known that I am the tsar.
STAŠA: Keep reading, go on, the best is coming!
RIZLA (Reads): “...whom you can hear every day on 103.4 FM.” Aaaaarghh!!!!
STAŠA: This has to go in the show, in the show...Huh?
KREČ: Yeah, bro, read! C’mon!
RIZLA: Miša is coming at 10.
KREČ: I’ll be the soundman. “Morning headlines”.
RIZLA: How mainstream!
KREČ: Sure, mainstream, we have become totally mainstream... Look, we are in the papers. Two pages. And where? In the culture and events section. Look at this, we...boors.
RIZLA: I don’t know who’s a boor. I have happened.
(Kreč leaves, sits in the soundman’s place)
RIZLA: What happened then?
STAŠA: What – what happened? I went to the police station. Two hours.
RIZLA: So what, you think you are a national hero now?
STAŠA: I am not a national hero, but imagine me in the station. Hello.
RIZLA: Did you sign your name on the wall?
STAŠA (Genuinely surprised): How do you know?
(A strong morning hip-hop backing track starts...)
KREČ: Let’s go live...
(Staša and Rizla continue talking on air)
RIZLA: Good morning, workers of Serbia and Fruška Gora (A mountain in Serbia ) ...
If you are sleeping, fuck it, wake up.
I hope your clocks went off
...but if you are awake...
go and put on the coff.
STAŠA: Put on the coff and hear what’s going off! We have a culturish programme for you today... so you can’t say we just swear on the air...
RIZLA (Freestyle.): We smoke foot-long spliffs... There’s a draught in the radio, ...And the wind whiffs (puts on a kid’s voice) “Mum, the wind is lucky. It blows all the time - Shut up, you little faggot, your mum is a whore!
(Staša laughs at the freestyle)
STAŠA: Yo, nigger! From today on we’ve got a show with a concept?
RIZLA: We are gorgeous today.
I vom in the bath,
To clog the sink
(Staša looks at him)
mmm, yeah...we are fucking cultural, no, no... Culturecock!
STAŠA: So, here we do you say?...We start with the headlines from the daily press...
The news of the day: Dolce and Gabbana broke up... Like this... Title: Crash at the Slam. Writes Nikolaj Vučo aka Tegla.
RIZLA: When I see him I start vomming!
STAŠA: Read, Rizla!
RIZLA: Why me?
STAŠA: Punishment. What’s up? Can’t you read?
RIZLA: Fuck you, girl. So: “Crash at the Slam... Serbia is the only country in the world where a poetry evening ends up in fisticuffs...blah, blah... By definition poetry evenings are not interesting. Poets who take themselves seriously, papers and glasses in front of them, uptight hosts, heavy words and complicated metaphors.”...
C’mon, this is a bore... Let’s skip this...
STAŠA: Read, read it all...
RIZLA: Disbelief. Meaning: “In order to avoid this cliché, in 1985 a poet Mark Spith...
STAŠA: Smith!
RIZLA: Smith Bull Terrier...”started a series of poetry evenings called slam contest. He chose bridge and baseball terminology, in order to liven up po-ims...”
Fucking poets, what else could they do when hip-hop was spreading?
STAŠA: Read it, hopper! What do you know about poetry?
RIZLA: I don’t know anything about poetry, huh? Listen to you... No, only you and Tegla know... Kreč, can you hear her bullshit? I don’t know anything about poetry? Me?
STAŠA: Yo, kel... We read nicely. It’s not gonna be you but me who’ll have to talk to Prez later. Now read. That’s a new concept.
RIZLA: ”A slam contest is imagined as a competition of poets...”, Versefighting. Ha! “...who recite poetry in clubs, in front of an audience. The audience, through their reaction, decide the winner. This approach to poetry triggered a new artistic expression. That’s why slam poetry is ironic, non-pretentious, socially eng...
STAŠA: Engaged.
RIZLA: “Engaged – and critical, often full of swear words, no shit, “made up of easy rhymes”... Do I really have to read this?
STAŠA: The author of this article is on a Ministry of Culture grant...
RIZLA (Throws away the papers): I can’t read this, man, they’ll connect us with the Ministry. I have to think about my reputation... (Staša and Kreč are laughing). Do you know in what kind of state you live in, you monkeys? I don’t want to touch these papers...
Go away... (Crumples up the papers and throws them away). So, we read nothing. Instead, now, a prominent poetess is going to throw a bunch of freestyles...
STAŠA: What does that mean?
RIZLA: 3,4...NOW. You know very well what it means...
STAŠA: Like, I’ve got to?
RIZLA: If you know how to, then throw it in. If you don’t know, throw yourself on your face. Are you an MC or not?
STAŠA: I am not. You are.
RIZLA: I am.
STAŠA: I get it... Kreč, play something...
(Kreč turns the music up, Staša gets into the backing track.)
Tegla, my mate,
you totally dissipate,
you talk at such a rate,
you ain’t said shit,
if you know a tit,
who doesn’t know slam
tune the dial to
103.4 FM....
Today’s lyrics
Curse - Equilibrix
We say nothin’
We don’t need critics.
From theory of words
We switched to praxity
Fuck it, brother, all you got at university!
No bread
No dough
No sense
No go
From A to Zed
The same dread
Theory’s dead
If I choose, I choose prax
When the atmosphere sucks
You can enjoy fucks.
(Staša finishes. Kreč blasts the music, then turns it down. He gives Staša the thumbs up. )
RIZLA (Envious): Not bad that part with the fucks...
(Staša picks up the papers)
STAŠA: It’s meta for.
(She is silent.)
Ok...then...we skip all of this, we read only things about me alone now, Rizla, this is selfpromotion, so: “The biggest applause was for Staša, the most prominent poetess of the younger generation, whose recently published collection of poetry HARD CORE is a particular sublimation of generation poetics!!!” She’s doing signings – here at the radio station...
RIZLA: Stop by, so she can sign your dicks...
STAŠA: Not even my initials would fit on yours! Stop by so I can sign your copy.
RIZLA: Pull my dick, Cos I started a fuss!... Watch this, Kreč, play the muz...
(Kreč turns up the backing track, Rizla starts his freestyle)
...On the stage a girl was there
In front of her
Fell a chair
She didn’t look bad
But wouldn’t give me her pussy bare.
I chucked the chair
Cos my head’s full of air.
There was a scandal
Cos I am a vandal...
After the chair I threw a stand-al...
There was a brawl
Cos of the tab-all.
A babe on the stage
Slipped and fell
She shat herself like hell.
Her rhymes are horror
Cutie, get out of there
And go and bleach your hair.
I am hearing a great show,
I’ll smack my nose,
I can’t stand ’hos
That seem like what they are not
Suck my salami
First wipe your snot!
I’m the King Riz
I’ve got the gift of the fizz,
Where I am is never a bore
I am real HARD CORE.
...Now, I picked a fight
with her younger bro,
He made my chin happy
With a mighty blow.
It was all by the book
I returned with a hook
The scum gathered around
To give us a thrash...
Bottles broke and glass
Thugs gathered
Wanting to kick my ass
If it wasn’t for Stash,
Who calmed down the trash
Into my face
A beer bottle would smash...
I prefer the beer
To the bottle
I prefer ganja to beer
Fuck you lot!
(He looks pissed off at Staša. Staša takes the mike and continues the show.)
STAŠA: I swear that’s the way it went...
Then the action stops,
And in burst the cops.
Rizla scrammed – evaporation.
Gone and went to the radio station.
He didn’t notice the feedback sound.
Like every schmuck in town
The babe was not around.
Lucky I didn’t get ‘im
I would have wrecked ‘im
Cos after 15 pints of beer,
Anybody can call names,
Make faces and pick fights with no fear
Then, it’ll be all my fault, dear.
Fools in blue,
When they drool on my head,
Next time you get wasted
Vom in the bucket
Don’t involve me, fuck it
It’s not OK. Really.
RIZLA: Without the brawl it would be a fuckin’ bore. Wouldn’t it?
(Staša takes off her headphones, speaks off air)
STAŠA: Imagine...imagine I start a brawl at one of your gigz. Would that be ok?
RIZLA: Start one. I don’t give a shit.
STAŠA: Yeah. Know what you would do?
RIZLA: I’d fly off the stage
And kick your arse.
and when the pigs charged
I’d make a farce.
STAŠA: Cut the rhymes! Every time I ask you something serious, you rhyme, you play dumb. No probs. We could rhyme the whole conversation, Rizla, you and I. 1 to 1. You see... But when someone else is throwing rhymes you throw a chair on the stage. Fuck it, Rizla! It’s not cool. It’s not cool to turn the poetry evening into the ultimate fight.
RIZLA: It’s Serbia, man, Belgrade!!! The whole world ain’t your fucking university. What were you thinking? You should have organised the poetry evening in the Public Library.
STAŠA: A slam contest is a club event.
RIZLA: Welcome to the club.
(Staša looks at him. It goes dark.)

Tuning different radio stations ... noise, crackling, stronger or weaker frequencies... Like last time, occasionally a clear sound can be heard... FEMALE VOICE: “Alas, a husband is not forever. Only diamonds and kids are, ha, ha, ha...!” noise... NEWSREADER: “...the police said the weapon that killed a 20-year-old hooligan after yesterday’s derby still hasn’t been found...” “When a Bosnian kisses...” noise... Jingle: RIZLA: “103.4 FM to the max!”
(From the darkness, spotlight on Rizla)


RIZLA (Monologue): This is the point...the point is that everybody’s shitty. ZOO Radio has no censorship, man. If there is no censorship why’s everyone a cunt? Little Staša, she came yesterday. Me, Kreč, all these rappers...we’ve been here, bro, since the beginning. Do you know how she got here? Me neither. In fact, I do know. I know she shagged Prez. But the strange thing is that she doesn’t shag anyone... Kreč, Mister Tost, Me, Vonj, Little Mire from the think it wasn’t interesting at the beginning? Like, there’s a new babe on the radio. There’ve been others before... They host Cockney shows about fashion, like, culture, like “What am I gonna cook today, what was I gonna cook yesterday.” Come yesterday, babe!... None stayed longer than two stints. Zoo is not that kind of radio station. And little Staša? She came with a folder, man. The chick carries a folder. Watch this: she’s gonna host a show about slam poetry. Before her shit I had never heard of slam. I mean, she calls it slam, I call it freestyle. That’s what it’s been from the beginning...we’ve been pushing it for seven years. Classic theft!...
And you know the worst thing? Everyone digs it... First, you can’t get a free phone line. On Sundays they start calling at 5, and demand Miša puts them on the waiting list. Second, Kreč. My best mate. He makes special backing tracks for the show, her show and he’s done the show a thousand times. Miša goes to sleep. Mr Tost and Staša have become mates. I ask Tost, man, I know what’s he like, we have worked on 10 songs together, I ask him: Are you shagging her? You know what he says? He says: Are you crazy, she’s not my mate. I ask Kreč. He says: she is not a slag, she digs rhymes all the way... Ok, fine. That about rhymes...she’s not bad... But she constantly pushes know what I mean? She wants to put everything in a folder! Like suddenly she knows everything about hip-hop. Get that! Her book is called HARD CORE. Get that! I asked her: has your grandpa left you Hard Core? Kreč made a backing track for her, and there she is, at slam. Her, she’s got a hip-hop show! She organised it herself. And, like, everyone’s talking about her. She can leave it whenever she wants. Does it like a hobby. I saw her once on TV, She talked like an academic... I mean, man, like an academic, and then she comes here and throws rhymes: she doesn’t pull the dick out of her mouth... Yo, bro, her Hard Core is not Lil’ Kim. I am hard core. Little Staša, and all of that...that’s all bullshit. Don’t you get it?
Crackling...the same jingle from the beginning of the monologue.
RIZLA: “103.4 FM to the max”.


The stage is lit. Rizla and Staša are in the same places as before. Kreč is in the studio, behind the mike. Miša aka Mišomor – Soundman, is sitting in the soundman’s place. He is having breakfast.
KREČ (Raps on air.)
We had a studio
Now we’ve got our soundman friends,
We put together radio
From different odds and ends
But behind the Plexiglass
Appeared a cool badass
Miša aka Mišomor
He’s munching a cheese bun.
Mišo, give me YO,
Mišo, you can do your show
Say YO, say YO
Yo for real radiYO!
Cos we had a studio,
Now we’ve got our soundman friends...
RIZLA (On air): We’ve got the soundman, but no grass.
KREČ (Off air): ...Bro, I’m telling you. We have tried to call Crni Two Tickers. We’ve been there, bro. No Crni. No idea...
RIZLA: Maybe he’s sleeping.
KREČ: Crni does not sleep. At night.
RIZLA: Maybe he fell asleep?
KREČ: Sure, yeah.
RIZLA: Maybe he fell asleep.
STAŠA: Maybe he fell?
KREČ: Puh...puh... No, Crni hasn’t fallen. He’s just paranoid. He changes his number every day. Yeah, but look... I called his mate. I don’t know... Neither are answering. Since yesterday.
RIZLA: I hate that, bro. What does it mean, man, that your dealer hasn’t answered his cell for two days? No, man, no. We gonna cut the collaboration...
STAŠA: Ooooh, as if you have a sponsorship contract.
RIZLA: Well, in some way we do... I’m gonna call him... Watch this! (On air) Crrrniiii! Crrrniiii! Crniiiii, we loooooove youuuu! Give us a call, CRNI!
(Miša’s showing that they’ve got someone on the line))
RIZLA: Phone? What did I tell you?!
(On air)
...and is that Mister Crni, the blackest, the craziest, the strongest, the most dangerous dealer on the BG scene!... Helloooo!
(Rizla, Kreč and Staša look at each other, barely able to control their laughter)
STAŠA: Good morning, neighbour, how are you today?... Have you paid your electricity bill?
(Rizla, Kreč and Staša hold back their laugher, just so that they can hear what Grandma is saying.)
RIZLA: It’s gone 8 o’clock, Grandma...we thought you’d died...
RIZLA: What have you given? What the fuck have you given?
STAŠA (Excited, to Kreč and Rizla but on air ): ...Fuck, Grandma’s shooting pentameter...Epic!
STAŠA: “Wait, Grandma, wait, go back to...”When I get hold of your louse-ridden hair...”
(Staša jumps in excitement, delighted by Grandma’s slam. She takes out a notebook and pen and writes it down. Rizla and Kreč are laughing. )
RIZLA (On air): Graaaaaandmaaaaaa! Wait till I get there and screw you like a bear!
RIZLA (Through laughter): Grandma, you are crazy, man, put down the phone, I am waiting for my dealer to call...
RIZLA: Dealer, Grandma, dealer. I am waiting for Crni to call! Because of you I can’t get shit...drugs, Grandmaaaa!
STAŠA (To Kreč, off air ): Awesome...Tell me!
RIZLA: Fuck you, Grandma!
RIZLA: Yo, man, c’mon, free the line...Fuck it.
STAŠA: I am here, Grandma. What do you want?
STAŠA: For what? For your music request? Just say it... Something different today, huh?
STAŠA: Sure, Grandma, it’s ready on our playlist...
RIZLA: Just say which one... Would you like Comrade Tito, We Pledge Ourselves?
STAŠA: Here it comes, Grandma...
KREČ: Know what?
KREČ: I am off to score.
(Kreč rushes out, Rizla and Staša remain alone. )
The interrupted phone signal gets louder and ... this is how
(Rizla is about to say something, when the sound effect interrupts him. Rizla and Staša look towards Miša, the soundman who’s signalling something to them )
STAŠA: What?
RIZLA: Prez wants a report.
(Staša rolls her eyes.)
RIZLA: Prez is calling Staša,
Staša is called by Prez
She’s been a bad girl – she’ll have to do what he sayz.
STAŠA: Suck me.
(Music. Darkness.)

Office desk. Prez and Staša.
PREZ: Good morning, Staša. Slept enough?
(Staša stays silent.)
That thing in the station, that thing resembling a bed, at an angle, did you notice it? One can’t resist lying down, stretching. I know, I know. I was taken by, the Others, yes... Maybe something’s changed? Has it?
(Staša’s silent)
I know it hasn’t. That’s on purpose! I am telling you. It’s set up on purpose so it kills your brain. Perfidious method. Yes. What, why are you looking at me like that? Sit.
(Staša sits)
What was our deal?
STAŠA: For yesterday?
PREZ: In general.
STAŠA: General?
PREZ: When you arrived here, in this office, for the first time. We made a deal. What was it? That we are for...? Changes! Good, how did you understand that?
STAŠA: Well, it’s changed.
PREZ: What has changed?
STAŠA: Rizla says...and the others... They say that everything’s changed.
PREZ: Now we’ve got police not once, but six times a month. That’s what’s changed.
STAŠA: And the ratings?
PREZ: What ratings?
STAŠA: The whole city is listening...
PREZ: What city?... This is a transistor, not a radio station. You can’t hear it outside the neighbourhood.
STAŠA: Not true! It just seems like that because the Grandma who doesn’t want to hang up keeps blocking our lines. Last week someone from Lazarevac called.
PREZ: He might be from Lazarevac but he called from the bar in this building.
STAŠA: You were listening?
PREZ: Ristić called me from the City Hall. He asked: are you listening to this?...
STAŠA: Ristić listens to us? From City Hall?
PREZ: I almost had a heart attack when I heard what you were doing!
STAŠA: What?
PREZ: Sweaty pussy. “Cavity’s in tooth four – pussy’s got a sore!” What kind of disgusting things are these?
STAŠA: What can I do? I didn’t say that! I am not responsible for the rhymes some moron from Lazarevac is piling up together!
PREZ: It’s your show!
STAŠA: What am I supposed to do? To beep every time someone swears? Anyway: what is the swearword in all of this? Cavity? Pussy? Sore?
PREZ: It’s not a swear word but it’s a bad word.
STAŠA: Sore?
PREZ: Yes!
STAŠA: A bad word? ... Hmm. Does menstruation sound better? “Cavity’s in tooth four– pussy’s got menstruation!”
PREZ: You shouldn’t have given him a prize!
STAŠA: The jury decides.
PREZ: Jury? Thugs from the radio and that little one...who gets on my nerves...what’s his name? Vučo, isn’t it?
STAŠA: So, what now? We won’t have anybody on the radio who gets on your nerves. Shall we call Ristić from City Hall? For the jury. If you don’t mind.
(Prez slams his fist on the table.)
PREZ: Enough! Since when have you had such a big trap!? I called you in so you can help me! To slowly change our profile...not just the radio, but the whole institution.
(He slams a folder on the table, takes a paper out of it)
“With gradual improvements and the addition of new content, the Youth Organisation could become an important cultural centre, a place where young intellectuals gather.” You wrote that.
STAŠA: We are sticking to the concept.
PREZ: I’ve noticed... Yesterday a group of young intellectuals in blue gathered.
STAŠA: I didn’t start the fight!
PREZ: No? Who did then?
(Staša’s silent)
Who started the fight? You are responsible. So, who? Tell me!
STAŠA: I don’t know.
PREZ: Listen carefully, Anastasia. This is not just one of your games. You’ve got a week to get serious! You are either gonna make a normal show, or it’s not gonna be you who makes it.
STAŠA: Have you got someone in mind? Cheaper, maybe?
PREZ: Cheaper, yes.
STAŠA: Since I’ve been here nobody’s been paid.
PREZ: You’ve cost me my mind! I expect. That. From today on. On 103.4 I will hear a normal show!
STAŠA: Define: normal.
PREZ: Sorry?
(Staša’s silent.)
PREZ: Did you understand what I said?
STAŠA: Yes... (Stands up.)
PREZ: Where are you going?
STAŠA: To make a normal show. I’ll read today’s weather forecast for the neighbourhood.
PREZ: Wait... Look, there’s more...
(He pulls out a thick pink notebook. It looks like a little girl’s diary. Staša looks warily at Prez and the diary.)
This is, uhhh, my... cousin’s... In fact, man’s cousin’s. She writes poetry, you know. Very talented. We are publishing her book next month... Here...there... It needs to be retyped... So, I thought, if you could...
STAŠA: Retype it?
PREZ: Write a review of it. In a couple of days. Is that ok?
(Staša opens it.)
STAŠA: I’ll have to read it first... (picks it up). I’ll let you know.
PREZ: Oh, no. No. That stays here. I’ll get it retyped. I’ll email it to you, when I get it...
STAŠA: So, what do you mean in a couple of days?
PREZ: She’s a lovely girl... Anyway, you’ll hear about it. In the show. Tonight.
STAŠA: In my show?
PREZ: In the jury. Yes.
STAŠA: You invited her on my show?
PREZ: We should promote her. Her book’s coming out. We are the publishers. Why are you looking at me like that? Go...c’mon. I’ll call you when she’s here...

Tuning different radio stations ... noise, crackling, stronger or weaker frequencies... Like last time, occasionally a clear sound can be heard... FEMALE VOICE: “Alas, a husband is not forever. Only diamonds and kids are, ha, ha, ha...!” noise... NEWSREADER: “...the police said the weapon that killed a 20-year-old hooligan after yesterday’s derby still hasn’t been found...” When a Bosnian kisses... noise... NEWSREADER: “A large quantity of drugs has been seized and is believed to...” Rigoletto...crackling... ASTROLOGER: “Can you hear me? In the first house you have all the bad planets. Can you hear me?” Turbodance music... NEWSREADER: “There are only seven pairs of tickets left for the premiere of...” crackling... Rigoletto...crackling... HC thing.


Rizla. Browsing through the papers. Kreč comes in wearing a helmet. In a leather jacket. Takes off the helmet. Sits. Takes a little packet from his pocket. Rizla stares at it, then at Kreč, then again at the packet, then at Kreč.
KREČ: Fuck.
RIZLA: What’s that, bro?
KREČ: Fuck, bro.
RIZLA: Did you get hold of Crni?
(Kreč shakes his head)
KREČ: C...Crni’s gone. Erase his cell number. Huge mess! Disappeared. Get it?
(Rizla opens the packet, there’s a white powder in it.)
RIZLA: And this?
KREČ: A local kid gave it to me. For zilch. Like, he only listens to ZOO Radio.
RIZLA: Coke?
KREČ: No. Something new. MDMA. Pure ecstasy. In fact, the ecstasy part of ecstasy. Supposedly, the max.
(Rizla spills some of the powder on the table, makes a line.)
KREČ: Not so much. The kid said to be careful.
(Rizla makes the line thinner, each of them makes his own line. They look at each other. The stroboscope starts. Darkness.)


Staša alone. Dials a number... Ringing... Then: spotlight on Tegla.
STAŠA: Tegla?... I saw the papers... What’s up?
(Tegla yawns)
TEGLA: Hey...just woke up. I was writing till dawn... Wait... I have them too. The papers. My mum left them. (Rustles the papers, puts on his glasses). Good. The text looks fine... Idiotic headline... I wrote 3,4,Now!, they scrapped it...
STAŠA: When did you scram?
TEGLA: ...When they took you and Kreč away...a bit later...maybe 5 minutes...
STAŠA: They took me to the police station.
TEGLA: Really?
STAŠA: Awful. A fat pig tried to feel me up. He hit me. I kept looking for you.
TEGLA: Yeah, well, I’d already gone.
STAŠA: Thanks a lot.
TEGLA: I had to write. The first one I published, your photo is great, what more do you want? Besides, I’ve got a cold, so I called a cab and...
TEGLA: Why are you angry?
STAŠA: I am not angry!
TEGLA: I had to go... I wasn’t feeling well, and the level of testosterone...
STAŠA: I am coming from Prez’s office.
TEGLA: Yeah?
STAŠA: You know what a stinker he is? He read my concept out loud, reminded me of my responsibilities, like...he’s gonna fire all of us...the pigs are coming.
TEGLA: Sure, yes. Normal. What did you expect? That he was gonna tell you: respect!... Logical developments.
STAŠA: Cut the crap. Nonsense. He wants to put in one of his cousins, he is publishing her book, he wants me to write the review.
TEGLA: Good. You’ll write it. That’s the job.
STAŠA: But, her poetry is crap. Super crap.
TEGLA: So what?
(Staša’s silent.)
It’s not a university press, but the YO. I don’t see a problem.
STAŠA: Yo, Vučo? Fuck you, man.
(Staša hangs up. The light goes off. Only Tegla remains lit...Looks at the phone and puts it down. Adjusts his glasses.)


TEGLA (Monologue): On one aesthetic level it functions. Like Angelina Jolie’s roles: a babe who dares to do everything but nothing matters. I’ve seen that film, everybody has ... But, I wouldn’t watch it every day! Not much content in that form. I thought at first it was just a phase. That it was research, she’ll get bored...fall in love with a rapper... Girls do. It’s just that she fell in love with herself, not some guy. You know, like: her life, like: ratings growing, like: they recognize her around town, she hangs out with rappers, gets involved in scandals, swears... Despises traditional culture. Urbanism at all costs. A sort of nihilism. When the first problem comes, suddenly she’s above the situation. It’s all part of the iconography, if that’s her choice, then that’s her choice. Way to go. What does she expect me to say? She started taking drugs. Yesterday everyone could see the way the evening ended up. She was pretentious, her show arrogant, she was stoned, the moment I saw her I knew she didn’t have it under control. Herself, not the other nuts.
A while ago she used to smoke grass, now she kills herself with anything. I am afraid to even ask her. Sometimes I prefer not to meet her. Of course, I love her. Staša is... Staša’s my colleague. From university. I wrote her paper on subculture.
(The phone rings. Tegla looks at the display, realises it’s Staša.)
STAŠA: Come here tonight on the show.
TEGLA: I don’t know... I’ve got a lot to do. I am writing a literary review for...
STAŠA: Please, come!
STAŠA: Because I haven’t slept! I am freaking out! I am gonna make a mess. And he wants to cancel the show. Please, come.


(Stroboscope. Loud music. The door opens, Staša comes in. Rizla and Kreč look at her. They look stoned. Staša gets angry. When she slams the door the stroboscope stops. )
RIZLA: What happened, bro?
STAŠA: Prez said more taking drugs in the studio.
KREČ: Who did he say it to? Not to me.
(He and Rizla burst out laughing, then Staša joins them.)
STAŠA: I am just saying...
(Kreč makes a little line for her, she snorts. Lifts her head. Stroboscope. )
RIZLA: I am gonna do what I want where I want! This is fucking ZOO! Get it?
(Rizla gets up, takes the mike. Backing track starts.)


RIZLA: What’s up, bro, I don’t take no shit!
I am OK, I don’t want no change in it!
Mum bullshits I am smelly and a lazy twit
I like scoffin’ jelly and
The bachelor image I fit.
I’ll do what I want and I take no stick
Rizla BJ coming to you live
I wank rhymes like I wank my dick.
For the local nobs my dick is wood!
Everyone respects me in the neighbourhood,
And the Town and around.
Dealers with style give me stuff for free.
I profit cos a bastard is what I wanna be.
I’ve got a tonne of killer skills
Like McCartney Paul!
If I had a licence I’d buy Vauxhall
And drive like a gentleman,
Not to wear out my footsole.
Shit: no money to take the exam
A superstar, though a miner’s son I am.
When dad goes off digging down in the pit
I take from my stash 5 grams of hash.
I spike my mum’s meal with shit
At the table my head’s full of dope
I am fucked like an antelope.
Rizla’s the MC, the tsar of hip-hop
Armed with my cock
You all I’m gonna fuck!
...Is that clear? It means: I do what I want where I want.

Crackling... NEWSREADER: “The unfortunate case of the death of the 20-year-old man has forced us to think about in what kind of surroundings the new generation is growing up”...crackling... Folk theme... crackling...Turbo-folk tune... NEWSREADER: ”This family of eight still lives in a one bedroom flat, with no child benefits or ...” crackling ... ASTROLOGER: “I can see it clearly, you are under a curse, but listen, this curse shouldn’t worry you...” crackling...classic pop tune...crackling... POLITICIAN: “...because, our people never had a flag, a coat of arms or a national anthem until recently...we didn’t even know the name of our country...” crackling...Mozart... MALE VOICE: “An advantage was given to the bid from the company owned by the minister’s brother-in-law”...a tune from an old film... POLITICIAN: (emotionally) “It is of great importance that Serbia votes. It is the right and duty of every citizen...” crackling...Wagner... STAŠA: “Following the Place For Culture campaign, and in accordance with this radio station’s latest programme concept, here in our studio is...


STAŠA: ...Even a young man in a suit. I feel like being formal with you.
(The scene becomes lit. Besides Staša, Rizla and Kreč, there is also Popadić.)
POPADIĆ: Hello. No need to be formal, I think we all know each other, and the audience knows very well that our friendship has been full of nice moments... and that they have been accompanied, so to speak, by various offers, which film lovers are familiar with...
(Staša, Rizla and Kreč look at each other, while Popadić continues to chat.)
STAŠA: Wait, wait... Your name is?
POPADIĆ: I am Popadić, Jovan Popadić and I am here on behalf of my house... that is, of course, my distribution/production house Dee Vision...
RIZLA: Didn’t you use to work in the cinema?
POPADIĆ: It wasn’t just any cinema, but the Maxi Cineplex, which, as you know, has a five-year contract with Dee Vision. For shows in the Maxi Cineplex, Dee Vision, through its media sponsors, gives away 3 pairs of tickets for blockbusters... Considering the fact that ZOO Radio is one of our most faithful media sponsors...and because we consider your listeners, therefore young people, the most faithful audience, so this week, to mark the third anniversary of Dee Vision we have prepared an extra surprise. We are giving away 5 pairs of tickets for the hilarious film Never Without Popcorn.
KREČ: Fuck, bro, you know this by heart. I get it, every time you say the same...
RIZLA: Yeah, yeah, are talking rubbish. When you come in I feel like I’ve swallowed Prozac. I want to listen to you, I swear on my grandma’s life, I do...But when you talk like that, bro, I just fall asleep.
KREČ: Have you thought about rhyming?
POPADIĆ: What do you mean rhyming?
KREČ: Maxi Cineplex works like an axe
A cool chick’s on the till
We had sex.
M&M’s are my favourite snacks
No popcorn, I eat only corn flax.
POPADIĆ (Sour smile.): Talking about popcorn... Never Without Popcorn is a comedy...
KREČ: Wait, wait...listen to this...Wait! So...
I am Popadić, a high profile PR chum
I wear suits not like a bum
My shoes say: I’ve got the means
Mum and dad still wash my jeans.
I like crispy pork flesh.
I freak out when I hear DEPECHE
Come and see the film
So it hits you like a flash.
A dick for sponsorbabes, a ticket for trash.
STAŠA (Applauds.): Woooow! That was Kreč’s freestyle dedicated to our guest. Let’s get back to our subject. You said “media sponsors,” didn’t you?
POPADIĆ: Yes, yes. I have to say that I am flattered by this unexpected poem...dedicated to me...Ha! Before I say more about the film, I’d like to give one ticket
(Looks at Kreč) to the poet. So, you can pick it up at the cinema from 7 o’clock on.
RIZLA: What about a ticket for me?
POPADIĆ: The show starts at 8.
RIZLA: And mine?
STAŠA: Wait, Rizla, wait... I’ve got a question. A serious one.
STAŠA: What exactly is a media sponsor?.. I mean, I understand sponsor... Like,
Our sponsor is Jagger Mick,
On air we say: he is cool, he is quick.
RIZLA: No, no...
When I get a grip on the goods in time
Within half an hour I knock out a nasty rhyme.
My dealer sponsors my LP creation
Gives me credit for the culture of the nation...
(Rizla and Kreč high-five each other. )
POPADIĆ: Hmmm. I see that the atmosphere is informal... I don’t think it’s hard to explain. Media sponsorship is like friendship
RIZLA (Pathetically spreads his arms): My friend?
(Popadić ignores him.)
POPADIĆ: Like when a company, in this case Dee Vision Maxi Cineplex, offers certain services in exchange for media space...
RIZLA: Friend?
POPADIĆ: ...something like that. I didn’t expect such a question from the media...But I think my answer is relatively precise.
RIZLA: My friend, where’s my ticket? Where is my Maxi Cineplex ticket? Why does only Kreč get one?... He can’t go to the cinema by himself!
POPADIĆ: He got it from me personally, because of the poem he performed...
RIZLA: I can do one... Will you give me your personal ticket then?
POPADIĆ: Personal ticket?
RIZLA: You give me a ticket personally!
POPADIĆ: I think it’s time I went...
RIZLA: Sit, sit, sit... Sit, listen... Miša, play something, Miša!
(Miša waves, plays a slow backing track. Staša and Kreč are trying to stop Popadić who wants to leave)
Gianni, you look like shit: Versace Gianni!
Pants instead of tie: you look funny.
“Your studio stinks, show has no concept”
I ask myself how you can be so inept!?
Popadić, sponsor, a high profile guy
Like a Manga cartoon you bulge your eye!
You go for the door,
Cos you’re a slow bore
Radio is not your stable.
Everyday you look at me like I am a fool, disabled
Give us the tickets, thanks, there’s the door!
Here there is a state of total war.
Call a taxi for Cineplex Maxi
You, peasant, you are yuck
The fact is you are a fuck!
(Popadić leaves the studio angrily, Staša tries to stop him. )
STAŠA: Wait! Wait! Wait! Where are you going?
POPADIĆ: I don’t see the reason to behave like that.
STAŠA: The reason is deeply rooted in mentality and social repression. What reason? There is no reason! Where are you going? Wait. That’s right. C’mon, easy. How many tickets? What did you say?
POPADIĆ: Five pairs of tickets for the first people to call in.
STAŠA: There you have it, call now. You’ve heard it.
POPADIĆ: Goodbye...
KREČ: And change your tie
It hangs there, but why?
You dress like our Prez,
Who sits upstez.
If you throw rhymes at me
Plug your ears with cotton
And with lettuce, your bottom!
RIZLA: See you tomorrow, mate, huh?
POPADIĆ: No way. This is not radio this...this is simply nonsense.
KREČ: What a jingle! Say it again, c’mon... So that Miša can record it... Miša?
(Popadić leaves and slams the door... Rizla and Kreč are laughing their heads off, Staša too. She sits behind the mike, like a real host, clears her throat and continues in a businesslike tone.)
STAŠA: You’ve been listening to BG KALADONT feat. Popadić on the Maxi Cineplex single Five Times Two Tickets. Do we have a caller? What do you say, Miša? ...Ok. Good morning, neighbour.
STAŠA: Grandma, he’s a nice boy, every word he says is a proverb. Now, would you like to go to the cinema?
STAŠA: Then hang up, please...
STAŠA: Maybe someone wants the tickets?
STAŠA: How much have you got? Five tonnes of pickles...
STAŠA: Children are starving in Africa.
STAŠA: Don’t you get it, Grandma, we don’t have it! We don’t play folk, we don’t have Dolly Parton, fucking hell! Something easier! More recent! Something electro, hc, ask for hip-hop and we’ll play it.
RIZLA (Grabs the mike.): Listen, Graaaaaaandmaaaa! I’ll cut your phone line into pieces, you old walrus!
STAŠA: Grandma, pleeeeeeease, hang up! Pleeeeeeeease!
(Silence on the other end.)
KREČ: Old bat! I’ll get on her intercom!
(He runs out of the studio, his jacket remains on the chair.)
STAŠA: Grandma, man, don’t be a cunt!
RIZLA: Has she hung up?
(Miša shakes his the background we can hear the intercom buzzing.)
(Grandma cuts the connection)
RIZLA: Call whoever you want, you proletarian walrus!

Changing stations...noise...crackling...noise... crackling...

Changing stations...noise. NEWSREADER READING IN A COLD VOICE: “The Government is denying allegations of fraud regarding the budget. The police are continuing their search for the culprits involved in yesterday’s murder after the football match – two suspects”... the voice fades away... gets distorted... crackling...” Do that to me, uhhhhh! Do it, ahhhh!” Rolling Stones...noise... FEMALE VOICE: “Well, sure, sure... once upon a time vices were secret and virtues public. Today it is the opposite. There are girls who don’t want to be poor girls so they put on the mask of naughty girls who want it all and ...” ANOTHER VOICE: “Yes, but what do you think about the problem of tying up?...” noise... adverts: MALE VOICE: Wow, I am knackered. Nothing’s going right in my life.” FEMALE VOICE: “Ha! You’ve got dandruff! Looks like you’ve never heard of...” crackling...


Prez, Staša, Jasna.
PREZ: Staša... This is Jasna.
JASNA: I’ve got your book, but had no time to read it. But I decided: no sleeping tonight. I eat poems! Devour them!
STAŠA: Don’t do it with mine. They have many calories.
(Jasna and Prez burst out laughing.)
PREZ: What would you like to drink, Staša?
STAŠA: Nothing.
(Prez looks at Jasna.)
JASNA: Nothing for me either...Fine. Some tea is fine. Any.
PREZ (On the phone): It’s me. Earl Grey and...mineral water. Still. Sure you don’t want anything?
(Staša shakes her head. )
A beer? It’s good for a hangover. Sorry. Just saying. (to Jasna) Staša had an adventure last night.
JASNA: Ouch, I heard about it, my God... I hate that!... When people are aggressive, most of all... But I am a cure for those. I ask right away: what do you want? Directly! I ask: what’s up? Don’t talk to me like that. That’s how I put it, I swear.
STAŠA: Yeah. Pity you weren’t being a poet and all.
JASNA: Well, yeah... I’m sorry. But I never publicly... I mean I’ve never recited in public...
STAŠA: Have you ever listened to the show?
JASNA (to Prez): In our neighbourhood you can only hear crackling. Whether the signal is weak or my radio... though my flatmate’s got... music, you know like, MP3 and DVD she’s got it all, and even she can’t get it. (to Staša) And I wanted, uhhm, since I’m gonna be on the show, a whole month, I’ve been trying...
PREZ: Who’s in the jury?
STAŠA: Nikolaj Vučo. Do you know him?
JASNA: Him? The critic? (Staša nods.) I know him, yeah. From TV.
PREZ: Him again?
STAŠA: Through connections.
PREZ: Well, let’s hope an imbecile doesn’t win again!
STAŠA (Gets up.): If Yesenin turns up, he’ll win for sure... I’m off. See you, down there.
(Staša leaves. Prez and Jasna remain alone. He gestures to her to sit on his lap. She smiles. Staša comes back. They are surprised.)
STAŠA: They say there isn’t any camomile tea.

1, 2... 2, 2... 3, 2... 4, 2... 1, 3... 2, 3... 3, 3... 4,3...
1,4... 2,4... 3, 4... 3, 4...
3, 4... NOW!
Anger. Protest. Test.
freestylers, versists, fists, rappers, outsiders
Ready? 3, 4... NOW!


Suddenly the light comes on.
Staša, Tegla, Jasna.
Rizla is sitting to one side. Miša is sitting in the soundman’s place.
Kreč’s jacket is drying on Staša‘s chair. Jasna is holding a notebook.
STAŠA: Shall we start?
MIŠA: Now.
STAŠA: Hey! Here we are again. In the 3, 4...NOW show. There are 15 characters on the waiting list: wait a bit longer, the intro is gonna be a bit longer. I’m Staša and I’ve been arrested. I think I’m the first person in history, if not in history then in local geography to be arrested for slam poetry, though many poets have been arrested for various forms of poetic expression. So for our first theme I suggest CRIME IN POETRY. What kind of society is it where poetry can be a crime? Or could lead to crime? Or, more precisely: art and dictatorship. On my right we have Tegla. Nikolaj Vučo. Literary critic, publicist, columnist, essayist, art and media theoretician.
TEGLA: Wannabe.
STAŠA: Falsely modest, as usual. What’s new?
TEGLA: I don’t know what’s new, because I’m more often on the show than you are. I was here last week, so I think I’ve become some kind of 3, 4...NOW furniture. But what appears to be new is the approach. If I’m not mistaken last week’s theme was “sweaty pussy,” this week, I think, we are trying to deal with much more serious social, socio-artistic and theoretical discourse.
STAŠA: A new invitation you should understand as a resit, considering the fact that last week the prize was given to a boy whose verses were questioned even by the City Hall. It seems that “sweaty pussy” was too potent a theme for our society. After that, we’ve received threats to close down the radio station.
RIZLA: From who, man?
STAŠA: Not to repeat the same mistake... on my far right is... Jasna?
JASNA: Good evening.
STAŠA: Jasna, who?
JASNA: Jasna Stojanović.
STAŠA: Jasna is a young poetess... Have you published anything?
JASNA: Not yet. But it’s coming...
STAŠA: From what’ve understood today, the Youth Organisation is publishing your first collection, isn’t it?
JASNA: Yes. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who believed in me, but also this house and your radio station, though I’m not being falsely modest, talking about my poems, I think it has been easier than I expected. The book is coming out in two weeks and will be lovely, not just the content but also the look of it.
STAŠA: In your response I heard the word “lovely”. What does this have to do with aesthetic Beauty in its fundamental definition, therefore in its Hegelian, basic and classic difference between quality and intensity?... What are the aesthetic references of your verses? When you talk about “easiness”, “easier than I expected,” I think you are touching something that concerns us here at this station, and that is a certain formation of generational poetics...Easiness, again in the aesthetic sense, is an important characteristic of slam, the youngest and the newest, the not-yet-of-age poetic genre that came to us as a part of hip-hop cultural “packet”... or perhaps as a consequence of the expansion of this culture. The apparent easiness of “slamming,” I’d say, hides its “deadly” message because slam tends to present the heaviest content in the most banal way. Exactly this easiness and superficial meaninglessness of slam poetry hide a grim and nauseating feeling of a world in which nothing has value.
(Everyone looks at Staša confusedly, even Tegla! He is not confused at what she said but how she said it. Jasna is confused because she doesn’t know what the question was.)
JASNA: I’m sorry, could you repeat the question?
STAŠA: I still haven’t asked it. The question is: When you said “lovely” and “easy,” you didn’t mean aesthetics but the practical frame in which your collection will emerge into the grey light of our white city, is that right?
JASNA: Well, yes. Yes. I’ve been writing for several years and I’m interested in literature but I can’t imagine how my poems are going to be recognised...of course it’s up to the readers to recognise me in them, and they can like it or not, but...
STAŠA: But the binding is important, isn’t it? Library of Congress, ISBN, bar code, public library catalogue number... How did you find the publisher?
JASNA: My publisher is the Youth Organisation, YO... I am, in fact...
STAŠA: Miša, how many characters are on the waiting list? 35? 35 boys and girls call this show every week, hoping to find a publisher. They recite billions of verses, verbal drainage, beautiful poetic passages, on any subject... in different styles. With skill rather than style. With laughter. A bit more pain... and there aren’t many of them who’ve had a chance to publish something. And there are those whose aim is not to. (Looks at Rizla) Respect! You’ve never performed your poetry, never sent it in to literary competitions, you can’t type, which excludes the possibility of you publishing on the Internet, and still what you write is going to be published, in hardback. How sure are you that your poetry is worth cutting down one birch tree? Which is more intense – the image of the birch swaying in the wind or a poetic image from your collection? What is going to give us more air – photosynthesis or your verses? Isn’t the printing of trivial poetry collections also a crime?
(Gets up.)
Against all those on the waiting list!
Against Rizla, who sleeps in the radio station!
Against Tegla, who has no time except to read, think and write!
Against Kreč and his dad, who works in Vienna so that shit like this can be sponsored!
Microphones and daily drug supplies for the rap scene characters.
Isn’t supporting bad art worse than bad art itself?
It’s a crime!!!!
Not a literary evening that ends up in a brawl, but a literary evening that ends up with a cocktail, where every sandwich is a masterpiece compared with what we just heard.
Against the City Hall budget!
Against taxpayers!
You don’t go to jail for a publishing flop, but for tax evasion, there’s no escape!
Against the tree that will be cut down!
Against the shelf on which the book will lie, forgotten.
Wouldn’t it be better to burn it?
Burnt by thunder transformed into fire, smoke, humus, cosmos, eternity, Logos.
That’s the theme.
Is there or isn’t there any in a post theory of relativity world.
Postconsumerism, transition, the Internet.
If no-one has any benefits from it. If it doesn’t provoke.
If it doesn’t irritate. If it’s not capable of leading to crime. If it’s so delicate, decadent.
It means it’s superfluous!
(Everyone looks at Staša. She is silent. Tegla starts clapping, no-one joins in. Staša looks at him, he stops clapping. She lights a cigarette. Sits.)
Who’s calling?


STAŠA: Yo, man. Who’s that?
STAŠA: Where are you, boss? Ready?
(The backing track starts)
STAŠA: 3, 4... NOW!
Chetnik, the other a Partisan,
I am a delinquent boy, I am under age, man.
Born in Ex-Yu, grown in Socialist Serbia
Lived in Serbia and Montenegro, never moved from
My dad can’t bite, he’s a useless geezer,
I’ve got no money for a visa.
Every day I eat a burger-cheeser.
While in the downtown bars
Some guys are knocking back a breezer.
Fake rappers go crazy
And I’ve had enough.
I stick rizlas together
With my local buddies I have a puff.
This is Serbia!
My address and all.
Better ZOO Radio
Than MESAM (MESAM is an annual music festival in Belgrade.) Festival.
If I’ve got the theme – yes I have,
If not then who gives a toss
At least I don’t suck up to the boss
Prez doesn’t fuck me across.
STAŠA: Good job, mate.
TEGLA: Strong grip on reality, current social and historical context...
(Jasna’s silent.)
STAŠA: Let’s go...Hello?
MR TOST: Hey? So, you are totally crazy, meaning...I jumped the waiting list.
STAŠA: Is that Mr Tost?
MR TOST: Yeah, yeah, yeah...C’mon, Miša, play that track so I can rock in freestyle.
STAŠA: 3, 4...
I go downtown, I stare at the babes, the heels they wear, grannies with curlers in their hair, tough boys who cry for mummy, their left hand holding a dummy, their right gripping, squeezing a big Tommy. I enter the store and order an éclair, when they bill me I feel despair, like screaming, I booze – I don’t unscrew, I blow a fuse, I don’t vote because they all lose. When my mother hears my CD mix – she freaks, her heart plays tricks! As a little boy I used to come home late, they never punished me, and that has sealed my fate, there’s no time anymore to educate.
TEGLA: Look, Tost, you are the star. This is your style, it’s...You know, I don’t know how much it’s about performance and speed, and how much about objective literary value, and what, in fact, are we judging?
STAŠA: Judge whatever you want, who gives a fuck.
TEGLA: The top.
STAŠA: Jasna?
JASNA: This is really...good.
STAŠA: You are next.
JASNA: Sorry?
STAŠA: C’mon. Give us something of yours...Track? Go...3,4... NOW.
(Jasna’s turning pages in her notebook.)
STAŠA: 3, 4... NOW. 3, 4... NOW.
JASNA: Just a sec.
STAŠA: 3, 4... ...3, 4...
Well, while you are thinking, who’s calling?
STAŠA: Where are you, the legend of Belgrade hiphop! What do you say about our cultural programme, the whole day?
ORTAĆ FROM THE HILL: I wanna tell you something that’s not for the programme. Where’s Rizla?
(Rizla grabs the headphones and mike.)
RIZLA: What, bro, what’s not for the programme? Say it all on air! That’s freedom!
ORTAĆ FROM THE HILL (Quietly.): Kreč has fallen, bro.
RIZLA: Where did he fall?
STAŠA: Cut it, Miša...cut it...this is not for the programme...
ORTAĆ FROM THE HILL: In the police station! The Grandma called...
STAŠA: Our Grandma?
ORTAĆ FROM THE HILL: Yes...but it turned out that they had been looking for him... Something to do with Crni. He called him a hundred times, Crni had missed calls... I don’t know, something about packaging. The football fan that got wiped out...
RIZLA: Who wiped him out?
ORTAĆ FROM THE HILL: I don’t know. Crni, I guess. There was also a rape in the neighbourhood.
RIZLA: You are bullshitting are shitting...
(CRACKLING AND NOISE GETS LOUDER...POLICE RADIO MIXES IN...the light on the stage flashes, then goes blue...POLICE SIRENS)
ORTAĆ FROM THE HILL: Is that at your place or here?
STAŠA: Fuck.
(She notices Kreč’s jacket, takes it quickly and puts it on.)

crackling, buzzing, police radio, voices
the light on the stage flashes, then goes off
VOICE 1: “All right, your IDs, all of you, one by one...” VOICE 2: “Get in the car”... VOICE 3:”I don’t know”... CRACKLING...tuning radio stations...

the studio door opens, blue light in the background Miša aka Mišomor raises his hands in the air... Jasna leaves first, Tegla follows her, Staša and Rizla look at each other, Rizla leaves, Staša remains in the studio against the wall...
The studio door closes and Staša remains alone. Takes a deep breath. Puts her hands inside the pockets of Kreč’s jacket. Finds a little packet of foil...takes a white lump out of it... The door opens, she jumps and quickly puts the lump in her mouth. Swallows. The door slams. Stroboscope. Staša collapses in the chair next to the mike.

THE CRACKLING, BUZZING AND POLICE SIREN BECOME UNBEARABLY LOUD...tuning radio stations... NEWSREADER: “During a police raid, two suspects accused of murdering the 20-year-old football fan during the clashes between supporters have been arrested”... noise... Turbo-folk tune...noise... NEWSREADER: “In addition to murder he is also being questioned about other serious crimes...” Turbo-folk tune...noise... NEWSREADER: “Dealing and consumption of drugs, burglaries...rape”...noise...crackling... NEWSREADER: “The Police investigation continues... a whole network has been discovered, dealers and consumers of narcotics...” noise... Staša speaks into the mike not realising that it’s turned off.

STAŠA: With this we close our final 3,4...NOW show.
NEWSREADER: “The events of the last week have shown our citizens the increase in crime among our young people...”
STAŠA: ...As if when you wait for something to start...
noise, noise, noise
STAŠA: And then...3,4...NOW. The end comes... Grandma? Are you listening to this, you proletarian walrus? Here...a normal programme!
(Staša spins in the chair.)

...tuning radio stations...crackling and noise...easy listening music...quite long...crackling... FEMALE VOICE: “Parents often make mistakes, they don’t realise that their child is doing drugs. So, spy, sneak...” tuning stations... VOICE: “and now commercials”... noise... folksong: “Your place is wild, even the devil would go crazeeeeeee”... crackling... news in Albanian... noise... tuning stations... NEWSREADER: “A group of hooligans has been arrested at the Zoo Radio station. The body of 20-year-old Anastasija Andrejević has been found. Unofficially, the cause of death is from an unknown narcotic, which will be identified during the autop... crackling, crackling, crackling... FEEDBACK continues for an annoyingly long time, then SILENCE.

Jingle – JASNA: “This is Radio Garden. 103.4. FM stereo. Don’t change the station!”


The stage is lit.
On the chair where Staša was spinning before, Jasna is now spinning. But the chair is not the same. This is a new chair, just like everything else in the room. When the light comes on we find a re-decorated studio. The graffiti has been painted over, the walls are clean and white. New furniture, fancy equipment. New flower pots. A big NO SMOKING sign is on the wall. Miša aka Mišomor sits in the soundman’s chair. Jovan Popadić is opposite Jasna. Both are smiling, glowing with health and happiness.

JASNA: Good morning Belgrade! Good morning Serbia! From today on you can follow our programme in Smederevo, Novi Sad, Požarevac and Vršac. We can be heard in Pančevo and the Belgrade suburbs. Coming up is the weather forecast, the travel news, and the PET show about the most successful young people in Serbia. My name is Jasna Stojanović and Miroljub Mišić aka Miša is our soundman. Miša, how are you today? EEEEExcellent! Before we have a look at today’s headlines, we have a surprise for you. Mr Popadić, the PR of Maxi Cineplex, is with us in the studio.
POPADIĆ: Good morning and thanks for having me. I think we all know each other, and the audience knows very well that our friendship has been full of nice moments...and that they have been accompanied, so to speak, by various offers, which film lovers are familiar with...
JASNA: What surprises does Maxi Cineplex have for us today?
POPADIĆ: As many of you know, Maxi Cineplex has a five-year contract with Dee Vision, a distribution house that brings only blockbusters to our market. For shows in the Maxi Cineplex, Dee Vision, through its media sponsors, gives away 3 pairs of tickets for blockbusters... Considering the fact that GARDEN Radio is one of our most faithful media sponsors...and because we consider your listeners, therefore young people, the most faithful audience, this week we have prepared an extra surprise. We are giving away 5 pairs of tickets to the hilarious film Never Without Popcorn.
JASNA: Even God likes getting stuff for free...And we already have our first caller... Hello, how can I help?
JASNA: Good morning, madam... Although this is a youth station, the whole family listens to us. Are the tickets for you or for your grandchildren?
POPADIĆ: The Maxi Cineplex tickets. Never Without Popcorn is a film for all generations...
JASNA: Here... Grandma can take her grandson with her, can’t she?
JASNA: Whoever asks gets!
(Jasna looks at Miša perplexed, he signals something.)
JASNA: And now... for our special listener... a great song! We’ll be back after this musical interlude.
(In the background we hear FROM SLOVENIA TO MACEDONIA!... Lepa Brena (Lepa Brena is a famous Serbian folk singer from the 1980s.) is replaced by CRACKLING....)


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