Glidas Aleksa, the twentyeight years old theatre director from Lithuania, is staying in Novi Sad to co-work with Association “Novo kulutrno naselje” from Novi Sad on an artistic project called “Opening” scheduled for May of 31 th and “First working day” scheduled for 1st of June at 6 pm. He is very successful independent artist in his country, and he came to Serbia to give his knowlagde to our comunity, but also expand hisown.

This is his third time in Novi Sad, because he needed to do research for this project, so I asked him how he decided to do the project in Novi Sad?

The European platform called “Magic carpets” called me to an artist exchange program with 13 different countries. Every country chooses the artist, and mine choosed me. I was asked to come in Novi Sad last year, but I could not come for some reasons, so this year I had to choose between big festival in Latvia, which could be very good for my career, and this event in Novi Sad. I choosed Serbia because I will learn something new about Serbian community, and Latvian comunity is very similarly to Lithuanian one, so there nothing for me to learn there. And also this is my chance to travel, because I do not have time for vacations.

Does staying here looks more like a work or vacation?

It is work for sure, because I do not know how to rest. This project uses all of my knowladge as the theatre director, but I also have knowladge from many others artistic roles that I work and have in life, so here they use everything that I know.

If you give everything that you know, will you learn anything?

Yes, I learned a lot about Serbia, about Balkans, because we do not know anything, we don’t get informations from media in my country. The only thing about Balkans I have heared receantly was that there is Nort Macedonia, and I had to google it to see what country is that. By the way, I findout that on Eurovision song contest.

Did you tried some special Serbian food, or went to some special place that you liked?

Well, yes. I don’t drink a lot and I don’t like strong drinks like rakija, so I tried domestic beer, but they are not so good. What realy amazes me is Serbian relations with meat, because here meat is really tasty, and my friends local artists are taking me to different places measuring my limits of how much I can eat. I came back to one place for several times called something like “Bosnian kebab” or named after some Bosnian city or region.

Banjalučki ćevap, maybe?

Yes, it could be.

Did you learn some Serbian words?

I know “dobro” “jesti” “prijatno” “vidimo se”.

Did you find something characteristic just for Novi Sad?

Well, I don’t know… I can say that people here are super nice and really helpful. Not everyone knows English, but they will try their best to explane something. Also, people here are very loud, in a beginning I thought someone is fighting on the street, but I was wrong! They were just talking…

Interesting is that in my research period I needed to study all the ugly stuff about Serbia, all the political and social stuff, human rights, cultural movements and ect, because without that kind of context I can’t work. It amazes me the contrast between how messy the situation is and how happy and helpful people are, or how little money they have, but how full the restaurants are all the time, so it is a city of no pastel colors… It’s realy bright in the character and temperament.

Also, people from Novi Sad taught me to pay for everyone, because here everyone is paying drinks for everyone. One time I told to the waitress to divide the check and they looked at me very strange with a question: Why would you do that? So when my turn came, I payed like a proper Serb!

What is your oppinion about art scene in Novi Sad?

From my point of view, in this country lacks independent theatres, galleries, performar artists, something that will oppose to the mainstream. Mainstream is monopolistic, and you have a problem to find fundings for the independent artists, so here independent art isn’t developed enough.

Do you think that we have people in Novi Sad who are interested in independent art?

Due to my experience here, you have very talented people, and with your temperament and smartness you are able to connect all different things that are needed while you make an art.

Do have any message to people who want do art for a living?

I do not see how it would function here… The fundings are not sufficient to do only that in life, so I don’t see how it would be possible here. Also, I have never heard about independent theatres here. You have freelancers and empoyeed actors, but you need more cultural events where people can accept themselves as thay are. I noticed that Serbia has a gender problem in a way that all the men have to have big muscles, and all the women have to be very feminine, but this kind of events can make people to know themselves, and accept themselves as there are, because gender problem that you have here can make people unhappy, to be depressed, and not to accept their body as it is. It is a problem of culture, and artistics activity can help with that.

What do you expect from this project?

We are working with the comunity, so I can wait to see how people will react to my sense of humor and how my vision will work with people of Novi Sad.

Ana Ilić

Photo: Novo kulturno naselje

*Story was created within the project “The Most Beautiful Stories of Novi Sad” realized by the Association Remiks, and financed by the Youth Association of the association “Novi Sad Youth Capital of Europe – OPENS 2019”