New version of The Patriots premiered on the Main Stage on Friday, 30th October, within the Homage to Sterija event. Jovan Sterija Popović wrote the original text, and Andraš Urban staged the production.
This is the third staging of this ‘cheerful play in five acts’ in the National Theatre.
The cast: Slobodan Beštić (Žutilov), Anastasia Mandić (Nančika), Suzana Lukić (Milčika), Pavle Jerinić (Šandor Lepršić), Nela Mihailović (Mrs. Zelenić), Hadži Nenad Maričić (Šerbulić), Nikola Vujović (Smrdić), Predrag Ejdus (Gavrilović), Branko Jerinić (Nadj Pal) and Bojan Krivokapić (Eden).
Musicians Nemanja Aćimović (drums), Ivan Marković (accordion) and Đorđe Antić (trombone) also take part in the performance.
In his preface for The Patriots, Sterija wrote ‘for as long as we insist on being too proud and keep our weaknesses and mistakes hidden, we will be incomplete and we will never evolve’, and ‘the unkind and the heartless use every opportunity to exercise their selfishness under the mask of patriotism’, and ‘the selfish person only cares for himself and he uses simple people for his own benefit only.’
Nonetheless, in the preface, Sterija explained that it had never been his intention to belittle the people, he wanted to educate and make them aware instead.
Urban did not stage the play ‘in the epoch’; instead, he staged it from the modern point of view. The time we live in was used as a model. Namely, too many things are identical to the situation in mid-nineteen century, when the famous comedy playwright skilfully unmasked ‘the patriots’ in his play. The staging focuses on outcomes of ideas and manipulation, it is packed with painful emotions and violence, as a crude and cruel party to the theme of tragic reality we all see, but cannot do a thing to change it.
In this play with elements of Brechtian theatre, a very important place is given to songs composed to the lyrics by Jovan Sterija Popović, Đura Jakšić, Jovan Hadžić and Stevan Kaćanski.
The audience rewarded the cast with a long, cordial applause and ovations in the end of the performance.
Slavko Milanović and Suzana Vuković are the dramaturges in the production, Suzana Vuković is also an associate to the stage director; Irena Popović Gragović is the composer and Marina Sremac is the costume designer.
Ljiljana Mrkić Popović is in charge of stage speech, Tamara Antonijević designs the stage movements, while Miraš Vuksanović realises the set design.
The production team also consists of Maksim Milošević (Assistant Stage Director), Milorad Jovanović (Executive Producer), Jasmina Urošević (Organiser), Gordana Perovski (Prompter) and Aleksandra Rokvić (Stage Manager).
The Patriots, a comedy of characters, was written in period between 1850 and 1854. Its first premiere took place in the National Theatre in Belgrade on 30 December 1904; the production was stage directed by Čiča Ilija Stanojević. Since then, the play has been staged in the National Theatre in Belgrade only once again; the second premiere took place on 8 March 1929, it was stage directed by Branko Gavella, Ph.D.
During the Homage to Sterija event, which takes place in period 8 October – 1 November, a series of performances produced after his texts are presented. The performances come from repertories of the National Theatre and theatres from Zrenjanin, Bečej, Novi Sad and Tuzla.

Click HERE to see the photographs