“Ilustrovana Politika”, 7 June 2003
Dusan Kovacevic – Serbia as destiny
People will always sing “The Government is falling”
Why did our famous writer decline to be the Ambassador, how could Slobodan Milosevic avoid the Hague and what would the Croats, Slovenes or Macedonians do if they had their Royal Dynasty...
The current Minister in the Government is singing “The Government is falling”, as a character in the film “The Professional”!
- Leka (Branislav Lecic) would play that role even if he wasn’t the Minister- says Kovacevic. – I have known him since 1991, and he has been into politics all that time. I think that song is going to be sang when this Government falls and some future Governments, too.
Persistent fighters against Milosevic’s regime with disappointment watch what is going on between the former allies, who are fiercely fighting against each other. Dusan Kovacevic explains that as a kind of curse.
- Communism left the inheritance of every party wanting to be SKJ (League of Communists) – to have all the power. It seems we have romantic notions about the power. We would all like to have honest and caring people in power, who act as one. It is extremely difficult to understand how a person completely changes, like a mutant, after only a year in power. Djilas once said: “The one thing worse than power is struggle for power”.
Dusko Kovacevic spent ten years in the streets, organizing rallies. He never cashed his engagement, not even became an ambassador, although he was “in the combination” for Paris.
- I am a household name in many European countries, and in some of them almost all my plays were performed. That is why I believe I would be very helpful in establishing contacts between countries. But then I realized what it really meant to be an ambassador. To be a mere clerk of one’s government. To follow instructions strictly and do what one is told. I just thought how I would have to spent the whole day wearing a suit and tie, and it was a disaster for me. If one wants to be an individual, have one one’s attitude and do as one pleases, then one should be a poet, free lancer, supporting oneself.
Welcome for the Prince
Dusko knows most people from the present Government, among other things because he was the manager of “Zvezdara Theatre”, the only house where the plays with political subject were performed during Milosevic’s regime.
- I have met many people since 1991. Branislav Lecic, the present Minister of Culture, played in my piece “Five Stars Trash Container” in 1997, and Milan St. Protic and Predrag Markovic play themselves in my new film “The Professional”. Every man can have many dear acquaintances, but only four to five friends in life.
He remembers his leaving the country at the beginning of the 90’s. When Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic first came to Serbia, Dusko Kovacevic was the first to welcome him “in his own house”. Two or three weeks later he was called up by the Army. And he was supposed to attend the premiere of his play “The Professional” in Budapest. Then a captain who was in charge of mobilization in his municipality allowed him to leave the country for five days, threatening him that his passport would be taken away if he stayed a day longer. At first he said to himself he would stay abroad forever if necessary.
A trunk from the attic
The drama was finished when Milan Panic became the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia and started negotiations with Milosevic to step aside. He was in Greece at that moment and returned home from there.
There is an anecdote in theatrical circles that Kovacevic “keeps somebody in his cellar and feeds him, and in return he writes all his plays”. At one point he said to a friend: “That’s not true. I found a trunk on the attic with a bunch of manuscripts. I don’t know whose they are, but I publish them one after another!”. A big trunk, one might say.
- I come from a region where people have inborn sense of humor – says Kovacevic. – When there is no other defense, there is humor. Some of my relatives are natural writers. When they tell stories, one can hardly believe they actually happened.
After graduating at high school, he came to Belgrade to study and he stayed there. Was it difficult to become a Belgrader?
- In my case yes, it was, for it was a real struggle for survival for the first four or five years. I first studied History of Art at the Faculty of Philosophy, and then Drama at the Theatrical Academy. His graduation work, “Radovan III” was performed in December 1973.
Then he got married and lived as lodger with his family for fifteen years. He never got an apartment, for he never had a permanent job, but he managed to buy tenant’s right in an apartment in Dorcol.
- Constant struggle for everyday life makes you realize what you are not aware of. The best works of art are really made in suffering. If I had left the country when I was twenty five, I would have probably been rich, have my own ship and never sit at the typewriter wondering if what I wrote would be played or not. But it seems my destiny was to stay here.
Today, Dusko lives in a house in Topcider. Is that a sign of his success?
- It is no villa, and if I hadn’t found it, I would move from Belgrade, because I could not stand living in apartment blocks anymore. I have a phobia of elevators and heights. I saw about thirty houses before I found this one, and I bought it without even coming inside, because it resembled the house where I was born.
His son and daughter didn’t inherit his gift for writing. Alexander graduated at the School of Banking in San Francisco, and Lena Conservatory in Amsterdam. Neither of them wanted to be in acting or directing.
- I started writing when I was twenty and I sometimes feel it would be good if I made longer pauses, so that I could write longer. Just as Kis used to say: “Smoke less, to smoke longer”. Only he himself didn’t follow the rule.
Finally, as a member of the Crown Council, is he convinced that monarchy can be restored in Serbia?
- Our people has only a few more years to change their minds. We have had about fifteen presidents of the republic and where are we? Let’s experiment with four to five more. Republican system allows anybody who goes crazy to become the president. If the Croats, Slovenians or perhaps Macedonians had their own dynasty, do you think they would bring them back to power? I think they would. That is the only way for them to be related to all European courts.
Copyright © 1998 NJ.K.V. Prestolonaslednik Aleksandar II
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