Although this title is well-known to everyone from the famous drama series, we have decided to give it a chance in a new theatrical reading.
Unburdened by the characters from the series and their famous interpreters, this play will rush to the challenge of showing a new, theatrically told Big Town (orig. Velo Misto).
There are numerous reasons for this. Smoje, as an anthological author, deserves his place in our drama repertoire, especially with his now legendary humor related to the Dalmatian mentality. Considering that, in terms of the number of Dalmatians, Zagreb is the second-largest Dalmatian city after Split, the choice of this play seems like a logical debt to such a type of comedy that has not been present on the boards of our theater for a long time.
The other reasons are even more apparent: the timelessness and symbolism of the plot, brilliant characterization of characters, and sharp dialogues.
The play's main character is the city of Split - but we follow it through the eyes of a whole series of characters who, although belonging to different political and social contexts, exist in a mental constant. Despite the change of six different authorities, six different flags, the city and its people remain the same, not allowing themselves to be subjugated.
The play is set mainly in 1936 when a sense of significant disorder and constant change rules the city. Everyone seems to think there will never be a war, yet everything seems like it could start at any moment. Through the chaos of pre-war inflation, Russian immigrants, smuggling, the emigration of young people to America, food queues, the transfer of Ustashe to Italy, and communists to international brigades in Spain, our characters meet in impossible combinations and help each other without any assumption of what will happen in just a few years.
That's why we will laugh, but our laughter will be tragic. In the audience, we know precisely in which direction our characters are going.
Humor that carries life. It is a play about the survival of life itself. Big Town is an apotheosis of the fact that every politics is a form of oppression resisted by life, a life that refuses to be shaped by it and survives and outlives every political context with humor. Because people and their mentality remain, and politics are transient. The city remembers life, and is the life.