Anton P. Chehov: The Bear - A ten-scene jest for a jazz quartet and an actor
During the first scene of the performance, it is the musical instruments that define the characters - saxophone as Elena Ivanova Popova and bass guitar as the servant Luca - , and they start a dialogue based of Chehov's text. Every instrument takes on the integral text of its respective character, transforming it into music with which it communicates. Elena Ivanova Popova is a widow "who has buries herself within the walls of her house, who has been mourning her husband for four months, while her servant - old man Luca - keeps telling her to take off her mourning clothes 'since beauty does not last forever and she is young and beautiful, blood and milk' ". Someone is at the door and Luca, the bass guitar, leaves. In the second scene Elena, the saxophone, stays alone and speaks - plays - a monologue of her loneliness, sorrow and her husband's infidelity. The third scene shows Luca returning and telling her "that a cursing forest spirit demands to see her ", but Elena declines. In the fourth scene, an actor as Gregory S. Smirnoff comes on stage, bringing in the elements of theatre. The actor has a dialogue with his imaginary acting partners, Chechov's characters, actually played by the saxophone and the bass guitar.
Smirnoff comes to collect the money that "Elena's deceased husband owed for the oat he purchased form him" and which he urgently needed.
Elena is "not able to pay him the money owed, because the bookkeeper is not at home" and leaves, insulted by Smirnoff's rudeness. In the fifth, sixth and seventh scene, Smirnoff "angry, and even uneasy" remains alone in the room while waiting to receive his money and a violin plays a melody, symbolic of the emerging romantic feelings between him and Elena. The final three scenes show the conflict developing between Smirnoff and Elena, which comes to a happy ending, while the sound of the drums comments on the situation, the personalities of the two characters and their relationship. In this manner the musical instruments play the roles of Chechov's characters with music and become actors, while the actors become instruments with their acting.
By intertwining and merging of these two kinds of artistic expression - music and acting, the theatrical illusion gains an audacious, peculiar and unusually interesting dimension. It is a continuation of the quest for new artistic dimensions...
: : Zijah A. Sokolovic
Grigorie Stepanovich Smirnoff - cast: Zijah A. Sokolovic
Elena Ivanova Popova - Saxophone: Primoz Simoncic
Servant Luca - bass guitar: Iztok Vladimir
Violin - Jelena Zdrale
Drums - Marjan Stancic
Director - Zijah A. Sokolovic
... He will continue his conversation with the individual members of the orchestra, with a volcanic energy and vitality, particular to a few very talented drama actors. His sometimes blind struggle and out-voicing the musical dialogue deceives, charms and shocks... (Vjesnik, Zagreb)
... Does the bear understand what the saxophone is telling him? I think he does, because here we find a true synthesis of interesting music combined with exceptional dramaturgical acting talent ... (Mladina, Ljubljana)
... The theatrical and musical enjoyment allows us, at least for a moment, to become detached from what is considered an artistic province ... (Glas Istre, Pula)
... The impossible becomes possible ... (Slovenska panorama, Ljubljana)
... "Lolita" and Zijah A. Sokolovic deserve our full attention and understanding, because once again they embark on an artistic quest, instead of remaining stuck in the "déja vu" ... (Delo, Ljubljana)
... It is about a truly fascinating and convincing combination of acting poring over into music and musical instruments voicing words ... (Vecer, Maribor)
... A Jazz Bear ... (Razgledi, Ljubljana)
... A theatrical gem ... (Novi List, Rijeka)