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A Wandering Bullet: Staging the Sarajevo Assassination in Biljana Srbljanović’s Play Princip: This Grave is too Small for Me

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This essay explores the remembrance of the Sarajevo assassination in the centenary year with a particular focus on theatrical productions in Austria and former Yugoslavia. The momentous event of June 1914 has been evoked in Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav cultures in different periods and with different pragmatic goals. The twists of this memory site are illustrated with reference to Genette’s concept of ellipsis (silence), prolepsis (prefiguration) and paralepsis (divination). The essay analyses the recent play by Biljana Srbljanović, Princip: This Grave Is Too Small for Me against the backdrop of the playwright’s earlier dramatic works as well as in the context of the dominant articulations of the mythos of assassination. The essay argues that Srbljanović’s play for all its vociferousness does not bring much novelty to her own opus nor for that matter to the existing patterns of remembrance of Franz Ferdinand and Gavrilo Princip. The constitutive ambiguities and inconsistencies of the dramatic text are then explored in its two stage renditions, one in Austria and the other in the former Yugoslav region. Although the two productions cater for different audiences in different languages they nevertheless end up in the same pitfall: they try to salvage the text at the cost of sacrificing stage momentum and the ethical credibility of the characters represented.

Affiliations: 1: University of Nottingham,


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