Dark, dramatic dreams on display

By Nicole Kobie

When was the last time you were moved? When was the last time something shook you to the very core? Want to feel that way again?

If you’re anything like playwright Danijel Margetic, all you need to do is take in a performance of Dream of Yellow Snakes.

The Nickle and Dime production, which was translated, adapted and directed by Margetic, was originally a short story by Croatian writer Edo Popovic. An overseas friend persuaded Margetic to read it, and he was impressed.

"I read quite a lot, and it’s not very often that after I put down something [after reading it] I kind of get that shaky feeling," says Margetic. "It was so full of energy. It’s just a beautifully written piece."

While initially simply inspired, Margetic felt the need to take it further and share it with his friends and others here in North America. While translating from Croatian to English, it occurred to Margetic that Dream of Yellow Snakes would make a compelling film. However, who has the funds or time to make a film? It was an easy step from there to the stage for the Fine Arts student.

"I thought it would be equally a good idea to adapt it to the stage, until I actually started doing it," laughs Margetic.

First though, Margetic contacted author Edo Popovic via e-mail for permission to rework Dream of Yellow Snakes.

"He just seemed ecstatic even though he said to me that never in his own right and sane mind could he even envision adapting it to the stage," says Margetic, who couldn’t turn down that challenge.

A challenge he apparently lived up to, as Popovic himself was happy with the translation. Margetic had no problems overcoming the language, as he was born in Croatia in the late ’70s and lived there for almost 18 years.

The story itself is not only accessible to Europeans though. An account many can sympathize with, Dream of Yellow Snakes is a disturbing walk through the world of an alcoholic writer, and the dregs of society surrounding him.

"[Popovic] has this uncanny ability to invoke this incredible imagery, using such simple skillful language," explains Margetic. "I tried to keep the essence of the story itself, but if I had kept the whole story, it would have been a lot less a play and a lot more a storytelling session."

Finding actors who could capture the spirit of the characters, however, was not easy. Margetic knew the actors needed to be mature, and to truly understand the essence of the play. However, his cast–Jen Bullen, Robin Pennock, Jason Carnew, Darcy Wilson and Anthony Gerbrandt–have all "expressed love and interest" in the story.

So, Margetic has managed to delight his friends, his actors and even the author with the beauty and perfection of Yellow Snakes–but will audiences be so easily convinced?

"I just hope they will go away with the same feeling that I got when I first read the story."

Want to be moved? Dream of Yellow Snakes runs at noon at the Reeve Secondary Theatre March 6-9.

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