For the performance DARK NUMBERS, Bosnian-born theatre director Tea Tupajić invited veterans of the UN peacekeeping force Dutchbat III to collaborate and perform in this production.
"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." George Bernard Shaw
During the Bosnian war of the 1990s, Dutchbat III was a Dutch battalion under the command of the United Nations. Its task was to protect the Muslim enclave Srebrenica, which had been designated a safe zone by the UN. On July 11 1995, Bosnian Serb forces under General Mladić took the town. The population sought refuge en masse in the secure area protected by Dutchbat III. Under the pretext of evacuating the population, women and children were sent away on buses. Mladić assured Dutchbat III that the remaining men and boys would be safe, and would soon follow.
On July 21, Dutchbat III left the enclave. During the next few days, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces.
The International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague declared the events an act of genocide in 2004; Kofi Annan called this the worst crime committed on European soil since the end of World War II.
In the belief that art can offer a space for answers the judicial proceedings never gave, Tupajić opens up one of the darkest episodes in recent European history. In DARK NUMBERS she presents intense, uncensored stories from Dutchbat veterans. Who were these young men and women? What motivated them to go off to a war that wasn't theirs? What images still keep them awake at night?
concept & realisation Tea Tupajić performers Liesbeth Beukeboom-de Jong, Wim Dijkema, Hans de Jong, Gerry Kremer, Olaf Nijeboer, Alice Schutte and Jeroen van der Werke technics Attila Nemeth production Frascati Producties co-production Veem House for performance (Amsterdam), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Theatre Garonne (Toulouse) Teaterhuset AvantGarden (Trondheim) and Inkonst (Malmö) in collaboration with het Veteraneninstituut.
Tea Tupajić (Sarajevo, 1984) studied at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb. Her work, which has a strong international orientation, seeks out the common ground between theatre, performance, video art and the happening. She usually casts non-professional performers in key roles. In her productions she creates a space, together with her performers and the audience, where meetings, discussion, experience and reflection can take place: a free space that opens up new perspectives on complex political and social issues. Her work is shown internationally at festivals and in theatres, galleries and public spaces.