Pinocchio represents morality and a contemporary Odyssey who is on a journey to find his own path. A good magician, just like an angel, keeps the boy safe. Based on the classical story, I made an adaptation of the text, while preserving its main conceptual elements. The work addresses the imagination of the modern viewer. On the one hand, it talks about entering the life of a young, unformed man. Another serious topic is responsibility and maturity. Heroes speak modern language by using the terms and phrases well-known to children as well as adults today. However, I didn’t forget the core message of Collodi: “When bad children become good, they gain such a great force so that both they and the interior of their homes get a new, smiling look.” A rebellious boy, through empathy and respect towards other people, as well as through understanding the seriousness of life, finally finds the meaning of life and his place on Earth. In the performance, I used various forms of stage expression: live play, expressive mask, elements of commedie dell arte, originally constructed puppets and picturesque costumes which were decorated by scenographer Eva Farkašova.

Jaroslaw Antoniuk, director


Director – Jaroslaw Antoniuk (Poljska)
Director’s Assistant – Nedžad Maksumić
Adaptation – Jaroslaw Antoniuk
Translation from Polish – Pero Mioč
Scenography, Puppets, Costumes – Eva Farkašova (Slovakia)
Puppet Construction – Ludvik Pozniček (Slovakia)
Music – Bogdan Szczepanski (Poljska)
Master of Sound and Lighting – Amer Ćatić
Stage Manager – Mirsad Bijedić
Tailor – Azera Škoro
Assistance in Stage Set Construction – Kasim Prguda


Pinocchio – Diana Ondelj Maksumić
Gepetto – Nedžad Maksumić
The Fairy – Nermina Denjo
Fire-Eater / Mangiafuoco – Sergio Radoš
The Little Man – Igor Vidačković
Master – Igor Vidačković
The Cat – Sergio Radoš
The Fox – Nedžad Maksumić
Harlequin / Arlecchino – Igor Vidačković
Colombina – Nermina Denjo
Passengers – Igor Vidačković and Nermina Denjo


Pinocchio will never cease to exist on the theater stage intended for young people. Even the letters of his name seem to form a blossoming cluster and a game in which Pinocchio’s “life temptations” that are rich in different meanings and life twists kindle the imagination of young people. This imagination is then transformed into an experience that models the life truth. It is precisely through the gates of truth that one may triumphally enter the new world, cleansed of all the burden that obscures the horizons necessary for the establishment of pure relationships among people. Temptation is the basic core of the drama in which the relations of meaning are summed up. But temptation does not exist without events. In unpredictability of events lies the trap in which Pinocchio enters, but also finds solutions how to get out of them. The finding of the solution is what Paul Hazard, one of the most fervent connoisseurs of literature for young people, epitomized in the sentence:

There is no body so heavy that it could not be lifted by the power of Pinocchio’s fantasy. Light and fluffy like a ghost, he does not obey the laws of everyday life, just like his association of ideas does not obey the rational logic. It is movable like a dream creature, because it is, in fact, nothing but a playful dream of a child’s night.

The precondition for a good performance of Pinocchio on stage is an expert selection of his temptations, which should be sufficiently illustrative to convey those complex meanings of Hazard’s thoughts. Here we recognize the creative agon of Yaroslav Antoniuk, the director of the play “Pinocchio” which we have been watching in the Puppet Theater Mostar these days. Antoniuk is a Polish director whose creative power has exceeded the boundaries of his own country and reached Spain, Russia and our region – Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He decided to choose those sequences that have the richest content, but which are also the most playful and full of inner dynamism. However, in order to preserve the integrity of these sequences and their internal pulsation and imaginative freedom, he agreed to apply “different forms of stage expression: live play, an expressive mask, elements of the commedie dell’ arte” and “originally constructed puppets and picturesque costumes”. He brought all this into a direct agreement, in a live correspondence, while minimizing the possibility of compilation; he created a complete, consistent stage piece without an internal hiatus and possible voids and shifts from one sphere of established scenes to other without continuity, or without clearly specified scene development line of this child hero.

Certainly, such developments on the stage were made possible by the scenography of Eva Farkašova, who did not aim to define the ambience, but instead sought out those spatial solutions that were aligned with the intentions of imaginative take-offs. Actually, this scenography gave spatial solutions to an astonishing world that had its vertical ascents and transformations in the horizontal “reality”, such as when a piece of ordinary wood begins to speak with a human voice and when the poor Gepetto begins to sculpt a puppet to accompany him and decrease his loneliness. In such a woven network of visions and the establishment of the basic coordinates of the action development, the five recognizable Puppet Theater actors built themselves into; their names are Diana Ondelj Maksumić, Nedžad Maksumić, Sergio Radoš, Nermina Denjo and Igor Vidačković.

When talking about this theater, we face a fact that we can not see in almost any other theater. It’s the compactness of this theater play. Their stage relationship, the relationship that arises from the characteristic of the characters they interpret, and the relationship that arises from the characters of the actors who are struggling to shape their own space in which they need to exhibit their creative being, is manifested very differently here: these actors enter each play, including this one, with an established interpersonal proximity. It is almost a family atmosphere, as if they first present to themselves what they need to present to the audience, and only after that they enter the scene and dissolve their intimacy into characters and their interrelations and reality. This is the cognitive aspect with which they approach the realization of their characters.

It is a lobby for director’s work; the director has something in front of him that goes beyond the gathered actors who need to be introduced into the world of drama characters. In that phase of work, the actor is a closed box for which the director must find a key. This director does not need a key, because these actors have established a group relationship towards the upcoming tasks. It is the warmth that emanates from each movement that determines their interrelation.

Therefore, each of their plays is primarily a form of a common confession, and only then a play “for citizenship”. Their diction is individually different enough, but it flows into a melodic unity; certain characteristics that shape the character on the stage arise precisely from that unity! In their performances there is no cruelty of dramatic conflicts, and if such a conflict occurs, the sharpness of their edges is rounded and the brutality is mitigated by their communion. That could, perhaps, be an obstacle in some performances, but such pieces do not exist on their repertoire. The youngest among them, Igor Vidačković, who came to this ensemble a year or two ago, grew into this atmosphere and became its inseparable part.

With these characteristics, these actors entered the realization of “Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi. The warmth of mutual relations was embedded in the poetic style contained in the Collodi’s text; this warmth was used as an arbitrary energy for accepting the director’s intentions and almost joyfully transferring from one theatrical form to another. Without a doubt, this also contributed to the consistency of the performance we initially talked about. The greatest challenge of the transformation from one stage expression to another was placed in front of Diana Ondelj Maksumić, who occasionally had to take over the role of Pinocchio’s author and establish a kind of narrative distance, and subsequently immerse in a completely different creative activism. She knew how to get away from her current character, look at him from the distance, and then to “get under his skin” and pronounce her lines from his insides.

Nedžad Maksumić particularly refined his relations while transferring between different theatrical forms, and he gladly made his costume more visible as a part of the stage play. Nermina Denjo was a Fairy by the tone of her voice and the characteristics of her movement, while Sergio Radoš and Igor Vidačković maintained the dramatic tension of the play, initiated action and emphasized it with their vocal intonations and range, which was perhaps at times too loud. The music of Bogdan Szczepanski revived connotative energy and brought it into the foreground, sometimes even overemphasizing it. It was indeed a play of warmth, but also a play of dynamic diversity in which the young theater lovers from Mostar can truly enjoy.

Vojislav Vujanović

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July 17, 2010