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Don't Cross the LineA live-action puppet production, length 35 min

Photo by Matej Povše
Don't Cross the Line is a theatrical thriller of constant trial and loss. The stage has been commandeered by General Big Eye, who has refused entry to puppets and actors – for good.

To ensure that nobody evades his rule, the all-seeing, all-hearing general instructs a guard to keep the puppets and actors under video surveillance. Little Red Riding Hood, Louis Bunny, Honey Bear, the acclaimed singer Madalena, Bernardo, the first protester, the prisoners Isidoro and Salgado, the garage punk band DCTL, Mother with five children, and the actors Aja and Rok all demonstrate their indignation at the new law by breaking the rule and jointly rebelling against the authoritarian leader, not without unanticipated consequences and risks.

Who makes the rules and who breaks them, why is it essential to break the rules, and how many individuals does it take to break a rule? These are the questions that propel the action in the theatrical thriller Don’t Cross the Line. Based on the eponymous children’s book by the Portuguese writer Isabel Minhós Martins and the illustrator Bernardo P. Carvalho, which was published in Slovenia in 2019 by Miš Publishing in Katja Zakrajšek’s translation, the production raises urgent questions about an individual’s responsibility, about exercising one’s authority, but above all about the power of peaceful resistance.

In the book, the general decides to ban his people from entering the side of the book he wants to keep all for himself. To do so, he posts an obedient guard to the border between the two sides to keep people from crossing. At first, the guard makes a good job of it. After a while, however, with the crowd on the permitted side growing bigger and bigger, a kid accidentally kicks his ball to the forbidden side. Chaos ensues, and the simple act of children going across to retrieve the ball gives the crowd the courage to question their leader and reappropriate their space. If, in the book, General Alcazar bans characters from crossing from one page to the other, in the production General Big Eye prohibits puppets and actors from ever entering the stage. This exciting story sends a subtle political message: nobody is obliged to tolerate injustice and senseless rules.

Isabel Minhós Martins (1974) is a Portuguese writer and the founder of Planeta Tangerina, a publisher of books for children and young adults. Minhós Martins’ body of work includes dozens of children’s books, many of which have won international accolades. Her most widely known book is When I Was Born. She and Bernardo Carvalho, the illustrator, have received five international awards for Don’t Cross the Line.

Katja Povše is a freelance puppeteer, actor, and storyteller, as well as director and co-creator of puppet shows for children and adults. She is the founder of the Miss Basil Storytelling Theatre and a co-initiator of the AEIOU theatre for babies and toddlers. From 2001 to 2007, Povše was a member of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre (LGL) company of actors and puppeteers. She trained as a puppeteer at the LGL Youth Studio (1997–1999), the Białystok-based Puppetry Art Department of the Warsaw Theatre Academy (2007), and the summer schools of the Institute of Puppetry in Charleville-Mezieres (2003, 2006). Povše runs puppetry workshops for adults and children and is an assistant for puppetry at the Ljubljana Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film, and Television.

Nevena Aleksovski (1984) is an artist with a BA in painting and an MA in culture studies, specialising in drawing, illustration, and fanzines. Adopting refined aesthetics and focusing on transience, her works have been on display in solo exhibitions in Slovenia, Serbia, Germany, and Croatia. Aleksovski won the Outstanding Student Achievement Award from the Novi Sad Academy of Arts in 2008, and first prize at the ZINE VITRINE dvatwozwei competition in 2016. She is also involved in education and festival organisation. In 2015, she illustrated Ana Makuc’s volume of poetry, Ljubica Rolanda Barthesa (Roland Barthes’ Lover), which went on to win the Veronika Award for best poetry collection of the year in Slovenia.

Opening night: 15 May 2021

Season 2020/21

Author: Isabel Minhós Martins
Director: Katja Povše
Visual Design: Nevena Aleksovski
Adapted for the stage by: Aja Kobe, Lea Kukovičič, Rok Kunaver, Katja Povše
Cast: Aja Kobe, Rok Kunaver, Kemal Vrabac Kordiš
Dramaturge: Lea Kukovičič
Music: Mario Babojelić
Stage Manager and Sound Designer: Luka Bernetič
Lighting Design: Maša Avsec
Language Consultant: Maja Cerar
Book translated by: Katja Zakrajšek
Video: Matej Povše
Animation: Nevena Aleksovski
Song lyrics by: Aja Kobe
Set Technicians: Kemal Vrabac Kordiš
Puppets, Set and Costumes Production: Zoran Srdić, Iztok Bobić, Sandra Birjukov, Marjeta Valjavec, Polona Černe, David Klemenčič, Zala Kalan, Olga Milić, Žiga Lebar, Nevena Aleksovski, Uroš Mehle
Producer: Alja Cerar Mihajlović