104 | / brotherendedupinanorphanage,because ourmotherdiedof tuberculosis. I remember how weak she was, consumed by sickness, lying in bed. On the other hand, my uncle was VeljkoVlahović, the celebratedwar hero. Such a set of circumstances was like the plotofa lm...Mymotherhadeightbrothers. When they found one brother dead on the SyrmianFront, she faintedandfell pregnant withmeinherstomach.That’swhyIclaimI’m crazy, that I use jokes to twist harsh reality. MY AUNTVIDA’S RULES OF LIFE She raised me when I was left without amother andmy father was a prisoner. She taughtmetherulesof life:neverlie,don’tsteal anddon’t gossip!Vida’s upbringing costme a lot inmy life. That’s like the categorical imperativeattributedtophilosopherEmmanuel Kant. Andwhy don’t theymention the clevernessofMarkoMiljanov toknowwhatheroismand humanity are?When I became an actor, Vida said to me in jest: hero! She had ve brothers, never married, and cared for her brothers’children. OWNER OF FOUR GRADE BOOKS I rst studied those lessons for a year each.Myunclewantedmetobeaprofessional soldier,whilemyfatherwasapre-war lawyer, but I didn’twant tobeeither of those. In thelecturehallof theLawFacultytherewere too many people for my liking, so I quickly abandonedthosestudies.WhenIbroughtmy father thestudentgradebooksof theFaculty of Philosophy and the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, he looked at the second grade book withcontempt.The rsttimepeopletoldhim that they’d seen his son performing on the big screen, he changed his attitude forever andwas proud of me. Iachievedthestatusofanadvanceduniversity student in studies of the Italian languageand literatureat theBelgradeFaculty ofPhilology,prior toenrollinginactingstudies. And I was told in that department that, althoughIwasanexcellent studentwiththe predispositiontobecomeanassistantprofessor, I was born todo something else. I never regrettedoptingforacting. I’mamonkofacting. God gaveme a talent to serve the peoplethroughacting, andnot toplastermyself on the front pages and act self-important. I DIRECTED A DRAMATIC PAUSE FORTHE ENTRANCE EXAM I passed the entrance exam for acting studiesas the lastof around400candidates. Back then that wasn’t a joke, like it is now, when enrolment can be paid for withmoney throughconnections. Iwas sittingon the steps inthecorridorof thecollegewhensecretaryKočacalledmynameasbeingamong theshortlistedcandidates. Idirectedthatmoment,becauseI remainedsilentwhenIheard myname. ItwasonlywhenI’dcountedtoten internally that I spoke up to tell them that I was there. And I deliberately did that only then, in order to draw attention tomyself. I now perform the monodrama “One man tells me”, written by academic Matija Bećković,onvariousstages. I alsohaveoccasional appearanceswithamonologue from The Ray of Microcosm, the poem by Peter II Petrović-Njegoš. Since February I’ve also been performing the role of Ahmed in the playHasanaginicaat theNationalTheatre in Belgrade, which was previously performed by the bard Predrag Ejdus. I DIDN’TWANTTO SELL ROTTEN TOMATOES I didn’t wish to leave a permanent engagement in theatres. But I didn’t want to sell rotten tomatoes. That would be like goingtoashowwithagirlfriendI lovethemost only to break upwith her there. I was the rst of the actors of the Atelje 212 ensemble to halt a performance of the show“Men’s Things”, because there was no water for that theatrewhenIwasshowering. I’m not a prostitute to strip bear! And there was nowater anywhere on the stage several times. My tolerance threshold is perhaps small, but it’s high. I hadno regrets. The older I become, the more I care about the theatre. Peoplewhodon’t treat theirprofession as a host, but rather use it as a market stall, are traitors to their own professional being. Picasso was a Mediterranean peasant, that’salsohowhedescribedhimself. Buthe was an artistic genius regardless of being criticised for his frequent love adventures. What does his character have todowithhis great talent?! So, I also have principles, and theyhaveaprice.Njegoš says:‘fruit isheavy, but theyield is sweet’. I slickly refusedanengagement on a popular lmwith great actors, because I was then playing Alyosha in the series ‘The Brothers Karamazovi’, and I also let my hair grow long for that character. Somecriticisedme for thatdecision, not understanding it. I listenedtomy intuition. I was urged by Bata Živojinović to act in the lmWalterDefendsSarajevo, andhewould also persuade the director, but I didn’t give himthat. I didn’twant totake roles thatother actors desired. I mourn the departures of some people.There’salwaysroomforarole, andIdon’t mourn any of those that I didn’t play. The roles nd me. I choose to play what ful ls me, not to saywhatmakesme happy.What happiness; what is that?! “Happiness is really unknown toman, of what is true bliss for whichheeternallyWlongs. Henever knows themeasure and boundaries. The nearer to glory’s summit he climbs, more the top of the glory climbs, the greater foe of happiness he is. Our present earth,mother ofmillions, cannot one son crown with bliss” [excerpt fromThe Ray of Microcosmby Peter II Petrović-Njegoš]. Happinessexistsonlyinadvertisements; inproductsforcombattingheartburn,forslim cruvesor tocounterdigestivedi culties. MAJČINSKA BRIGA Na primer, jednom u kafani Amerikanac u Nišu. Tamo je mom društvu i meni, kad smo posle predstave u toj kafani ostali do jutra, jedna Dragica sabajle skuvala čorbu da ne bismo jeli suvu hranu. U tome sam osetio majčinsku brigu. MOTHERS CARE For example, once in the “Amerikanac” tavern in Niš. There for my friends and I, when we stayed until morning after a performance in that kafana, one Dragica cooked us a thick soup before dawn so we wouldn’t eat dry food. I felt my mother’s care in that act.