| 55 BRANKO MILIĆEVIĆ: ALTERNATINGFORASUPERSTAR Branko Milićević, who later came to be known as Kockica, was recruited by Jovan Ćirilov from the Belgrade Drama Theatre, where he saw him in a “folk song” play singing “Djida”. Noting Branko’s voice, Ćirilov hired him to stand in occasionally for Miša Janketić. “I was thrilled, as an unknown actor, to be the alternate for a superstar whenever he was away shooting some lm. I later replaced him completely, but also jumped into other roles if, for example, an actor had to do their national military service. If I hadn’t fallen in love with children and children’s theatre, I would have remained in musicals for the rest of my life,” says Milićević. NADA BLAM: EXTREMEPROGRESS “At the audition for Hair, which back then wasn’t called casting, many young people applied, but I had no doubt that I would be picked,” says Nada Blam. Her self-con dence was fuelled by the fact that she sang beautifully, was musically educated and came from a family of musicians. And she wasn’t mistaken: she was immediately assigned a solo part. And not only that – after having started as an amateur and part of the “Tribe”, a few years later she was already a student of the Academy of Dramatic Arts and succeeded Seka Sablić in one of the main roles. That can be referred to as extremely swift progress. SEKA SABLIĆ: TIMEOF JOY “That was a glorious time, though we weren’t aware of that at that moment, rather we were just lled with incredible joy,” says Seka Sablić talking about that period of the late ‘60s. The leader of that time, when it comes to theatre, was Mira Trailović – an incredibly energetic and proper manager; a woman who brought the latest and best scripts from around the world, including Hair. This ensured that the young Sablić loved her role as Jeannie very much. “As I would pass through the audience, I made direct eye contact with individuals and thus joined the practise of Bitef’s avant-garde. The fascinating qualities of the musical were not muted due to the original music, exceptional choreography, acting bravura and incredible singing of Dušan Prelević,” says Seka. to leave anything to chance, Trailović decided to divide the actors into those who wouldcarrythedialogue–thealreadyprovenDraganNikolić,MišaJanketićandBranko Miličević–andthosewhowouldparticipate inmass scenes, singinganddancing.“Inthe city they joked that Hair was the cheapest strip bar,” laughs Vlahović. But Hair was, of course, muchmore than that. The premiere performance, on 19th May 1969, was a genuine bombshell, and theshowimmediatelybecameafavourite.So muchsothat, onSundaysandduringtours, the ensemblewouldperformthree times a day. Our Hair was on a par with Broadway’s intermsofquality,while itdi eredfromother versions around the world in terms of its interaction with the audience. This speci c qualitywas alsonoticedbyRagni andRado duringtheirvisittoBelgrade.Theyspontaneously joined the ensemble at Atelje for several numbers, and thatwas forever rememberedandrecountedinthemedia.Theyalso sang to thenYugoslav President Josip Broz Tito on the occasion of his birthday celebration at the Youth Centre. While practising the choreography for this special occasion, someone noted that turning towards Tito – a gure of unimaginable authority – at thepoint of singing“LetTheSunshine In” couldhavebeenmisinterpreted.The scene was changed to the formingof a circlewith a light source (a disco ball) at the centre. Of course, scenes of stripping and ripping up militarycardswerealsoexcluded, soTitovery muchappreciatedthesectionsdepictedfor him. His photograph with the performers circled the world. The pursuit of perfection resulted in numerous alternations, soBrankoMilićević playedalmostallmaleroles,substitutingDragan Nikolić as Berger, and Miodrag Andrić – better known as LjubaMoljac – who portrayedWoof.NadaBlambeganaspartof the “tribe”, only to takeover –after threeyears – from Seka Sablić in the role of Jeannie, the hippiegirlwhodoesn’tcarewhosechildshe’s carrying. The wealthy Sheila was played by Mirjana Peić, while Berger’s solo numbers were performed by Dušan Prelević. Theplayinvestedheavilyinproduction, with special lights procured for the tour, as well as microphones, a stroboscope and smoke e ects, while the Saša Radojčić Orchestra was also engaged. Everything had to be magni cent. However, as a legalist in spirit,Mirarespectedthecontract thatdidn’t permit lming. Thus, not one of the more than 250performanceswas recorded, with memoriesrecollectedonlyviatwoblackand whiterecordingsofsongsperformedbyMire Peić, Prelević and the“Tribe”. Unfortunately, sometime inmid-1973, somethinghappenedthatsignalledtheend of this incredible story. There was no more hugedemandpushingtheshow, rather tickets were being bought by companies and publicbodies, sothatdaypartof thehallwas occupiedby cadets fromtheMilitaryAcademy. In contract to the usual enthusiasmof viewers, the young soldiers were seemingly frozen in shock. One o cer soon reacted by sending a letter to the Yugoslav leadership, protesting against the ripping up of military cards. The scene was labelled negative propaganda for serving national military duty. Hair was removed from the repertoire, but thereal reasonmighthavebeen that it had“exhausted” itself. Nevertheless, asthegreatest theatrehit of the 20th century, Hair also experienced a remake at Atelje 212 in 2010, adapted and directed by KokanMladenović. And, just as Bora Ćosić had adjusted the script slightly to suit this region back in 1968, so Mladenović also harmonised it with the current situation. Although this version of the musical - which was also criticised by multinational companies in their struggle for profit - was a big hit, it was impossible for it to outdo the 1969 version. That rstHair is still rememberedtoday as themomentwhenBelgradebecame the world, andthe theatreexperienceda turnaround. Of those credited with this success, many are no longer with us - MiraTrailović, Jovan Ćirilov, Dušan Prelević, Ljuba Moljac, Dragan Nikolić... Legends all... Kosa je trajala puna tri sata, sa pauzom između dva čina. Jedna od retkih mirnih, ležećih scena, da pleme obnovi snagu Hair ran for a full three hours, with a break between the two acts. One of the rare tranquil, laid-back scenes, for the tribe to recoup its strength