ACCLAIMED Bosnian director Haris Pasovic hopes his new conflict-themed production, ‘The Conquest of Happiness,’ will create an inspirational vision this weekend when it premieres in a former military barracks in the city where Bloody Sunday took place.
Speaking ahead of the world premiere of the ambitious project - which includes some poignant and harrowing scenes representing conflict across the world, including Bloody Sunday - Mr Pasovic says he has been struck by the similarities between Londonderry and a divided city from his home country.
“It wasn’t difficult to spot the parallels between Mostar and Derry,” he said. “Both cities have different communities, mainly on different sides of a river. Both cities are beautiful.”
He added: “Both cities have a complex history. And although there is peace in both cities, the process of integration and bringing communities together has been awfully slow.
“Derry~Londonderry is the right place to stage the World Premiere and the Derry~Londonderry audience is an extremely important partner for this show.
“To think about happiness in this unhappy world, to meet as fragile human beings, to exchange our dreams, hopes and fears and to create a vision which will inspire both the audience and us – those are and have been our goals in Derry~Londonderry.”
The performance revisits one of the most emotive moments of the Troubles - the murder of Jackie Duddy on Bloody Sunday - which will be played out amongst stories from Palestine, Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile, Bosnia and 9/11.
Featuring military vehicles, bulldozers and a specially constructed large scale set, The Conquest of Happiness pushes the boundaries of theatre production to achieve a dynamic and compelling show which places the audience right at the heart of the action.
It’s inspired by the writings of Bertrand Russell who penned the book of the same name. ‘The Conquest of Happiness’ was published in 1930 and became known as the world’s first self-help book
Executive programmer with Culture Company 2013, Graeme Farrow, said the production was truly ground breaking in its approach.
“The Conquest of Happiness is perhaps the major theatrical event of the City of Culture year and promises to be an unforgettable experience,” he said.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to see this international co-production first in Derry before it tours to Eastern Europe.
“The Conquest of Happiness features a large cast of multi-national and multi-talented actors and local singers and is directed by one of Europe’s most celebrated theatre directors, Haris Pasovic.
“Ebrington Square is the ideal arena for such an epic and innovative performance piece. It’s fantastic also that a journey which begins here will take in Mostar, Rijeka, Ljublana and Novi Sad. We promise thought-provoking spectacle of the highest order.”