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The Melbourne Review: Miss Jugoslavia & The Barefoot Orchestra

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See article in its original context here by Anna Snoekstra for The Melbourne Review.

Cold war served warm: a chaotic and personal performance told beyond words.

“We didn’t hear about why they left, we didn’t hear their stories. This was like an uncovering,” Tania Bosak, musician and performer, tells me. Miss Jugoslavia & The Barefoot Orchestra was performed to rave reviews at Mona Foma earlier this year; however, the conception of this production was in 1991 when civil war broke out in Yugoslavia and Bosak’s nationality literally changed overnight.

After Bosak began asking her musician father questions about his life, he revealed the story of his defection from the former Yugoslavia to Belgium. She began retelling the story in her concerts and it started to take on a life of its own.

“It’s fed me as an actor, as a composer, as a musician. It’s ignited in me a passion for finding a really new way of working with my skills. Which is unlike anything I have ever done or seen. It was like a work that had to happen, artistically and creatively.”

Focusing on themes of espionage, displacement and loss of homeland, Miss Jugoslavia & The Barefoot Orchestra tells Bosak’s father’s story in a highly original way. Using Croatian language, music and performance, Bosak brings a new style of production to Melbourne called Composed Theatre.

“There is a lot of decoding,” states Bosak, “so people are invited into piecing things together as opposed to holding people by the hand and telling them exactly what’s going on.”

However, she doesn’t think that an audience will have any trouble understanding the layers of the work. “Music is so powerful. Sound is so powerful. It kicks into our emotional brain a lot faster than language. I love that idea of being able to be aurally taken over and really entering a journey inside your own head.”

Miss Jugoslavia & The Barefoot Orchestra: Cold War Served Warm will have a two week season from October 29 to November 10 at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.


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