project image
Melissa Hardwick
EASTERN EUROPEANS FOR DUMMIES: IS IT ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING?

first performed on April 8, 2011
The Others, London, UK
performed 12 times in 2011

THERE, THERE

Bojana Jankovic and Dana Olarescu

London, UK
olarescu.dana@yahoo.com
theretherecompany.com

EASTERN EUROPEANS FOR DUMMIES: IS IT ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING?
THERE, THERE

At a time when Western society is dealing with a financial crisis, the mythical Eastern European creature, with its poor accent, dry hands and bad complexion, rises from the masses of perfectly freckled, skinny jeans-equipped individuals. This bizarre species manages to inflict itself in a different culture almost unobserved. “Eastern Europeans for Dummies: Is It About Sex Trafficking?” is a performance that tackles Eastern Europeans, Eastern European-ness and Eastern European life practices.

The performance is devised as a museum piece consisting of two performers who act as live exhibits. The audience is led through the story of the two by an audio recording of a museum guide narrator. Drawing from guides such as

How to Speak English in Two Weeks

and

For Dummies

books, the performance is an ironic and contemporary take on an anthropology lecture that casts the audience as avid and endangered learners. The David Attenborough-reminiscent narrator voice takes the audience through a journey of understanding Eastern Europeans, specifically a Romanian and a Serbian. The show encompasses all the essential survival techniques to be employed when around Eastern Europeans: teaching the audience to not only recognize the general species of Eastern Europeans but also distinguish between different varieties so as to be able to defend themselves properly. The educational value is increased by extra material on not only how to stop their deviant ways of getting things (especially jobs and freebies), but also how to take advantage of them. The final section is a life and death contest between the two regarding passing a residency test. Who will survive and how will they achieve it?

Revolving around the ideas of public display and public identity, the performance blends thought-provoking facts about Eastern Europeans as a cohort with satirical elements that place the show on the border between offence and comedy, while sourcing from the high-brow credibility of a museum exhibit. In between the mashed up preconceptions of Eastern and Western Europeans alike, it utilizes the pop-culture friendly 30 minute format in hopes to reveal glimpses of a failed multiculturalism.