Professor Predrag Bajčetić: The Life And The Method
Ladevac, M. (2015). Professor Predrag Bajčetić: The Life And The Method (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10522
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10522
The facts show that more than 300 actors have been educated by Professor Predrag Bajčetić, through his own acting training method, not just in Serbia but in other ex-Yugoslav republics and Norway as well. Professor Bajčetić also has directed a vast number of theatre plays, television films and radio dramas, and he has written more than thirty theoretical articles, essays and reviews. However, there are very few writings about him in Serbian and almost none in English. With this thesis I am presenting his work to an English-speaking reader, as I strongly believe that the Professor’s acting training method, which prepares an actor for all different types of theatre, should be known to a wider audience. This thesis summarises the findings collected through biographical research methods. The research was designed in three parts. The first part was an interview with Professor Bajčetić to provide data useful for understanding the construction of the acting training method, as well as his overall mentorship. The second part was a survey with the Professor’s former students; two were chosen from every class he taught since 1971. The third part was the analysis of the Professor’s previously given interviews and analysis of some of his published articles and essays, which helped me to collect useful data for this research. The information I have gathered shed light on the Professor’s life circumstances, his acting training method and his mentorship, and is of immense value in understanding his influence, and the influence of his method on his former students, as well as the general significance of Professor Bajčetić in Serbian social and artistic contexts. Regarding the method itself, it will be seen how the political atmosphere was one of the biggest obstacles in the creation process from 1956 until Professor Bajčetić’s retirement in 2001. As the Professor had participated in all important political events and protests in Yugoslavia and Serbia since 1956, his work was always strictly controlled. Despite the fact that he could not talk or write freely about some pedagogical innovations, he had the chance to share his ideas in the United States of America and Norway and to test them away from the politically controlled regime in his own country. Nevertheless, in his own country he was ‘removed’ from his public work as a director. To be more precise, he was completely excluded from further work as a director in theatre, radio and television. Even though his writings were published, they were all strictly theoretical. Therefore, his work was principally pedagogical. However, his influence on his students was sufficiently significant to spread his ideas through them. The findings undoubtedly show the Professor’s enormous influence on his former students. Their testimonies in the survey state that he always expected their maximum efforts. Even when they would perform on the highest levels, giving their utmost, the Professor would ask for more. He was very strict but gentle at the same time, the majority of participants stated. He was always there to support them even in the most turbulent political periods in the former Yugoslavia and Milošević’s Serbia. The only question that was answered unanimously by all participants was regarding his dedication to his students; he always stayed longer at the class and worked, very often, with his students in his own free time. As the greater group of participants stated, Professor Bajčetić shaped his student’s personalities; to bring them to the view that morality and the protection of national and cultural values are the obligation of an artist. Therefore, he taught his former students to act and react in all important political and cultural events as they, as actors, would have a considerable public influence. As for the importance of Professor Bajčetić’s acting training method, his former students acknowledged the method as the most significant in their acting careers. From the method, they chose work on Chekhov’s plays and on the Tables of Nations from the Bible as the most important from Year One. In the part of the survey considering Year Two of the method, a greater number of participants chose to work on characters from Dostoyevsky’s novels and Shakespeare’s comedies. As for Year Three, work on characters from Ancient Greek and Shakespeare’s tragedies was chosen as most useful for their future work in theatre. They noticed that those tasks taught them to be emotional but ‘truthful’ on stage. Also it was drawn from the survey that the work on those exercises introduced to them the importance of theatre and developed in them a great deal of respect for it. However, it was clearly stated by all participants that the work in Year Three of the acting training method was the most significant for their work in theatre. My research investigates the impact of Professor Predrag Bajčetić and his acting training method. All the data collected through the research provides sufficient proof of the Professor’s pre-eminence in the social and artistic context, both in former Yugoslavia and contemporary Serbia. His importance is demonstrated not only through his mentorship and his education of more than 300 actors – some of whom became the most important cultural and theatre people (such as ministers of culture and heads of main theatres in Serbia) – but also through his political activity in his country. Moreover, this thesis presents the most important tasks from his acting method, chosen by his former students and described by him throughout our interview, as well as his key writings regarding the field of acting pedagogy.
University of Waikato
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