It is almost a year since we premiered Finger Trigger Bullet Gun at LIFT. The show is about the start of the First World War. Britain gets a prologue and a few fleeting mentions but the show is centred on Berlin, Vienna and Belgrade and history from their perspective. Working on the show taught us an enormous amount of history and some geography. It opened our eyes to how narrow our view of this area of history is. This lack of knowledge combined with the setting a hundred years ago and many hundreds of miles away made the piece feel quite distanced from us, until the final scene brings all these historical incidents crashing, terrifyingly into the present.
Now we are in Novi Sad with the show and it all feels different. Novi Sad is Serbia’s second city. It stands on territory that was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Most of the city is on the West of the Danube but the old town is on the eastern bank right up against imposing walls of the vast Petrovaradin Fortress, built to hold back the Ottoman Empire.
From the fortress more history becomes visible. Below stone stumps speak for a bridge destroyed in the second world war and never rebuilt. To the right there is a temporary box metal bridge over which trains and cars take turns to cross. Further downstream a new bridge is being built to ease this transport bottleneck. The bottleneck is further history, a legacy of April 1999 NATO bombers destroyed all the bridges in Novi Sad.
In Britain history is turgid, in Serbia “ history appears […] twice a day”. There seems to barely be a question in this city the answer to which does not start in deep history. It is clear Finger Trigger Bullet Gun is coming home.