"Football dance" play a global soccer celebration

Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:56pm EDT
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By Maja Zuvela

SARAJEVO (Reuters Life!) - A new soccer play on show in Bosnia and South Africa this month pays tribute to the transformative effects of the world's most popular sport.

"Football Football," in which Bosnian director Haris Pasovic explores the phenomenon of football and its impact on ordinary people, is possibly the biggest theater production to be staged in the impoverished Balkan country this year.

The play, which has already opened to critical and popular acclaim in Sarajevo, brings a new combination of dance and football moves to the stage, which Pasovic has called "football dance."

"Football is probably the most democratic human activity. It belongs to everyone... to poor and rich, illiterate and educated, to all races, cultures and nations," says Pasovic, whose play will be also be staged in Johannesburg this month in time to catch the World Cup fever.

"It's a game that changes peoples' lives, moves history and economy, causes a collective euphoria or depression," he said.

The play is a combination of story-telling, music, dance, drama and video, co-produced by the Sarajevo-based East West Center, Singapore Arts Festival and Napoli Theater Festival Italia.

It is set in a guns-and-drugs-ridden ghetto of Scampia in Naples, the fiefdom of Camorra, Italy's second largest mafia group. The setting is similar to the slums where some of the beautiful game's greatest players, such as Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, grew up.

In the play, Scampia is home to a group of marginalized, soccer-loving young immigrants, suspended between a grim reality of their lives and unfulfilled dreams about football fame.   Continued...

<p>Actors, ball juggling footballers and dancers from four continents perform in a theatre play called "Football Football", which opened in an abandoned factory in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo June 15, 2010, paying tribute to the world's most popular sport just as the World Cup craze kicked off. REUTERS/Danilo Krstanovic</p>