If you're a dissolute youth in the East End of London, the slums of Dublin or on New York's affluent Upper West Side, the Chicago theater long has held a place for your whining. But if you're stuck in the provinces of Serbia? Different story. Or no story at all.
Until now. The fascinating and intensely stimulating new play "Huddersfield" - in its American premiere at the Victory Gardens from TUTA Theatre Chicago and a must-see for fans of edgy, risky, contemporary drama - is the work of the leading young Serbian scribe, Ugljesa Sajtinac. His work plows some of the same territory as British nihilists such as Mark Ravenhill or Irving Welsh, or that of Kenneth Lonergan, the American chronicler of the young, the smart and the bored stiff.
But unlike those writers - who tend to disappear into the navels of their self-indulgent characters - Sajtinac also obsesses with questions of national identity. And thus "Huddersfield" becomes both a modern Chekhovian picture of the Serbian slacker and a dissection of the complexities of the Serbian place in a post-Soviet world shorn of obvious historical references. And thanks to the intense direction of Dado in a tiny space, this powerfully realized and superbly acted show has received the kind of Chicago-style American premiere that one could easily imagine traveling to New York.
- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, June 2, 2006
This is the new Europe, with Serbia on the distant fringe.
During a night of wretched excess there are bursts of poisonous but self-aware racism on the part of Rasha, vomiting and rebellion by Mila, humiliation for Ivan and a roll call of the fates of the men's friends and classmates that suggests just how broken many of them became. There also is a morning-after sense of forgiveness, or at least a kind of total exhaustion.
"Huddersfield" is not for the faint of heart or the priggish. But it is one pitch black and rollicking act of catharsis -- deathly funny and ferocious, and a real coup for TUTA.
- Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times, June 5, 2006