One-act play about the teenage assassins of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, commissioned by Net Curtains Theatre Company for Tales of the Black Hand, four plays on the theme of assassination, performed at the Tricycle Theatre.
The play was inspired by the folk tales of Serbia, which are full of forest-dwelling monsters, from one-eyed witches to the mysterious screaming “drekavac” – along with the twentieth-century terrors unleashed by fanatical boys with guns, learning to shoot in the woods outside Belgrade.
Extract from Monsters of the Forest:
A distant shriek rings out from offstage.
Ned, Gavro and Trifko look at each other.
NED: Just a fox.
GAVRO: Or drekavac…
GAVRO: That’s what my gran would say.
TRIFKO: Drekavac. You really are a yokel.
GAVRO: I didn’t say I believed in it. I’m just telling you. We used to hear that all the time when we stayed with her.
They all listen.
GAVRO: And some of the sheep were always dead in the morning…
NED: What the hell is drekavac?
TRIFKO: ‘The screamer’. ARRGH! (he screams in NED’s face)
Ned pushes Trifko away.
The scream rings out again and they all jump. Ned and Trifko quickly try to recover their cool.
TRIFKO: You know, I heard Ferdinand was out hunting and he shot a white stag. It screamed like a woman.
NED: (pointing the gun) He deserves to die then.
GAVRO: I’m not making it up. They’d have their throats all chewed out.
TRIFKO: Is that why you’re so jumpy? You’ve been looking over your shoulder ever since we got here.
GAVRO: No! It’s not drekavac you want to worry about in this forest anyway.
NED: What is it, then?
GAVRO: Oh… you don’t want to know.
TRIFKO: You’re right. We don’t.
GAVRO: It’s Likho you want to worry about.
NED: (to TRIFKO) What’s Likho?
TRIFKO: Never heard of it.
GAVRO: Haven’t you ever heard that saying? “When Likho sleeps awake it not”?
TRIFKO: This another of your gran’s inventions?
GAVRO: Oh no. Everyone round here knows about Likho.
NED: Well, go on then. Tell us about it.
GAVRO: Not it. Her…