DANILO ’BATA’ STOJKOVIĆ (1934 – 2002)
Bata Stojković was and will always remain a great friend of mine. Our friendship – daily meetings and conversations – has produced several “artistic endeavours” which have survived years, decades and the 20th century. The joy we feel while doing the job is what is necessary for a play or film to transfer that same feeling to the audience. As an impresario of a great, enchanting cycle called life, Bata played the roles which remained “an identity card” of a time and nation searching for its own identity… He was and will continue to be one of the greatest Serbian actors.
Bata is an amazing actor. As soon as he appears on stage, any and every member of the audience is momentarily captivated and instantly likes and is attached to the wretch Bata is playing.
This Luka Laban is one of the greatest roles we have seen on our stage recently, and it will remain so in the finickiest anthology of our (as Laza Kostić used to say) theatricals.
Bata Stojković is an actor and only an actor, apart from that he does not exist. We would stay up talking many nights after his shows, and I would always have the impression, whatever we were discussing in those late-night talks of ours, that I was talking to a person who had just temporarily stepped off the stage, where he forever dwelled and where, in fact, he lasted, lived, breathed and thought. I would have this feeling that his stepping off stage and coming to join us was actually just a deception, an illusion in the Plato’s sense of the word, as if he were a shadow of a living and breathing idea of an actor.
Successful teams of playwrights and directors exist both here and elsewhere in the world. However, it would prove very difficult to find an instance of such a conjoined sensibility, in which the playwright has found his actor, and the actor his playwright, as it has been the case of Bata Stojković and Dušan Kovačević. Without wishing to underestimate his other performances, I believe that the numerous characters he has played in Kovačević’s works are the best of what Bata’s performance and creativity have to offer. In those characters, we can easily uncover what it is that makes Stojković such a great actor: those constant variations in invariability.
Bata Stojković fully possesses both gifts that can make someone a great actor: an ability to convey a tragedy and a capability to transform it into a comedy. He can make a connection between these two opposing sentiments, and lead his audience from tears to laughter in a manner that only the greatest and most powerful actors can do.
Bata Stojković cannot stand bad actors, and with great ones he is ruthless. Being his friend is not easy, and working with him is fierce. Bata Stojković will inevitably keep company with the greatest actors in history.
He was born in Belgrade on 11th August 1934. He graduated from the Academy for Theatrical Art in Belgrade, in the class of Professor Tomislav Tanhofer.
Having finished his studies, he got his first job at the Jugoslovensko Dramsko Pozorište (Yugoslav Drama Theatre) (1959), and then continued with his career at the Atelje 212 Theatre (Atelier 212 Theatre) (1962). Bata spent his last working years at the Zvezdara Theatre performing from 1987 until 2002, and played seven roles in an astonishing number of performances – 1.102.
On 13th February 2002, he gave his last performance on the stage that is today named after him. The last play he performed in was Profesionalac (The Professional), written by Dušan Kovačević, where he played the role of Luka Laban for the 416th time.
In 2011, the big stage in the Zvezdara Theatre was named Danilo ‘Bata’ Stojković Stage.
During his career, Danilo ‘Bata’ Stojković had performed in more than 80 plays, 68 films, more than 50 TV films and 20 TV series, many of which became part of the Serbian theatre and film anthology and history.
Play Strindberg by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (as Edgar), Purpurno Ostrvo (The Purple Island) by Mikhail Bulgakov (as Sava Lukič), Еmigranti (Emigrants) by Slavomir Mrožek (as XX), Оžalošćena Porodica (Bereaved Family) by Branislav Nušić (as Аgaton), Cincari ili Korešpodencija (Correspondence) by Borislav Pekić (as Simeon Njegovan Lupus), Аudijencija-Vernisaž (Audience-Unveiling) by Vaclav Havel (as Vanek), Balkanski Špijun (Balkan Spy) by Dušan Kovačević (as Ilija Čvorović), Кlaustrofobična Komedija (Claustrophobic Comedy) by Dušan Kovačević (Sava the chimneysweep), Profesionalac (The Professional) by Dušan Kovačević (as Luka Laban), Urnebesna Tragedija (Roaring Tragedy) by Dušan Kovačević (as Vasilije), Đeneral Milan Nedić (General Milan Nedić) by Siniša Kovačević (as the Army General Milan Nedić), Lari Tompson – Tragedija Jedne Mladosti (Larry Thompson, the Tragedy of a Youth) by Dušan Kovačević (as Dragan Nos, Bojan Nos, Oliver Nos)…
Čovek iz Hrastove Šume (The Man from an Oak Forest) by Mića Popović, 1964, Zazidani (The Walled in) by Vojislav Kokan Rakonjac, 1969, Majstor i Margarita (The Master and Margarita) by Aleksandar Petrović, 1972, Čuvar Plaže u Zimskom Periodu (Beach Guard in Winter) by Goran Paskaljević, 1977, Pas Koji Je Voleo Vozove (The Dog Who Loved Trains) by Goran Paskaljević, 1977, Poseban Tretman (Special Treatment) by Goran Paskaljević, 1980, Ko To Tamo Peva (Who’s Singing Over There?) by Slobodan Šijan, 1980, Maratonci Trče Počasni Krug (The Marathon Family) by Slobodan Šijan, 1982, Како Sam Sistematski Uništen od Idiota (How I Got Systematically Destroyed by an Idiot) by Slobodan Šijan, 1983, Čudo Neviđeno (Unseen Wonder) by Živko Nikolić, 1984, Varljivo Leto 68. (The Elusive Summer of ‘68) by Goran Paskaljević, 1984, Balkanski Špijun (Balkan Spy) by Božidar Nikolić and Dušan Kovačević, 1984, Sabirni Centar (The Collective Centre) by Goran Marković, 1989, Podzemlje (Underground) by Еmir Kusturica, 1995…
ТV Series (selection):
Samci (Loners) by Аleksandar Đorđević, 1967, Diplomci (Graduates) by Nebojša Komadina, 1971, Naše Priredbe (Our Shows) by Jovan Ristić, 1973, Grlom u Jagode (On the Spur of the Moment) by Srđan Karanović, 1975, Priče iz Fabrike (Stories from a Factory) by Milija Šević, 1985, Balkan Ekspres (Balkan Express) (Radović, Antonijević, Đorđević, 1986)…
Zlatni Lovorov Vijenac/Golden Laurel Wreath (MESS Sarajevo, 1971, for Krivice; 1982, for Audijencija-Vernisaž), Oktobarska nagrada Grada Beograda/October Award Given by the City of Belgrade (1972, for Play Strindberg), Statuette “Ćuran” (Dani Komedije, Jagodina, 1981, for Ožalošćena Porodica; 1983, for Balkanski Špijun; 1988, for Кlaustrofobična Komedija; 1990, for Profesionalac), Sterijina nagrada/Sterija’s Award (Sterijino Pozorje, Novi Sad, 1983, for Balkanski Špijun; 1990, for Profesionalac), The First Award for the Best Male Performance in a Leading Role (Festival in Quebec, Canada, 1984, for Audijencija-Vernisaž), Dobričin prsten/Dobrica’s Ring (Lifetime Achievement Award, UDUS, MPUS, Zlatara Majdanpek,1990)…
Srebrna Arena/Silver Arena (Yugoslav Film Festival, Pula, 1969, for Zazidani), Zlatna Arena/Golden Arena (Yugoslav Film Festival, Pula, 1984, for Balkanski Špijun), “Car Konstantin” Award (Filmski Susreti, Niš, 1984, for Balkanski Špijun), “Pavle Vuisić” Award (Lifetime Achievement Award, Filmski susreti, Niš, 1989)…