Vern Thiessen “Apple”, a stage director’s vision

Vern Thiessen precisely describes the importance of a pause in the performance of his play in the first stage directions. When one reads such an instruction, although the reading has not yet started, one thinks of Chekhov and Becket. Through very simple but detailed dialogues (we think of Pinter), the author then introduces us to one kind of oneiric reality arising from the suffering of characters in a difficult struggle between life and death, love and passion, responsibility and consolation, identity and hidden identities. The protagonist bites the breast of his partner as if it is an apple in the first scene, although it is not an apple, and thus symbolically leaves the Eden’s Garden and continues his journey.

The author uses an almost typical melodramatic plot and deals with a love triangle whose actors are, in a slightly probable but true way, connected in a dramatic situation of the struggle with severe illness of one of them. Illness is what makes a plain soul become more refined. Death is at the door, face to face with her, and they face their own lives only to realize that it is through the other that they can learn the truth. Repetitive dialogues with silences in between, support the plot speaking louder than anything else spoken out loud.

It is in silence, repetitiveness, and rhythm that the identities blend into one another. It is in the blue of the lake, in the sky above and the landscape surrounding it and through the reality of the moment that the unreality of death is shown. The shore, where the characters from the “Apple” are, is the shore where one crosses from one world to the other. The play carries the atmosphere of a dream thick with pain, beauty, and passion. Gently and emotionally, on a thin line between dreams and reality, we have created a special atmosphere of this powerful and at the same time strange story of love and death.

Aleksandra Kovačević, Stage Director



Aleksandra Kovačević

Graduated from FDA in Skopje in the class of Prof. Ljubiša Georgievski in 1991.

She has directed in almost all the professional theatres of Macedonia (Skopje – Drama Theater, Macedonian National Theater, Theatre of Nationalities, Turkish drama, co-directed MOT (Youth Open Theatre) Premiere, National Theater Bitola, Anton Panov Theater Strumica, Theater Kumanovo and National Theatre Štip). She has also directed at the Yugoslav Drama Theater and Boško Buha Theater in Belgrade, as well as in Kruševac and Kraljevo Theater.

Performances and awards at festivals: MOT (Youth Open Theatre) (Skopje), FIAT (Podgorica), INFANT (Novi Sad), International Ohrid Summer Festival, Athens –the Capital of Culture, Festival of Alternative Theatre (Kočani), Festival of Chamber Theater “Risto Šiškov” (Strumica) , Festival of Comedy in Korça (Albania), BRAMS, Joakim Vujić Festival, Joakim Interfest, Mali Joakim, Femart (Pristina), Zvezdarište Theater, Theatre Carousel (Lazarevac), etc.

She worked as a teaching assistant at the Department of Drama Faculty of Arts in Priština and the University of Braća Karić.

She was a BRAMS selector, a jury at Theatre Fest in Sarajevo and Alternative Theater Festival in Pančevo.

She has authored the theatre play “Perpetuum Mobile”, and published in the literary magazine “Charter”.

For one term, she was the Manager of Kraljevo Theater, and later the Art Director of the same theatre.

She has been the Manager of the Evening Scene of Kraljevo Theater from 1998 to date.



Prof. Ljiljana Petrović, a costume designer and full professor of scenic costume at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade.

She has designed costumes for a number of feature films: „Father“, „Circles“, „The Forger“, „My Beautiful Country“, „The Tour“, „The Trap“, „Absolute 100“, „ The Small World“, „Lightnings“, „When I Grow up I’ll Become a Kangaroo“ etc. and for more than 150 theatre plays and almost all leading theatres in Belgrade and National Theatres in Serbia, for TV drama, short and animated films, as well. Also, she has designed costumes for more than 350 projects realized in advertising (commercials, music videos).

She is a visiting professor at art universities: University of Arts „Mimar Sinan“ (Istanbul); ENSAD (Paris); in Boston, Connecticut and Bloomington (U.S.A.). She is a winner of Goethe Institute scholarship and 13 awards for costume design: Golden Tooba award for Best Costume DesignParadise Tree for Project „Cargo“, a joint project with А. Kostić (Visual Arts Festival, Tehran, Iran); Award for Best Costume Design in a feature film: Fipresci, Sofest, Golden Mimosa, award for costume design at May’s Salon, annual awards of ULUPUDS, awards for costume design in plays „King Lear“, „Villa Sachino“, „Trapped Sun“, award of the Chamber of Commerce Belgrade, YUSTAT award, Grand Prize of the University of Arts in Belgrade, Silver Coin Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, award for artistic creativity and recognition of the City of Požega, etc.

The project „The Last Supper“ is in the collections of Lapidarium Museum (CRO), design „The Mask“ is a part of the New Drama Center collection in Bloomington (U.S.A.), and costume design „Cargo“ has been purchased by the Ministry of Culture Serbia.

She is a curator for the selection of Serbia for the international exhibition Innovative Costume: The Next Generation A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, Moscow, Russia 2019.

She is a member of ULUPUDS, film association AFUN (Academy of Film Art and Science of Serbia ), the international association of costume Designers and Set Designers OISTAT and an honorary member of ULUPUH (The Croatian Association of Artists of Applied Arts).



Vern Thiessen (1964), a Canadian playwright.

Born in Winnipeg where he graduated from the Academy of Arts. He later received his Master’s degree at the University of Alberta, where he held a drama course. He was a president of the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Writers’ Association of Alberta.

Thiessen is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Governor General’s Award for English-language drama (Einstein’s Gift), the Carol Bolt Award for Best Play (Vimy) and the Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play (Apple). He has also received the City of Edmonton Arts Achievement Award and the University of Alberta Award.

Thiessen’s work has been translated into several languages including German, French, Polish and Hebrew. His plays are performed regularly in Canada, the United States, the U.K. and Europe, as well as in Australia and Asia. He has served as playwright in residence at the Citadel Theatre and Workshop West Theatre in Edmonton. He is currently an associate artist at Epic Theatre Ensemble from New York, and several theatre companies from Toronto and Vancouver.

From 2007 until 2014, he lived in New York City. He returned to Edmonton to serve as the Artistic Director of Workshop West Theatre in 2014.

Most important plays: „The Courier“, „The Resurrection of John Frum“, „Apple“, „Einstein’s Gift“, „Shakespeare’s Will“, „Back to Berlin“, „Vimy“, „Bird Brain“, „Rich“,
„Lenin’s Embalmers“, „The Last Tree of Rapa Nui“, „Do not Disturb”, „Of Human Bondage“ (based on the novel by William Somerset Maugham).


Vern Thiessen 

I am very excited that Apple will be making its premiere in Nis. This will be the first time one of my plays has been produced in Serbia. I am only sad that I will not be able to attend the first performances. I had the great opportunity to visit Serbia last year, when a play I was producing was performed at the Festival of Monodrama and Mime in Belgrade. I was astonished by the warmth of the Serbian people, and was welcomed kindly wherever I went. The long history and excellent quality of Serbian theatre is impressive. It is wonderful to know that there are still countries in the world that celebrate theatre and its importance in their lives. Many thanks to the cast and crew of Apple, and a special thanks to Spasoje Ž. Milovanović, for his outstanding artistry, and to Barbara Tolevska for introducing me to your country. I hope to be back in Serbia soon.

Sincerely, Vern Thiessen



Narodno pozoriste Nis


ANDY – Danilo Petrović
LYN – Katarina Mitić Pavlović
SAM – Kristina Tomić, g.a.

Technical Crew

Technical Manager: Ljubiša Živković
Stage Manager: Dobrila Marjanović
Sound Designer: Vladislav Djordjević
Lighting Design: Dejan Mitić
Video: Slobodan Ilić
Prompter: Ozren Mitić
Light Technician: Nemanja Pavlović
Stage Master: Slaviša Filipović
Stagehands: Srdjan Kitanović, Radomir Pešić, Dragan Dinić, Radovan Živković,
Miodrag Djordjević, Mića Lazarević
Props Master: Marko Djordjević
Dresser: Dušica Mladenović, Marko Dinić
Make-up, Wig Artists: Ljiljana Rašić, Ivana Lazarević
Tailoring: Marina Stevanović, Vladimir Pekić
Upholstery: Dragan Dinić
Workshop: Bogoljub Djordjević, Goran Stanković, Dragan Perić
Procurement: Bogdan Todorović
Driver: Nebojša Šarčević

Narodno pozoriste Nis
Vern Thiessen
Duška Milisavljević
Stage Director
Aleksandra Kovačević
Set Design and Costume Design
Ljiljana Petrović
Bratislav Zlatković
Danica Ničić
Stage Speech
Nataša Ilić
Milan Nestorović
Assistant Costume Designer
Katarina Filipović
Miloš Pavlović