What happens when the stage lights shut down?
Young, versatile, ambitious, hard-working, calm, patient…Antonio Jakupčević!
Experienced, cruel, greedy, strict, energetic…Henry Morgan!
He is everything and more than that! Again we take you behind the scenes of Istra Inspirit, and today you can meet one member of our cast. Antonio Jakupčević is a young actor from Osijek who is surely known in Istra Inspirit for his role of unique Henry Morgan. His incredible transformations and acting skills thrilled all our guests, and now you can find out what Antonio is like privately, what he likes, what entertains him, and what will he always remember from his adventures in Istra Inspirit…
Antonio Jakupčević, young talented actor from Osijek known for his role of dangerous pirate Henry Morgan in Istra Inspirit…Antonio, tell us something about yourself.
Briefly – anything but vicious, an electrical engineer and music theorist with completed one academic year of Turkology and Hungarian studies, recently a Bachelor in Acting and Puppetry, and currently first year student of Graduate Studies of Acting and Puppetry at the Art Academy in Osijek.
You have been part of Istra Inspirit for two years now. What does Istra Inspirit mean to you and what makes Inspirit experiences different from your other performances and plays?
Istra Inspirit represents a huge experience for me, especially during my first season. In fact, I’ve never been in Istria until the art director Petra B. Blašković invited me, and through countless Istra Inspirit experiences I’ve traveled around Istria, met Istrian customs „šćike“ (:)), and I can’t forget the great and numerous Inspirit team that has been a pleasure to work and have fun with.
Istra Inspirit experiences are different and more interactive from my other performances in theatre. It is very important to handle very good with performance materials and to be ready to improvise, feel the energy of the audience, listen to other members of the ensemble and so on. And you never know when someone from the audience would do or say something.
In your first year with us you already got a chance to play a major role in the performance that was held for the first time and which initiated an avalanche of insanity for the pirates, Captain Morgan and Dvigrad. How did you feel when you got this role and how did you manage to deal with different challenges?
Art director Petra B. Blašković announced at the beginning of the season that we will be working on performance about Captain Morgan and that it has to be a spectacle. At that time I didn’t even imagine that I will have the responsibility of jumping into his famous red suit. The first things that I felt when I found out that I will play the role of Captain Morgan were shock and disbelief. Slightly built and generally decent, I have never seen myself in the role of vicious pirate. Since I have no habit to run away from the challenges, instead of questioning myself, I started to explore absolutely everything about Captain Morgan, his actions in the Caribbean, his arrival to Istria and hiding treasure in Dvigrad. The biggest challenge for me was the fact that I had the leading role and that I actually have to lead a team of twenty people, who were really an incredible support to me and helped me to deal with this demanding role.
The moment I started to believe in myself, I was ready to become a captain, and when the makeup and costume gave the last “touch”, the character of Morgan which I still enjoy playing was born.
Which were your most difficult roles?
In Inspirit? Nothing was too difficult, but I can say that physically the most challenging performance for me was the Mythical creatures of Istria, that we play for children. But it was worth it.
Beyond Inspirit? I have not yet encountered difficult roles. Demanding yes, but nothing is too hard when you’re doing what you like.
Is there any role or performance in which you wouldn’t like to participate?
What are your favorite roles? And what would you like to do further in your career?
It’s hard to say which are my favorite roles. I’m still exploring myself and I like to play different characters and personalities, especially ones that are not similar to my personality (such as Morgan) are currently very interesting to me.
In the future I would like to work within a wide range of theatrical activities. Somehow, it would be ideal to act in theater performances, musicals, puppetry and children’s shows, movies…
Yes, currently is the stage of megalomania, but we’ll see what the future will bring.
What is your favorite role in Istra Inspirit experiences? What do you like the most?
As expected – Morgan!
Generally, I enjoy in every Inspirit performance and I prefer each one for something, but as for Morgan I can allow myself absolutely everything and the audience enjoys it. From performance to performance it fascinates me how much the audience accept the game with various insults that pirates often speak and with their reactions are looking for more.
Your favorite scene in favourite Inspirit performance?
Hanging Johnny in Morgan’s treasure. The moment of silence is really special.
Can you share with us some anecdote from Inspirit? Some special memories? Which memories do you have from Istria?
If we wrote down all the anecdotes from Inspirit, I think we could publish a book. One anecdote is from my first season, when we were traveling on a performance for children.
The four of us were traveling in an old Fiat Punto full of puppets on Istrian highway from Pula to Rovinj. We were having fun and singing newly learned songs for the performance, when we smelled smoke. Not long after we even saw the smoke, so we quickly pulled over and ran off, thinking it would catch fire. Fortunately – it didn’t – but we had to wait for few hours on the highway for a tow truck, and then the ride home in Vodnjan as well. The performance was, of course, canceled.
Once we were in Pazin and at the last moment it started rain, so we had twenty minutes before the performance to move everything in the small interior. The similar situation happened at the premiere of Morgan’s treasure.
Once during the performance I fell off the stilts (without any injuries), once we sang to my colleague together with the audience and the band “Happy Birthday” at the end of the play, and it wasn’t even his birthday…
I have so many wonderful memories during the two summer seasons, so if I start writing them now I wouldn’t finish this interview till the New Year.
Istra Inspirit actors are in constant interaction with the audience. Is there anything that particularly made you laugh, amused, impressed you or maybe even made you sad during these interactions?
What specially remained in my memory is the fourth performance of Mythical creatures of Istria. Children were great audience that day, and in the final scene they were singing along with me, when at once a three year old Hungarian girl from the audience ran towards me with opened arms and hugged me. I’ll never forget that scene.
This year, dressed like pirates, we forced one tourist to bring us the treasure from Puerto Principe, and then we literally took and stole his clothes. He was thrilled, and so were we. (In the end he got his clothes back, of course.)
What is Antonio like privately? What else do you do besides acting?
While studying acting, it is hard to find time for anything else, as it is a study that you have to come early in the morning and stay there until closing. I love languages, especially the exotic ones, and because of that I studied Turkish and Hungarian, and along with Turkish I learned a bit of Arabic. I didn’t play „tamburice“ and piano for a long time because of the academic obligations, but this year I intend to renew my skills. While creating puppets on my last academic year, I found a new passion – making various figures and objects made of wood. Also, I like bicycles, walks, animals, audio and video editing…
You live and study in Osijek, but Istria becomes your home during the summer. How do you adjust to these changes and what are the advantages of Osijek compared to Istria and other way around?
I adapt to these changes pretty much as my skin. When I come from Osijek, my skin is pale and full of mosquito bites. Then I got sunburned on the coastline in Istria, it hurts for a few days, but then it has the copper tan and my skin is ready for the bright sun.
I like Osijek because it is quiet with generally good atmosphere, especially during the winter months. Istria is my summer home where there are no swarms of bloodthirsty mosquitoes and terrible heat, where I can always refresh into the crystal clear sea and enjoy with my friends between our performances with a refreshing drink “Pašareta”.
However, I like to visit my hometown, whenever I can (a small village near Bjelovar), where my family lives, but it doesn’t happen often because of my job. I like to be everywhere, so it is not necessary to point out the advantages and disadvantages of different places.
Which location of those that you have visited in Istria is your favorite? If someone asks you what you shouldn’t miss in Istria – what would you say?
I would say – Don’t miss Istria!
Favorite question to everyone…where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Uh, it is difficult to answer that question. I rarely plan that far ahead. I like to see opportunities that are offered and then decide what is best for me. For instance, I’d like to travel as much as possible, both private and business travels.
And where do you see Istra Inspirit in 10 years?
In the world.
In the end, one message for our readers?
Inspirit with you!
Istra Inspirit Archive
Antonio Jakupčević private collection