I Am Gavrilo Princip
Army @ The Fringe
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is widely known as the trigger factor behind the onset of The Great War, but what of the man behind the gun? The name Gavrilo Princip may not have the recognition of Lee Harvey Oswald or John Wilkes Booth, but there was a person there all the same.
Oliver Yellop stages this monologue, complete with musical accompaniment from Princip’s lonely isolation in a purgatorial miasma, lost outside time and reality and forced to watch the repercussions of his actions eternally, musing on the meaning of his life, his actions and on what brought him to commit such an act.
It’s a solid piece, as Yellop struts, lounges and pontificates with all the fury and entitlement that you would expect from an angry young man, bitter at the world and desperate to prove himself. But this isn’t the usual sort of piece you’d expect, tying the persona of Princip into some sort of proto-incel or the like. Instead, we are led from his lowly birth in the rural hills of Obljaj through until his fateful date with destiny and the famously almost botched assassination in Sarajevo, with a measure of gentle understanding.
The play is accompanied by sporadic trumpet and guitar music, which accents the scenes with a folksy Balkan vibe, and the effect is quite mesmeric. The piece itself lacks a little bit of punch, and feels like it slightly loses its momentum, only to reignite itself in the final moments. But it’s a delightfully dark peering into the radicalised mind, and an enjoyable piece of historical theatre.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan