Short+Sweet | Serbian Sergej returns to the festival

OFF STAGE: Sergej Kozul, of Voyager Point, has a passion for theatre and a passion for helping migrants and refugees tell their stories.
OFF STAGE: Sergej Kozul, of Voyager Point, has a passion for theatre and a passion for helping migrants and refugees tell their stories.

Short+Sweet will present lots of 10-minute short plays from February 1 to April – 120 of them, in fact. This year it’s in the Tom Mann Theatre at SurryHills and, as always, aims to expose upcoming talent.

One of the short plays will feature VoyagerPoint’s SergejKozul who wrote, directed and acts in his one-man show Scent of a Woman for my Dog.

He said it’s about a lonely blind man whose only friend is his dog. He meets a woman next door and invites her for dinner. The smell of her hair reminds him of good memories he had with his dog while on a vacation. 

Sergej, 35, is of a Serbian background and this will mark his return to the festival. “I came to Australia in 2001 at 18. I was a student at MillerHighSchool but then my drama teacher helped me to transfer to the PerformingArtsHighSchool at Campbelltown,” he said.

From there he graduated from the UniversityofWollongong with a degree in acting and a year later, in 2007, he appeared in Short+Sweet for the first time.

ON STAGE: Sergej Kozul.

ON STAGE: Sergej Kozul.

But it’s just a sideline. “I began writing this monologue as a student – I’d get the train to school and there was a blind man with dogs and I was inspired by that person whom I never got to meet. We see all these people on streets and trains and wonder what’s going on in their worlds.”

He works  with migrants and refugees with interests in theatre. “When I graduated it was hard having a passion for theatre and being a migrant. Because of the language barrier in 2009 I established Australian-Serbian theatre in Liverpool, Pilipenda. We produce plays in Serbian and English.”

Yet the main project he’s working hard on is not set until RefugeeWeek in June at CasulaPowerhouse. “I’m working with migrants from Syrian backgrounds at Fairfield. Western Sydney is a great place to tell stories. We’re currently workshopping the script. My goal is to promote diversity in theatre and film. The people involved in this inspired me to write the play for them – it’s based on their lives.”

The Syrian workshop helps members with English. “It can be therapeutic. They can express themselves to people who speak the same language. I was a bit scared that through this I could trigger trauma but they said they were fine to talk about it.”