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Theatrical Landscape of Bulgaria

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Theatrical Landscape of Bulgaria
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One of Sfumatos' authors is Konstantin Iliev (*1937). By the end of the 80's he had written ten dramas and one novel. For these works a historicisation of the plot according to Brecht is typical, as well as leading the person into a situation that puts their ethnical decisions to the test. This applies to "Lame-Leg or Lupine Holy Mother" (1994), in which moments of Bulgarian history overlap each other, or to "Francesca" (2002), which is about an old woman who, after emotional stress, can "see" what happened in the past and is about to happen in the future. Konstantin Iliev’s dramas display fragmented topics and the breakdown of linear history in dramas.

We can observe the same process with another Bulgarian playwright, Bojan Papazow (1943) who uses the collage technique in his plays. "Incantation of fleas" (1999) is a complicated linkage of six monologues, which present the fates of a Bulgarian species. "Demon Sale" consists of 16 montage-like scenes in a simultaneous manner, in which different subcultures meet.

The breakdown of metaphysics after 1989
The breakdown of the metaphysical perspective denotes a new dominating direction of theatre after 1989. It consists of different stylistics.  A new generation of stage directors - Stefan Moskov (*1960), Javor Gardev (*1972), Lilija Abadjieva (*1966), Galin Stoev (*1969), Alexander Morfov (*1960) - bring playful, stereotypical subjects to the stage by bringing in their own experiences of communism and the post communistic world. This was the "Back to the future" (Boris Groys) of theatre.

Moskov, one of the founders of the first private theatre "La Strada", showed a postmodern subject that lives in the models of cinema industry and popular culture, by means of theatrical improvisations. His most successful works are "Romeo and Juliet", "Jam" and "The Street" (which was later filmed as a series and received an award in Montreux). It is the theatre of pastiche, as well as of buffoonery.

New logic of postmodern theatre
The productions of the stage director Lilija Abadjiewa correspond to the logic of postmodern theatre and the dance-visual theatre. She deconstructs classic works with the help of pop-culture hits – mostly Shakespeare and Goethe too. Morfow also shows the resistance against the emotive, sublimely beautiful body of the actor that is demanded by the socialistic stage in Shakespeare collages.

Morfov's style imitated the semi official theatre language of communism, whose symbol was the national theatre "Ivan Vasov". He was invited by the new director Vasil Stefanov as a stage director in 1993, his performances represented the signs of change. In the 90's both his and Stefan Moskovs names were very present. Moskov directed in Germany (Thalia Theatre Hamburg) and Morfov became the artistic director of the National Theatre.

Post communism and globalisation
One of the most interesting routes of present Bulgarian theatre has been set by stage director Javor Gardev, one of the founders of the "Triumviratus Art Group”, together with stage designer Nikola Toromanov (*1968) and writer Georgi Tenev (*1969). Gardev is a representative of a critically reflecting theatre, a strongly rhythmic-visual theatre, which thinks critically of the reality of post communism and globalisation. He uses the dominating cultural codes of society in his performances, whose aesthetic brings the audience’s attention to the present political problems.