Sonnabend, 30. Mai 2020

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Theatrical Landscape of Croatia

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Theatrical Landscape of Croatia
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It is no wonder that such a theatre model of financial security neither worries about artistic or box office success and is quite happy with the status quo and to remain middle of the road. The repertoire is steered in a conventional and often popular or commercial direction – innovative methods of directing are nowhere in sight. During and shortly after the war of independence foreign directors were just about forbidden, even Slovenians were regarded as undesirable guests. In the meantime it's the other way round. Directors from abroad with uninteresting artistic biographies are invited or Croatian directors from the in-between generation who are regarded to be quiet and conformist. In Zagreb there are some directors who direct in most of the municipal theatres which means that no theatre has managed to develop its own individual profile; everywhere in theatres such as the Gavella, the Kerempuh or the ZeKaeM, performances can be seen that are virtually indistinguishable from another.

Two worlds: The established and the up and coming.
Even if the theatre in Croatia has known better times, today its mainstream is still stuck in psychology, realism and illustration. Even if there are some shy tendencies towards modernism, they are epigonic, second-rate versions based on some German or French models. The readiness to break away from this state of affairs rarely exists. The young generation of graduated directors is seldom given work on big stages. The Theatre Academy in Zagreb which for a long time was the bulwark of backwardness and conservatism has now for a few years with the turn over of the professor generation produced some interesting artistic personalities. However, the directors of state theatres, who find this of little interest, for instance, never turn up to see diploma performances. In addition, a creative mixture of the independent scene and state theatres, like in Germany, does not exist; these two worlds remain clearly separated from another.

It is no easier for young playwrights. Many are recruited from the studies of dramaturgy at the Theatre Academy, but there is a lack of theatre politics to regularly promote the presentation of new Croatian texts. Apart from the juries who occasionally award a few prizes to young authors, they complain that there is noone to read their texts, not even in theatres which have full-time dramaturges. One generation that caught the public attention despite the sparse amount of stagings of their plays, at the end of the 80's beginning of the 90's, were Ivan Vidić, Asja Srnec-Todorović, Mate Matišić and Filip Šovagović. At the end of the 90's a new generation has followed, which deals with social and political realities of the transition period in Croatia. Some of them like Ivana Sajko and Tena Štivičić have become known abroad. However on stage at home in their own country their work is rarely seen.