About the Book:
The book Cruel Classic - New Approaches to Directing Classic Plays explores the topic of introducing a new paradigm in the transpositions of classic theatre plays onto the stage. Thus perceived, the central topic of the study belongs to a wider phenomenon of re-actualizing dramatic heritage, which has, in terms of staging classic plays, marked the second part of the 20th century.
The phenomenon of re-actualizing dramatic heritage that the study deals with belongs to the area of dramatic theatre, i.e. its narrower scope - director’s theatre, whereas the selected trend (radical twists in interpreting classic plays) reached its climax around the mid part of the second half of the last century.
Namely, in the field of re-actualizing classic theatre plays in the said period, the approaches to directing that stand out are the ones that radically change interpretative code in their transpositions onto the stage. Their crucial contribution to the history of contemporary theatre lies in their radical distancing from the dominant tradition, in their introducing some new paradigms in the way they interpret classic plays onstage. In that respect, the selection has been made from the performances which belong to the anthology of the second half of the 20th century theatre both according to the said characteristic, and to their artistic achievements. Five examples have been chosen, four foreign ones and one that belongs to the national context. Those are Three Sisters by Chekhov, directed by Otomar Krejča (1965), A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare, directed by Peter Brook (1970), A Matter of Dispute by Marivaux, directed by Patrice Chéreau (1973), The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov, directed by Giorgio Strehler (1974), and, finally, as an analogous national example, A Pretentious Wench by Jovan Sterija Popović, directed by Dejan Mijač (1973).
Simultaneously, that approach places a significant segment of our directing in a wider European context for the first time: apart from the mentioned foreign performances that belong to the anthology of theatre, the performance A Pretentious Wench belongs to the model which implies the change of paradigm in staging classic plays which was, as mentioned before, a dominant characteristic of the European theatre at the time.
In addition, wishing to provide a more comprehensive view of the phenomenon, the study includes a number of examples of the performances that fall out of its primary focus (radical change of paradigm), but in a more or less autonomous manner still do make a significant contribution in terms of interpretation of classic plays (by linking them to contemporary moment, by finding a stage formula for a play, etc.). Within the wider approach, the examples selected among the numerous heterogenous directorial practices are: Peter Stein’s (Torquato Tasso by Goethe, Summerfolk by Maxim Gorky, Oresteia by Aeschylus), Victor Garcia’s (Yerma by Lorca), Giorgio Strehler’s (Goldoni), and Ingmar Bergman’s (August Strindberg).
She has obtained her BA in Dramaturgy, and her MA and PhD in Theatre Studies at the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade. She teaches the History of Theatre and Drama at the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade (2014-2019 a docent, as of 2019, a visiting professor).
From 2001 to 2012, she was the director of the Theatre Museum of Serbia, and the editor-in-chief of the theatre journal Teatron. Artistic director and the curator at Sterijino pozorje festival (2010-2012).
She is the author of the book A Step Ahead (Directions by Dejan Mijač at the Stage of Yugoslav Drama Theatre: 1977-1996), Grad Teatar Budva - Oktoih, Podgorica 2000.
She has won the Sterija Award for theatre critique.
BOOK COVER: prof Zoran Blažina