Amfiteater, Journal of Performing Arts Theory, Volume 11, Number 1

Termin: 29. 06. 2023

This issue of Amfiteater journal mainly comprises papers based on Amfiteater’s academic symposium on the theme Theatre Experiment in Slovenia (1966–1986) and Its Resonance, which took place at the Slovenian Theatre Institute (SLOGI) in Ljubljana in autumn 2022. The symposium’s theme was born alongside the recent publication of the anthology Generator:: za proizvodnjo poljubnega števila dramskih kompleksov (The Generator:: for Manufacturing Any Number of Drama Complexes, UL AGRFT and SLOGI, 2022), in which editor Blaž Lukan collected almost 60 Slovenian experimental dramatic and performance texts from the modernist period (1966–1986) by more than 30 Slovenian authors.

Amfiteater’s first issue of 2023 thus brings us eight original papers in Slovenian and English. Several articles deal with the new forms of performance writing that emerged during the 1960s and 1970s. Although these new forms did not abolish the traditional dramatic form, they radically changed the role of textuality in the theatre. Branislav Jakovljević discusses the various relations between writing and performance. He shows the difference between mass performances – such as those in Belgrade every 25 May on the Youth Day celebrations – and similar performances with subversive and aesthetic potential. Ultimately, this distinction represents the difference between art and the mere reproduction or random combination of elements, which Jakovljević uses to reflect on the potential of contemporary artificial intelligence, which is becoming evermore pertinent in light of the latest developments with ChatGPT.

In their papers, Tomaž Toporišič and Gašper Troha write about the question of the dramatic text and the theatrical event, particularly in the context of Slovenian drama and (experimental) performance practices. Toporišič discusses how selected authors from the 1960s to the present day deconstructed the concept of drama and invented new forms of redramatisations and post-dramatic intermediality. Troha demonstrates the close connection between contemporary playwriting and experimental texts from the modernist period. While modernism sought to arrive at automatic writing and truth through chance and event, today’s artists seek to create a stronger sense of authenticity and emotional impact through the procedures of combinatorics and manipulation of the spectator.

Some of the contributors address the theoretical positioning of staged readings (Barbara Orel, Varja Hrvatin, Maša Radi Buh and Jakob Ribič).

Some more specific aspects of theatre experiment in Slovenia are also addressed: Krištof Jacek Kozak examines an almost-forgotten playlet by Taras Kermauner, pointing out Kermauner’s interesting view of modernist poetry. Gregor Pompe analyses the musical theatre oeuvre of Darijan Božič to, on the one hand, demonstrate the Slovenian composer’s prolific work for the musical stage, which presented the most up-to-date modernist procedures of the time, such as those introduced by John Cage in the United States. On the other hand, the Slovenian theatre and music scene remained highly suspicious of opera, and Božič had to constantly search for more appropriate genre labels for his works. Nika Leskovšek deals with the representation of woman(liness), or the absence of it, in The Generator anthology, which perhaps points to the patriarchal nature of the period, a time of student unrest and demands for complete individual freedom.

The issue concludes with Tajda Lipicer’s review of the book Eseji o komediji (Essays on Comedy) by Jure Gantar (MGL, 2022).

The issue was editey by the new Editor-in-Chief Maja Murnik.

The journal is included in: MLA International Bibliography (Directory of periodicals), Scopus, DOAJ. The publishing of Amfiteater is supported by the Slovenian Research Agency and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.