Amfiteater, Journal of Performing Arts Theory, Volume 12, Number 1

Termin: 13. 06. 2024

The first issue of Amfiteater journal in 2024 mainly comprises papers based on Amfiteater’s academic symposium on the theme The Survival of Comedy, which took place at the Slovenian Theatre Institute (SLOGI) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 5 and 6 October 2023. After centuries of the crisis of “pure” drama genres (at least on a declarative level) and the dominance of mixed genres, the time has come to theoretically re-examine what is actually happening to comedy. However, a glimpse at the repertoires of theatres in the third millennium quickly shows that comedy has survived the attempt to abolish it. It is still “alive” and vital. The authors of the articles thus asked themselves what comedy is likely to be today, what the types of comedy are, what their manifestations are – both in terms of drama and theatre – and what the sociopolitical context that crucially defines it is. The issue thus brings together eight original articles on the subject, three of which are published in both Slovenian and English.

Lada Čala Feldman discusses Philippe le Guay’s film Alceste à bicyclette (2013) through the lenses of the historical controversy generated by the pressure to choose between the two main characters of Molière’s Le Misanthrope. In the movie, the genre of comedy is placed in a new context, reinstating its initial subversive impact.

Jure Gantar analyses comedies that, even though written by well-respected authors from roughly the same historical period (Flaubert, Henry James, Chekhov), failed. The plays he examines were failures on the stage in their own time. Gantar analyses the reasons for such fate.

Radka Kunderová discusses the relations between the political and the comic in Czech theatre at the beginning of the 1990s, during the first years of transition, which had a hand in shaping Czech society and focusing its interests. She examines in detail Petr Lébl’s remarkable production of Naši naši furianti (Our Our Swaggerers), staged at the Theatre on the Balustrade in Prague in 1994.

Mateja Pezdirc Bartol discusses the specific aspects of comedy, namely the portrayal of gender relations. She analyses the social constructions of gender, roles and professions in some examples of contemporary Slovenian comedy, especially in those in which a woman plays the leading role. In doing so, she finds that traditional patterns are played with and perverted.

Tomaž Toporišič focuses on the mixed genres of comedy within the Slovenian context, especially those that range from the absurdity to the grotesque. The author examines several examples of complex or hybrid comedy machines, from Emil Filipčič to Iva Š. Slosar, foregrounding the destabilised subjectivity within them.

Gašper Troha tackles the topical issue of ecological catastrophe. Through two examples of contemporary Slovenian theatre – Divjak’s Fever and Zupančič’s This Game Will Be Over – he explores two approaches to the subject, the serious one and the comic one.

In her article, Ana Kocjančič focuses on two unknown but very interesting Ljubljana productions of Audran’s operetta La Mascotte, directed by Bratko Kreft in the interwar period. Several comic and avant-garde elements were employed in his stage direction.

The article by Maša Radi Buh and Nik Žnidaršič deals with the relationship between comedy and “cancel culture” with its command of political correctness, placing this relationship in a sociopolitical context. The authors ask themselves whether there is a paradox between comedy and “cancel culture”, but they resolve it differently.

Outside the thematic section, we include a comprehensive and detailed study by Primož Jesenko on the white spot of Slovenian theatre criticism in the 19th century. Through a detailed analysis of the German writings of Leopold Kordeš from the times when Slovenian theatre was still breaking from amateurism, Jesenko draws up a broader fresco of the then-cultural landscape in Slovenia.

Educator Dušan Brešar has prepared a valuable overview of the theatrical creativity of the blind and visually impaired from the beginnings after the end of World War I to the present day. The testimonies of the participants give the article even more weight.


The journal is included in: MLA International Bibliography (Directory of periodicals), Scopus, DOAJ. The journal is included in class A of the registry by Italian Agenzia nazionale di valutazione del sistema universitario della ricerca. The publishing of Amfiteater is supported by the Slovenian Research Agency and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

The publishing of Amfiteater is supported by the Slovenian Research and Inovation Agency and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.