William Shakespeare and Slovene dramatists (III): (1930-2010)


  • Mirko Jurak




English drama, Slovene drama


In the final part of my study I shall present Shakespeare's influence on Slovene dramatists from the 1930s to the present time. In this period an almost unbelievable growth in Slovene cultural activities took place. This is also reflected in a very large number of new Slovene playwrights who have written in this time, in their international orientation in dramatic art as well as in the constantly growing number of permanent (and ad hoc) theatre companies. Communication regarding new theatrical tendencies not only in Europe but also in the United States of America and % during the past decades % also in its global dimension has become much easiers than in previous periods and this resulted also in the application of new dramatic visions in playwriting and in theatrical productions in Slovenia. These new movements include new techniques in writing, such as symbolism, futurism, expressionism, constructivism, surrealism, political drama, the theatre of the absurd and postmodernism, which have become apparent both in new literary techniques and in new forms of production. In this period Classical drama still preserved an important role in major Slovene theatres. Plays written by Greek playwrights, as well as plays written by Shakespeare, Molière, Schiller etc. still constitute a very relevant part of the repertoire in Slovene theatres. Besides, Slovene theatres have also performed many plays written by modern playwrights, as for example by Oscar Wilde, L. N. Tolstoy, I. S. Turgenev, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, G. Hauptmann, G. Büchner, G. B. Shaw, A. P. Chekhov, John Galsworthy, Luigi Pirandello, Eugene O'Neill and many other contemporary playwrights. In the period after the Second World War the influence of American dramatists has been constantly growing. This variety also resulted in the fact that direct influence of Shakespeare and his plays upon Slovene dramatists became less frequent and less noticeable than it had been before. Plays written by Slovene dramatists are rarely inspired by whole scenes or passages from Shakespeare's plays, although there are also some exceptions from this rule. It is rather surprising how quickly Slovene theatres produced works written by important foreign dramatists already in the period following the First World War not to mention how quickly plays written by the best European and American playwrights have appeared on Slovene stages during the past fifty years. The connection between Shakespeare's plays and plays written by Slovene playwrights became more subtle, more sophisticated, they are often based on implied symbolic references, which have become a starting point for a new interpretation of the world, particularly if compared with the Renaissance humanistic values. The sheer number of plays written by Slovene dramatists in this period makes it difficult to ascertain that all influences from Shakespeare's plays have been noticed, although it is hoped that all major borrowings and allusion are included. Slovene dramatists and theatre directors have provided numerous adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, which sometimes present a new version of an old motif so that it may hardly be linked with Shakespeare. Slovene artists, playwrights and 4 also theatre directors, have %rewritten%, %reset% the original text and given it a new meaning and/or a new form, and in a combination of motifs and structure they have thus created a %new play%, even stand-up comedies in which the actor depends on a scenario based on Shakespeare's play(s) but every performance represents a new improvisation. Such productions are naturally closer to the commedia dell'arte type of play than to a play written by Shakespeare. I briefly mention such experimental productions in the introductory part of my study. The central part of my research deals with authors in whose works traces of Shakespeare's influence are clearly noticeable. These playwrights are: Matej Bor, Jože Javoršek, Ivan Mrak, Dominik Smole, Mirko Zupančič, Gregor Strniša, Veno Taufer, Dušan Jovanović, Vinko Möderndorfer and Evald Flisar.


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31. 12. 2011




How to Cite

Jurak, M. (2011). William Shakespeare and Slovene dramatists (III): (1930-2010). Acta Neophilologica, 44(1-2), 3-34. https://doi.org/10.4312/an.44.1-2.3-34