New York 2011 Damned Be the Traitor of His Homeland!
Mladinsko Theater (Slovenian Youth Theater) was established in 1955 as Slovenia’s first professional theater for children and the youth. Today it is known for its wide range of innovative works by various young directors and its ensemble energy, which avoids star hierarchy by investing in a laboratory approach to build its creative ensemble. Every collaborator – actor, director, choreographer, set designer, musician – researches, develops, risks, and creates. Through its performances, the company strives to address universal paradoxes and to develop new codes of theatrical practice, new visual paradigms, and new points of view on the classics, modernism, and postmodernism.
In Damned Be the Traitor of His Homeland!, Croatian director Oliver Frljić led the company through a series of improvisations to create the language and material for this work. Using an aggressive style, the piece deconstructs Yugoslavian political, theatrical, and historical stereotypes while addressing the danger of committing a crime. Starting from the national level, they slowly enter the regional, local and personal levels of prejudices, thus zooming the picture very closely in on an almost microscopic miniature that portrays rather generally, yet precisely, the base of human relations, individual weaknesses, the sources of conflict and their triviality leading to irreparable consequences.
Frljić is seen as the leader of a new generation of Croatian theater directors and is known for his use of hyperbole along with grotesque and strong visuals to talk to his audience, to be political, contemporary, and relevant. His theater blows in the head. There are no metaphorical images, no allusions. Everything is here, plain, pure, simple, and as is, corps sectioned in detail. Due to this approach he has been bestowed the title of enfant terrible of Croatian theater, which brought him to the lights of red carpets. Regardless of the public acclaim, his aspirations go beyond media presentations and instant fame, so he continues to explore this time/space medium, political theater, theatrical language, and the scopes of performativity.