|Abstract (english)|| |
The basic plan of this thesis is to systematize the history of adult puppet theatre in Croatia since its beginnings to late 2019. Its atypical development is what makes such systematization problematic. Namely, adult puppet theatre in Croatia, which can be followed from the first performance of Petrica Kerempuh i spametni osel by Teatar marioneta (1920), has been developing intermittently, with several longer periods in which there were no productions. Because of those gaps, the crucial one occurring during a major rise of European puppet theatre, from 1948 to 1966, adult puppeteering in Croatia could not keep pace with the rest of Europe, and was catching up with it in recurring leaps. That is why it was necessary to approach the material and its analysis from a point of view which shows thisatypicality most clearly, but also enables the best insight into the potential connections between the development stages. As puppeteering is a visual art and its development in the second half of the 20th century concerns mainly the visual elements of the show, the research has leaned towards analysing the visual aspects of adult puppet theatre in Croatia. Six fundamental phases of adult puppet theatre in Croatia have been identified, interconnected, and thus systematized. The thesis is divided into seven chapters. The first one serves as an introduction, defining the main aspects – adult puppeteering and the visual aspects of a puppet show, their historical development, and a short survey of adult puppet theatre. The second chapter deals with the first development stage, spanning from Petrica Kerempuh i spametni osel (1920) to Iskušenje sv. Antuna by the Zemaljsko kazalište lutaka (1948), after which there was a gap of almost 20 years. A phase crucial for the development of contemporary heterogeneous adult puppet theatre follows, starting with Muzičke minijaturein Rijeka (1966), and ending with On i on in Osijek (1971). The third stage, taking place between 1977 and 1988, represented by Branko Brezovec's theatre productions involving puppets, departs slightly from the general course of the development of Croatian puppet theatre. Parallel to Brezovec, a course marked by Zlatko Bourek develops, also encompassing Joško Juvančić's adult puppet shows, as well as the adult puppet cabaret shows by the LEC Mmanipuli company. The fifth, Zadar phase, which marked the last decade of the 20th century, represents the golden age of adult puppet theatre in Croatia, in which for the first and only time the puppet theatre of a city based its entire repertoire on adult puppet shows. The last, current phase focuses on the theatre of objects and materials, i.e. the puppet adult shows created by Kruna Tarle and the Fasade company, Rene Medvešek, Lary Zappia and the students of the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek. In the first stage, adult puppet theatre in Croatia relied on foreign examples. It can be analysed from different aspects – Teatar marioneta modelled after the traditional puppet theatre of the German and Czech type, Družina mladih following French (and Russian) thinking about theatre and the unrealized, but very interesting emergence of Sergije Glumac in the contemporary paths of the puppeteering avant-garde. Besides Glumac, who would have to be analysed as a separate phenomenon, both Teatar marioneta and Družina mladihstill focus on text. Taking their first artistic steps while avant-garde ideas are still present in Europe, Teatar marioneta follow a safe path, creating shows influenced by popular German and Czech theatres which maintain a traditional expression, showing their greatest value on the level of repertoire and text selection, while visual aspects come second. The repertoire of Družina mladih is under political pressure and control, which partly hinders them, but at the same time opens the door to seemingly inessential, but for this research very important part of the repertoire – music and dance numbers. This is where the Croatian puppet theatre departs from the text for the first time, turning to movement and music as devices of plot and expression. This phase ends in a return to text and realism on stage, with a discreet, but present departure from the idea of a lesser actors' theatre, already seen in the choice of puppets: the most human marionette is replaced by a realistic looking, but still not so humanlike Javanese. The second phase was marked by foreign influences and artists, directly or indirectly enriching Croatian puppet theatre and adult puppet theatre by a luminescent version of the black technique (Berislav Brajković with Czech puppets as models), the theatre of objects (Brajković and Bohdan Slavík), the open scene dialogue between actors and puppets, and variety show structure. This sets the show freefrom verbal dominance and creates the foundation for a heterogeneous expression in puppeteering. The novelties that productions from this period introduced make up the basis of the contemporary puppet theatre, which will largely continue to develop and deepen later on, without much expanding. The third phase, in many ways specific and unique, is an exception. In his search for a total performative expression Branko Brezovec came across dolls, approaching them more from the postdramatic than the puppeteer's angle. As a result of his detached starting position, he enriched the Croatian puppet theatre with fresh sources (Peter Schumann, Robert Wilson), views and thinking, as well as numerous new performative solutions, reaching deeper than his predecessor into the realm of metaphor, symbolism, and semantic layering of visual elements and thematic aspects. He managed to do it in productions that differed significantly from oneanother, but were connected through a thread of development underlying important points in the history of European puppeteering – the early (and) ritual stage of puppeteering in which voice and movement became separate, then the rich, but still not mature heterogeneous expression, and finally the postdramatic drift towards total theatre. The fourth phase starts with Zlatko Bourek, whose work ties in with the second phaseof adult puppet theatre in several ways, re-establishing a logical course of development, while the main difference is in dramatic structure and text. But the return to text did not entail a return to dramatic puppet theatre, but a performance in which the text is only one of the show's communication layers, although in most cases the superior one. The other layers, although not governing the show, permeate the words, "stealing" their primacy in places, augmenting them, commenting, and thus developing and enriching the Croatian adult puppet theatre, its visual aspect above all. Bourek enriched the Croatian, as well as the European puppet theatre by inventing a new technique – the “guzovoz”, Joško Juvančić made several developing steps in terms of the relationship between the actor and the puppet, while LEC Mmanipuli, whose structure is also close to variety shows from the end of the second phase, positioned in the visual foreground elements which were not present enough in adult puppet theatre – the literal translation of the verbal into visual language, as well as the scenic realization of metaphor. What follows is the golden age of adult puppet theatre, with Zadar puppeteers in its focus. Turning to adult puppet shows out of necessity(there was no theatre for adults) and the need to draw attention to the political injustice (the war) in an artistic way, in the last decade of the 20th century, Zadar theatre artists created several anthology adult productions, going down in adult puppet theatre history as the only theatre which, during a period of time, approached this type of expression in a systematic and planned way. The choice of topics was mostly dependent on the political situation, and what prevailed were texts from the Croatian literary heritage which, adapted to the current conditions, spoke directly or indirectly about the aggression on Croatia and Zadar. In terms of poetics, the course was largely set by Polish director Wiesław Hejno, who connected Polish puppeteering expression with his own, as well as with the work of Zadar set designersBranko Stojaković and Mojmir Mihatov, and with socio-political circumstances. The result was a developed, heterogeneous puppeteering expression wrapped in contemporary ritual, in which the director, the set designer, and the performers play in equal measure, exploring the communication possibilities between different types of puppets, masks, and actors, as well as theatre itself. Along with Hejno, the Zadar puppeteering style was most strongly formed by a "guest" from the actors' theatre, Marin Carić, who did not impose the actor on the puppet, but allowed the puppets and set designers to lead him in the play of metaphors, metonymies, and stage symbols. With such a concept, the text becomes only a framework, giving primacy over to the visual aspect. In most of the shows, the focus of the visual layer was on masks, whose physical features limited words, and drew attention to the need for a constant dramaturgic development and selfdevelopment of the visual layer. In this stage, the switch from puppet to actor is decidedly present, and analysed by comparing two of Hejno's shows – Muka svete Margarite and Don Quijote. The switch is not a uniquely Zadar phenomenon, but a European puppeteering trend which does not erase the specificities of puppeteering expression, but gives the puppet, liberated from the subject role and converted from metaphor to metonymy, from character to sign, a possibility for versatile play, and, ultimately, for the substitution with an everyday object. In this world of objects, the actor does not openly rule the play, but is a hidden demiurg – the organizer, animator and manipulator of scenic objects, material, and characters. This performative world, the focus of which are object and material, the theatre of objects and new media, concludes this research. In the focus of the final and current stage were material and object, which have become prominent in the Croatian adult puppet theatre since the 1990s, and remain so today. Material was the starting point of Kruna Tarle's productions. She rejected story, dramatic tension and narrative structure. Rene Medvešek and Lary Zappia reintroduce them, approaching object and material from various angles, developing them towards personification and anthropomorphization, as well as objectification, i.e. emphasizing the objectness of objects. The final point of this research, a tentative one, was given by productions at the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek, which still focus on object and material, but extend the animation to the actor's body and sound. For the first time in Croatian adult puppet theatre, the modelling of the puppet is made perfomatively independent, becoming a building block of the play. As the relation towards the material and object changed, so did the one towards the actor. While for Tarle the actor was the initiator of the play, equal in dramaturgic value to the other elements of the performance, and for Medvešek and Zappia mainly the co-player with a changing relation towards the object, the Osijek Academy's Dugi became the collective demiurg of the performance as a whole. Different possibilities of approaching the object and material in a scenic way have been shown in this chapter, also in relation to narrativity. Tarle rejects it completely, building shows through visual and image dramaturgy, Medvešek ironizes the epic structure, Zappia counterpoises different narratives, while Osijek students treat narrative differently – from rejecting it in Kabanica, minimizing the narrative layer in Sevdah, to the narrative, but also auditive, framework in Fragile, Smrti, and Dugi. Adult puppet theatre in Croatia, as well as this research, do notexhaust all the potentials of the theatre of materials and objects, but they do reach a conclusion, bringing the first hundred years of adult puppet theatre in Croatia to a close. The analysis of the visual aspects of the major productions in each of the designated phases drew attention to the synchronic encounters and "clashes" of different performative approaches and styles, as well as to numerous diachronic connections, confirming that the Croatian adult puppet theatre, despite the discontinuity and intermittent development, went through all the major phases of European adult puppet theatre. Also, its development had a significant impact on puppet theatre in general, enriching it with many important novelties – from new techniques, to a different relation to text and the performance as a whole, to original direction and a broader understanding of the notion of puppet. At the same time, a conclusion can be drawn that all the novelties and stages have not been entirely exhausted, and all the potentials have not yet been fulfilled. From the current perspective, they seem to be a series of points, sketches and possibilities to be further developed and researched.