Co-production with PG Kranj
Translator Aleksandra Rekar
Opening October 2016
Branislav Nušić (1864-1938) was born as Alkibijad Nuša and changed his name at the age of eighteen, and wrote also under the pseudonym Ben Akiba. He remains one of the most popular Serbian playwrights, satirists, essayists, novelists, and a founder of modern rhetoric in Serbia. He won his popular acclaim mostly as a humourist and comedy author. He was also a journalist and a diplomat. He fell in love with theatre in early childhood and wrote his first comedy, A Member of the Parliament, in 1883 at the age of nineteen. It was performed thirteen years later. As a writer he worked in three different historical periods, in the period of Milan and Aleksander Obrenović, between 1903 and 1918, and in the period after the Great War.
He was an extremely prolific author, who wrote social, patriotic and historical plays as well as political and social comedies. He wrote his comedies very quickly and never truly appreciated them, as he always aspired to become a serious playwright. However, his serious plays never achieved the same success as his comedies.
Nušić's political comedies A Member of the Parliament (1883), A Suspicious Person (1888) and The Cabinet Minister's Wife (1929) remain as fresh and topical as they were when they were written more than a century ago. That makes Nušić one of the most celebrated Serbian playwrights and an undisputed master of classically written comedies. He portrayed the weaknesses of the society and the times in which he lived. Two leading subject matters of his comedies are power and money, which are main driving forces of his characters.
In The Bereaved Family (1934) Nušić criticized a corrupt, dishonest and unscrupulous society, and human greed. A bereaved family is gathered after an uncle’s funeral at his home. Each of the so-called "family members" is convinced to be the sole heir of the deceased’s fortune. They all pretend, mourn and praise the deceased, until it transpires that their hopes of rich inheritance are void. Suddenly, the masks are dropped, and the grief and respect for the deceased quickly vanish into thin air. In The Bereaved Family Nušić depicted and unmasked dishonest family relationships with a surgical precision. What remains after the masks of bourgeois pretence begin to fall is sheer vulgarity and cunningness of the man of the street.
Nušić’s witty, toxic and eternally topical comedies about unmasking hypocrisy, lie and greed can be interpreted not only as light-hearted, comforting and uncompelled comedies, but rather as an opportunity for a radical social critique and detection of moral and ethical perversion of society. At the same time they include a precise and ruthless display of mundane human banality and common narrow-mindedness.
In Slovenia, the battle of the heritage has become almost a national “sport” or, rather, an archetype, reflecting moral corruption, greed, hypocrisy and self-indulgence. This is why The Bereaved Family is an ideal opportunity to present the condition of Slovenian society and relations in Slovenian families by way of comedy.
Translator Aleksandra Rekar
Director Igor Vuk Torbica
Dramaturg Katarina Pejović
Set Designer Branko Hojnik
Costume Designer Jelena Proković
Composer Drago Ivanuša
Language Consultant Jože Volk
Agaton Arsić, retired district governor Peter Musevski
Tanasije Dimitrijević, merchant Aljoša Koltak
Proka Purić, district clerk Borut Veselko
Trifun Spasić, unemployed citizen Andrej Murenc
Mića Stanimirović Aljoša Ternovšek
Dr. Petrović, lawyer Blaž Setnikar
Simka, Agaton's wife Darja Reichman
Vida, Tanasije's wife Lučka Počkaj
Gina, Proka's wife Pia Zemljič
Sarka, widow Barbara Medvešček
Danica Liza Marija Grašič
Opening 24 September 2016 in PG Kranj and 7 October 2016 in SLG Celje
Performance duration 1 hour and 30 minutes. No interval.