Radovan Ivšić King Gordogan


From 25. October 2024.

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Fri 19:30
Sat 18:00

Radovan Ivšić (1921 − 2009), poet, translator, theoretician, nomad, enfant terrible of the surrealist movement and theatre revolutionary is a unique and complex author of the Croatian literary canon. His theatre involves collective resistance of every (self)imposed bourgeois taste or ideological decree, of every, to use his words subsidised boredom. His poetics is a space of unconquered freedom in which obedience is denounced in order for the theatre to return to its essence, body and poetry and to the silence that stands across them.

King Gordogan, Ivšić’s masterpiece is a kind of a theatre manifest. Its essence, the initial move, it draws from the alchemical compound of the ancient tragedy and a folk tale. In a magic kingdom, King Gordogan comes to power by killing the White King. He imprisons White, the daughter of his predecessor and heiress, in a tower. He declares his reign of terror as wise. He speaks of himself in the first-person plural, as if there is no world beyond his. But his kingdom is on the verge of collapse. Peasants are quarrelling over a tiny piece of land. While the court eye pullers and ear cutters do not cease to work, leaving behind monstruous sounds of destruction (eyes, ears and tongues) cif, čuf, caf, a brave and honourable knight is galloping towards the kingdom to liquidate Gordogan. Between a dream and a nightmare, the court and the forest, in Ivšić’s kingdom diverse beings sway and vibrate: the mysterious Luna, Luda (Mad) and Odan (Faithful) in ludic disputes, dryad Tibelica and her disdainful giggle…

This first staging of King Gordogan at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb will be carried out by stage director Rene Medvešek. The poetics of Rene Medvešek and Radovan Ivšić greatly overlap. They are both authors in search for theatre nudity and truth. The artistic work of Rene Medvešek and of Ivšić implies a stage of bodies and actors, dreams, poetry and silence, love and mean reality that are announced by three words: cif, čuf, caf.