Mate Matišić

Men of Wax

In the first part of this dramatic triptych entitled The Groupie, Viktor, a playwright and screenwriter, ex-rock guitarist and popular rock star of the former Yugoslavia is living with his wife, Ana. But their lives are suddenly disturbed when one of Viktor’s groupies from his rock-star days visits, bringing some unbelievable news. Events then unfold at great speed leading to an unexpected finale, revealing secrets from past lives and affecting everyone involved. In the second part entitled The First Muslim in the Village, Viktor returns to the village of Ričice in the Dalmatian hinterland for a few days’ rest. But instead of enjoying quiet evenings in his home village, he is faced with unbelievable events: the funeral of a young man killed in a car crash, an arranged wedding with a false foreign bride and meetings with villagers all with very peculiar outlooks on life… The third part entitled Under the Wig is set once more in the city, in Viktor’s flat. He is getting ready for a book promotion in Graz but a telephone call from his friend Jasna sends him and his family into turmoil. A dying woman asks him a favour which at first leaves him confused. The story develops like a crime novel with hints of melodrama, leading to an unexpected finale.

This new dramatic text by versatile artist Mate Matišić is an unusual depiction of contemporary Croatian society, intertwining history and the present, primitivism, nostalgia, moral dilemmas and an everyday life that occasionally becomes crazy, almost unearthly. Matišić the writer does not shy away from the present; on the contrary, he is one of the rare Croatian authors who systematically and with a pinch of black humour depicts and sheds light on all our flaws, delusions, lies and illusions, relentlessly checking the nation’s pulse, at the same time prodding and provoking it. An uncompromising writer whose dramas have been staged all over Europe, and whose screenplays have resulted in films that have won awards at numerous festivals, both at home and abroad, he questions the thin line between reality and the imagination, dreams and hallucinations, text and reality, offering the possibility of insight into hidden corners of our memories, as well as our crazy dreams. Croatian National Theatre Drama has the honour of staging the first production of Matišić’s new drama.

MATE MATIŠIĆ, playwright, screenwriter, composer and musician who graduated from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb. As well as writing drama and screenplays, he composes theatre and film scores and plays several instruments. His dramas have been produced in Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Russia. He has written numerous film screenplays including Fine Dead Girls, When the Dead Start Singing and The Priest’s Children. He is Professor of screenwriting at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb.

JANUSZ KICA, director, born in Wroclaw, he completed his theatre studies in Krakow and continued his education in Germany, where he began his professional career. He has directed numerous productions in almost all Zagreb’s theatres, and regularly directs in Austria, Germany and throughout Croatia. For the Drama of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb he has staged large ensemble productions, Goldoni’s The Holiday Trilogy and Dostoevsky’s Demons.

Director: Jansuz Kica