Interview 27 Feb 17

Enfant Terrible of Croatian Theatre Continues To Shock

A decade on, Oliver Frljic is still challenging theatre audiences across Europe, as well as in the Balkans, using plays to confront the nationalist mythology of post-Yugoslav societies.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Croatia
Oliver Frljic. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Stefica Galic

Oliver Frljic has for almost a decade now been questioning societies’ responsibility for past war crimes, dominant nationalist narratives, religious dogma and the possibility of social change.

Now 40, he was born in Travnik, central Bosnia, and moved to Split in Croatia in 1992, at the start of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated in philosophy and religious culture from Zagreb’s Catholic Faculty of Theology and then in theatre direction from Zagreb’s Academy of Dramatic Arts.

He soon grabbed the attention of the public and theatre critics in former Yugoslavia with his politically engaged plays centring on traumatic and sensitive topics. He has also moved them outside borders of the region, setting plays in Austria, Germany and Poland.

His latest play, “The Curse”, was based on a text by the late Polish playwright Stanislaw Wyspianski, which questioned the role of the Catholic Church.

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