International Journal of Literature and Arts
Volume 8, Issue 4, July 2020, Pages: 217-223
Received: Feb. 21, 2020;
Accepted: Apr. 2, 2020;
Published: Jun. 15, 2020
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Helena Pericic, Department of Croatian Studies, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia
The paper discusses the most famous play written by the Croatian playwright Ivo Brešan /1936 – 2017/, which is based on Hamlet. The issue of representation, even defence of literary, aesthetic and ethical values comes up quite often in Brešan's plays on the grounds of an equal mechanism: between primitivism and brutality on the one side (following Hegel: Brešan's "Antithesis") and enlightenment and idealism on the other ("Thesis") there is a literary text as an extension of the Thesis; it is a template with a purpose to build up a new dramatic storytelling, which will be adjusted to spatial, social and philosophical circumstances to which the author belongs. A literary text in Brešan's plays functions as a mediator (be it Shakespeare's Hamlet or another play) and enters the zone of "popularization"; it has the role of an "arbiter" (Souriau) that emphasizes the values of the Thesis (the transfer between the scope of "serious" literature and reality) presented as a structure that should be made accessible to a wider audience, regardless of whether the receiver has recognized the mediator text or not. From the conscience of such a construction arise the questions on stratifications and goals of a transfer or "borrowing" from classic literature. We can conclude that the mediator text, in this case Shakespeare's Hamlet, with the milieu associated to it (Antithesis) together make Brešan’s Synthesis, which turns into a new potential Thesis. A classic text that was meant for Elizabethan people throughout the centuries turned into an elitist canon of the educated and grew distant from its roots and its primary purpose of folk entertainment. In the 20th century the same text receives a role of a highly valuable work of art, and the performance based upon it turns into an aesthetic event meant for the educated. Created and represented this way in Croatian playwriting during the 1960s and 1970s (in SFRY, i.e. former, communist Yugoslavia) – Shakespeare's text was used as a foundation for the construction of a new text, and this new text (as a reaction to the repression in the social system) – Brešan's The Stage Play of Hamlet in the Village of Mrduša Donja (today considered a classic play in Croatian literature) – is to be used by a future playwright for creating a new literary work, i.e. for a new intertextuality.
Hamlet Between the Characters of Bukara and Učitelj/Teacher: On the Most Famous Play by Ivo Brešan, International Journal of Literature and Arts.
Vol. 8, No. 4,
2020, pp. 217-223.
In Ivo Brešan's /Brešan – pronounced as "breshan"/ play The Stage Play of Hamlet in the Village of Mrduša Donja there are characters Učitelj Škunca and Bukara. Croatian word učitelj means teacher in English, and Bukara (nickname) is related to the Croatian noun meaning a big wooden pot for drinking wine (that may contain several litres of liquid); in English it could be translated as jug, although a derived Croatian word bukačenje has the basic meaning of creating noise and has some erotic connotations as well.
Brešan, I. (1998). Predstava Hamleta u selu Mrduša Donja /The Stage Play of Hamlet in the Village Mrduša Donja/. SysPrint.
The author of this paper, Helena Peričić, discusses the issues of intertextuality in the Croatian drama of the second half of the 20th century in her books: Peričić, H. (2008). Tekst, izvedba, odjek (Trinaest studija iz hrvatske i inozemne dramske književnosti ) /Text, Performance, Echo: Thirteen Studies on Croatian and Foreign Dramatic Literature/. Erasmus; and in: Peričić, H. (2011). Deset drskih studija (o književnim pitanjima, pojavnostima i sudbinama) /Ten Insolent Studies: on Literary Problems, Manifestations and Destinies/. Naklada Bošković.
Brešan, I. (1996). Osnovna načela moga kazališnog sustava /The Basic Principles of My Theatre System/, Republika (literary review published by Društvo hrvatskih književnika – DHK/Association of Croatian Writers/), Zagreb, 52 (1-2), 7. Original text in Croatian: "No, bilo kako bilo, siguran sam da je polazna točka svakog djela IDEJA, a u ovom mom slučaju u konfliktu sa samim sobom, ili paradoks, u kom se spaja nespojivo, bez obzira jesam li do toga došao nadahnućem, intuicijom ili čim drugim."
The paper was presented at the annual conference Dani Hvarskog kazališta /Days of the Hvar Theatre/ in 2017; the topic was "Pučko i popularno" /Folk and Popular/. NOTE: In 1612 the city of Hvar on the Croatian island of Hvar obtained a public – communal theatre for the use of all its citizens regardless of social class status. In that way the Hvar Theatre entered the history of European theatre.
Šarić. Lj. – Wittschen, W. (2008). Rječnik sinonima hrvatskoga jezika /The Dictionary of Synonyms in Croatian/, Jesenski and Turk, 863.
Becker, H. S. (2009). Svjetovi umjetnosti (Dopunjeno i prošireno izdanje) /orig. Art Worlds, Updated and Expanded/, transl. into Croatian by Hana Dvornik and Srđan Dvornik, (Publisher) Jesenski and Turk, 265. Here H. Peričić uses the the translation from the Croatian edition: "Pučka je umjetnost u tom smislu umjetnost koju izrađuju ljudi koji čine to što čine jer je to jedna od stvari što ih uobičajeno čine pripadnici njihove zajednice, ili barem većina pripadnika određene dobi i spola."
Bobinac, M. (1993). I. Brešan i tradicija hrvatskoga pučkog komada /I. Brešan and the tradition of Croatian Folk Play/, Republika, 37 (3-4), 198. Original text in Croatian: "/…/ sve, pa i lokalna sredina – ranije svetinja u očima njezinih stanovnika – svedeno je na interese iza kojih se kriju moć i novac. Nestaje, jednako tako, i bezazlenog poistovjećivanja sa zavičajnim, nestaje i harmoničkoga suodnosa seljaka/malomještana s njihovim okružjem. Nerijetko i ti 'mali ljudi' staju na stranu mjesnoga silnika u njegovu sukobu s outsiderom, obično utjelovljenjem čestitosti, i na taj način kompromitiraju nekada samorazumljivu nepatvorenost zavičajnog milieua."
On several occasions, talking about Brešan's play The Stage Play of Hamlet in the Village of Mrduša Donja, Helena Peričić discussed the issues of the introduction of the vernacular and the difficulty of its translation, e.g. into English either as the dramatic text (or its fragments) or the translation in a film based on Brešan's dramatic pattern, like in the case of Krsto Papić's film Predstava Hamleta u Mrduši Donjoj (the English translation of the title was: Acting of Hamlet in Mrduša Donja) from 1973.
Ferrari, S. (2004). Zavičajno i europsko u Brešanovoj tragigroteski (argumenti za referat) /Native and European in Brešan's Tragic-grotesque: Arguments for the Paper/, Republika, 60 (12), 82.
Brešan, I. Julius Caesar, in: Brešan, I. (1997). Spletke /Intrigues/. Hrvatsko slovo, 165.
Cf. Peričić, H. (2006). Dodiri antike i suvremenosti na primjerima hrvatske drame druge polovice XX. stoljeća /The Connections of the Classic and the Modern in the Examples from Croatian Drama in the Second Half of the 20th Century/, Komparativna povijest hrvatske književnosti. /Collection of Papers: Croatian Literature vs. European Literature (Emision and Reception) 1940-1970/, ed. Cvijeta Pavlović and Vinka Glunčić-Bužančić, Književni krug, 8, 393-404; or in Peričić, H. (2008). Tekst, izvedba, odjek (Trinaest studija iz hrvatske i inozemne dramske književnosti) /Text, Performance, Echo: Thirteen Studies on Croatian and Foreign Dramatic Literature/. Erasmus, 109-120.
Cf. Bobinac, M. (2001). Poetika i dramska praksa Ive Brešana /Poetics and Dramatic Practice of Ivo Brešan/. Republika, 57 (9-11), 62.
The author of the paper; Helena Peričić, was privileged to be the moderator of the discussion.
Brešan, I. (1985). Intervju: "Provincija nije geografski smještena, već se nalazi u glavama ljudi" /Intervew with Ivo Brešan: Province is not geographically located, but is in the minds of the people/. Original text in Croatian: "Mene politika, zapravo, ne zanima u teatru. Odnosno zanima me samo toliko koliko je dio života. Predmet mog interesa jest ono što je piscima oduvijek bio predmet interesa! To su ljudske naopakosti i, s druge strane, ljudski idealizam koji doživljava poraz u borbi protiv pokvarenost, lopovluka… /…/ Politika tu nije nikada aspekt promatranja stvari, /…/, nego je ona objekt promatranja. Uostalom, to je tako uvijek i bilo." http://www.yugopapir.com/2017/01/ivo-bresan-intervju-provincija-nije.html.
Perković, V. (2017). Demitologiziranje hrvatske povijesti s pozicija sadašnje skepse prema njezinu kontinuitetu – klimavost dramske konstrukcije /Demythologization of Croatian History from the Point of View of Present Skepticism towards its Continuity – the Shakiness of Dramatic Construction/, in: Perković, V. (2017). Stvarnost i umjetnička stvarnost djela (S pogledom na suvremenu hrvatsku dramatiku) /Reality and Artistict Reality of a Work: with the View on Contemporary Croatian Drama/. Naklada Bošković, 149.