“He might push unruliness to extremes, but this is no time for politeness.”
Croatian theatre director Oliver Frljić has been named as of the five theatre directors whom Matt Trueman, the Guardian’s theatre critic, says are particularly important in the contemporary European theatre. He says that Frljić is one of the most controversial theatre directors in Europe, but also one of its most necessary, reports Guardian on September 6, 2018.
In addition to Frljić, the article praises German artist Susanne Kennedy, Julien Gosselin and Caroline Guiel Nguyen from France, and Yael Ronen from Austria.
Guardian describes the context in which Frljić creates, saying that his work is a political satire of former Yugoslavia, war profiteering, an increase in the popularity of ultra-right views and nationalism, and talks about weaknesses of emerging democracies. The article also describes the reactions that his plays often cause, mentioning regular protests of the conservative members of public and threats of violence, explaining that some of the festivals which included his performances have been left without funding, adding that Frljić is an obstacle to many politicians who would love to prevent him from working.
Trying to describe his work, Trueman describes the scenes from some of the plays, so he mentions that in one of the performances actresses urinate on the map of the region, while an actress pulls out a flag from her vagina. “Frljić might push unruliness to extremes – gratuitously so, perhaps – but this is no time for politeness.”
“Frljić challenges the form and questions its limits, writing fake personal histories for his actors, quoting and critiquing other shows in his own and flicking between representation and reality.” His theatre, as one critic said, is “nothing more and nothing less than the search for the right artistic tool to stop the descent into national hell”.