Controversial Play Performed Despite Protests and Bomb Threat

Total Croatia News

Interesting events took place both inside and outside of the Croatian National Theatre in Split.

Despite two protests, the play “Our Violence and Your Violence”, directed by Oliver Frljić, was performed on Monday evening in Split, reports Večernji List on April 25, 2017.

The play was preceded by a number of controversies, protests, objections and threats, and Coordination of Veterans’ Associations submitted to the Municipal State Attorney’s Office criminal charges against director Oliver Frljić and his associates. They claim that the play offends citizens on religious and national grounds.

In front of the theatre, some thirty protesters gathered around 5 pm. For approximately an hour, they held speeches, emphasizing that Frljić’s play violated their religious feelings, mocked Catholics and Muslims, was not a work of art and was full of explicit scenes and nudity. The event lasted for about an hour and there were no significant incidents.

At about 6.30 pm, a group of supporters of rightwing HSP party arrived at the theater, stood in front of it and appeared to block the entrance. About a dozen of them bought tickets for the play, while riot police enabled regular theatre-goers to enter the theater. Shortly before 8 pm, about a dozen people with tickets entered the theater and started singing patriotic songs. Regular audience started signing its own playful song. Whistles were heard, and then riot police entered the theater and led the protesters outside. The police afterwards filed charges against 18 people for violations of public order and peace.

The police then received a call about a bomb threat at the theatre. The theater was searched, but nothing was found.

Actors engaged by Frljić were later delighted, said that they felt good on the stage, and added that the protesters could have stayed in the theatre, watch the performance and then react.

The protest in front of the theatre was also attended by Željko Kerum, former and possibly future mayor of Split, who said that the performance was not art, but mockery and the criminal act that someone need to be held accountable for. He pointed out that he respected all religions.

The play includes a scene of a naked woman with a hijab on her head who at one point takes the national flag out of her vagina and, shortly thereafter, the actor representing Jesus Christ descends from the cross (made of plastic canisters) and rapes the Muslim woman. A few days ago, the Catholic Church issued its appeal to the theatre festival organizers to withdraw the play from their programme.


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