Macedonian Literary Criticism of Goran Stefanovski

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Macedonian Literary Criticism of Goran Stefanovski

In her e-book Selected Essays(published as part of the Babilonia project, Blesok, 2004), Luzhina states that Jane Zadrogazwas a product of the collective effort of the whole theatre ensemble that first staged this play, not solely the work of Goran Stefanovski. Then she confidently stipulates: “Just like every avant-garde theatrical adventure, this Macedonian one will last only for a brief time. The traces of it shall be seen for a long time in theater practice (especially in the authorial styles of Macedonian directors from the new generation, such as Georgievski, Vladimir Milchin and Unkovski), yet it will never again have any correlation with the later dramatic texts of Goran Stefanovski himself. Even though his texts, which are performed quite often throughout Europe in recent years (starting with Sarajevo, first performed in Amsterdam in 1993, up to Hotel Europe, which premiered in Stockholm, 2000), at first sight seem like open dramatic structures with one could say “avant-garde provenance”, a more careful reading of them shall indicate that first impressions are not always right. Ever since his classical play Wild Flesh, which was first staged in Skopje in 1979 (once again impeccably directed by Slobodan Unkovski), Stefanoski has consistently employed a formally solid, closed and even rigid dramatic structure which from a literary perspective may seem overloaded. Always – even in those technically most fragmented and seemingly exemplary postmodern texts – Stefanovski’s dramas are and remain to be burdened with three typically modernist (not postmodern!!!) principles: they always tell a story referring to something specific and recognizable (the Skopje Debar Maalo quarter, Communism, the war in Sarajevo, emigration/immigration in Europe…); the story is always told from “beginning to end”; his dramatic strategy is always developed with the aim to deliver an important “message” or to clarify a fateful “truth” which the world must learn…“ (2004)

From this quote we can clearly see why we felt the need to point to the inconsistence in the periodization of Goran Stefanovski’s dramatic opus by Jelena Luzhina. Even though she clearly distinguishes Stefanovski’s plays as modernist and postmodern in 1996, later in 2000 she ascribes almost all of them to the group of modernist dramas, only to claim in 2004 that the text of Jane Zadrogaz is not 100% authored by Goran Stefanovski.

Five years later, building upon the doctoral dissertation by Jelena Luzhina, Prof. Katica Kjulavkova included in her book Little Literary Theory (2001) her essay “Postmodern Articulation of Dramatic Intertext in the play Jane Zadrogaz by Goran Stefanovski”, that had been previously published in 1997 for the purposes of the Vojdan Chernodrinski Theater Festival in Prilep. Katica Kjulavkova in this well argumented paper not only provides a synthetized definition of postmodernism, but also demonstrates how and why Jane Zadrogaz represents a milestone between two Macedonian mega-cultures: the modernist and the postmodernist. In the first part of this scholarly paper a definition of postmodernism is laid out, while in the second she shows that Jane Zadrogaz with its literary values serves to delineate Macedonian drama into two larger cores – the modernist and the postmodernist. Kjulavkova refers to Jelena Luzhina’s modality of argumentation and her claims that in the mid 1970’s Macedonian drama saw the occurrence of the so-called directorial theater where the director plays the dominant role in the creation of the theatrical work of art, while the playwright is in constant relation with the director. Thus, Kjulavkova states that dramatic texts from that period constitute an initial and unfinished synopsis, that its production goes beyond the literary framework, while the text is opened up to the audience and the amphitheater.

AuthorAleksandra Dimitrova
Translated byMilan Damjanoski
2019-01-15T10:22:41+00:00 January 5th, 2019|Categories: Essays, Literature, Blesok no. 123|Tags: |0 Comments