The Life of Provincial Playboys After the Second World War
(AfterLi tre becchi by anonymous author)
23 May 2008
The Life of Provincial Playboys After the Second World War, 1972, is a juvenile dramatic work by Dušan Jovanović, one of the most distinguished authors in Slovene theatre in the last few decades. Starting his career in the second half of the »crazy« sixties, Jovanović is the author of numerous acclaimed plays which met recognition not only throughout Slovenia but also in former Yugoslavia (Act a Brain Tumour or Air Pollution, The Liberation of Skopje, The Wall, the Lake, Antigone, etc.), an important director who made an impact in Slovene theatre with his distinctly profiled performances, an artistic director (during his term the Mladinsko Theatre won a plunging success as well as international acclaim), later a professor, writer and also an exposed public personality. He was a representative of the rebellious, avant-garde, distinctly politically profiled generation which overturned taboos of the socialist system and artistic and particularly theatre conventions. In 1969 he and his collaborators created a performance-happening Pupilija, Papa Pupilo and the Pupilceks which represented a radical break with the theatre of the time in Slovenia. Ordered and premiered by the Slovene Repertory Theatre Trieste in 1972, The Life of Provincial Playboys also belongs to the same period of re-changing the civilian and aesthetical values.
The play The Life of Provincial Playboys After the Second World War was written on the basis of the so-called canovaccio (a vaguely outlined plot) by the anonymous Italian author of commedia dell’arte titled Li tre becchi. Using a Renaissance plot, Jovanović wrote a comedy depicting life in the 1970s – the time of the so-called sexual revolution which penetrated also the socialist Slovenia and changed the traditional values, as well as the socialist phrases (this is evident from the original title paraphrasing the well-known slogan: »We will not claim what is not ours and we will not surrender what does belong to us.«). In the play, everything is focused on adultery. Nine young people and a mother get involved in a trivial, erotic entanglement, hardly following the questions: who with whom, when and how. Naturally, all men want to seduce as many women as possible, while women are attracted by potential lovers, too. And everybody is jealous about their partners. The play ends with a general fight among all.
Life of Provincial Playboys After the Second World War shows the emptiness, shallow pleasures and consistent egotism. And these are all the motifs which are far from unknown in the first decade of the new millennium either.
Uroš Kaurin/Klemen Slakonja
Barbara Cerar – Prešeren Fund Award for two years of creative work
Best comedy at the Dnevi komedije festival Celje
Days of Comedy in Celje
Week of Slovenian Drama in Kranj