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SLOGI in Drama

Who is dancing a rebellious dance, and when?

Who is dancing a rebellious dance, and when?SLOGI and Drama lecture and talk series

Gašper Troha: Who is dancing a rebellious dance, and when?   

Sławomir Mrożek: Tango

Tango is an extraordinary play by an even more extraordinary playwright. Sławomir Mrożek was a Polish writer and journalist who went on a tourist trip to Italy with his wife in 1963 and never came back. Such an escape from behind the Iron Curtain was extremely upsetting for the authorities, and yet, in the following years Mrożek managed to establish himself as a writer living and working abroad, with no state support, while at the same time his works continued to be published and staged also in Poland.

Tango may have been decisive in resolving the conflict between the playwright and the Polish authorities. Written during Mrožek’s first creative phase, it is characterised by modelling itself on the drama of the absurd, clever parody of the totalitarian authorities and the social events of the time, and satire. It is distinguished by characters torn between power or the dictate of social conditions and the desire for their specific, individual existence. In this split, the sensitive and thoughtful perish, while the violent and unscrupulous take control. Tango was first published in 1964 in the Polish theatre magazine Dialog, and first staged in the former Yugoslavia, more precisely in Belgrade, on 21 April 1965. On 7 July 1965, it was first staged in Warsaw, and on 22 October of the same year at the SNT Drama Ljubljana, and on 25 May 1966 in London. In the following years, Tango was gradually staged all over the world, and helped Mrożek rise to fame as a true theatre star and one of the most exciting young European playwrights.

Since 1960, when his play Police was first staged at the Celje City Theatre (directed by Janez Vrhunc), Mrožek has been a constant presence in Slovenian theatres. The Repertoire of Slovenian Theatres has recorded no less than 28 productions of his plays, five of which are Tango.

In his lecture, Gašper Troha, Director of the Slovenian Theatre Institute, will present the subtleties of the play Tango, the ways it was staged it in Slovenia and the reactions to Mrożek’s play. It remains to establish who danced the rebellious Argentine dance. Against whom was the rebellion directed?


Sławomir Mrożek, Tango, directed by Miran Herzog, SNT Drama Ljubljana, opening night on 22 October 1965. In the photo: Polde Bibič as Edek, Maks Bajc as Eugeniusz, Ali Raner as Artur, and Majda Potokar as Ala. Source: Iconoteque SLOGI – Theatre Museum.

On schedule