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Datum objave: 27.05.2018
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Croatian Play About Refugees Sparks Czech Protests

A play about refugees by the radical Croatian theatre director Oliver Frljic has united both communists and Christian activists in protest in the Czech Republic – which does not surprise him, Frljic told BIRN.

Croatian Play About Refugees Sparks Czech Protests

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/croatian-theatre-director-receives-criticism-from-the-czech-republic-05-22-2018

A play about refugees by the radical Croatian theatre director Oliver Frljic has united both communists and Christian activists in protest in the Czech Republic – which does not surprise him, Frljic told BIRN.

Oliver Frljic, whose play "Our Violence and Your Violence" is due to be performed at the theatre festival in Brno in the Czech Republic on May 26, told BIRN that calls to ban his play – which questions Europe’s response to the refugee crisis – were to be expected.

“What's happening in Brno is no surprise. On the contrary, it only confirms my thesis about the fascist-isation of Europe, by which recently unquestionable values and acquired freedoms are now becoming the target of fundamentalists of different provenances,” Frljic said.

The performance, staged jointly by the Croatian National Theatre from Rijeka and the Slovenian Mladinsko Theatre from Ljubljana, has drawn criticism in the Czech Republic since it was announced that the Brno festival would host the play.

Both the Czech Communist Party and some Christian activists have joined forces, calling for the play to be banned and scheduling protests for May 26, the same day the play is due to be performed.

They claim the play insults all Czechs and Christians as well as Muslims, referring to a scene in which Christ rapes a Muslim woman.

This is not the first time Frljic has caused outrage. It has also happened in Croatia, his homeland, as well as in Poland, now ruled by right-wing conservatives.

Frljic has for almost a decade questioned societies’ responsibility for past war crimes, nationalist narratives and religious dogma and has called for social change.

In recent years he has dealt with topics such as the colonial past of Europe, its imperialist cultural policies, the refugee crisis and the institutionalisation of Islamophobia. That is strongly expressed in his play, "Our Violence and Your Violence".

"Brecht said the theatre cannot be measured by the level of dramatics, but must first be measured by the level of reality to which it relates," he recalled.

"The violent reactions that follow some of my plays, as well as the media violence to which my artwork and public activity are exposed, point exactly to that level, but also to the level of reality in which we live," Frljic told BIRN.

His troubles in Poland began in 2013 when the performance of his "Undivine comedy" was postponed for two weeks before the premiere because of content that dealt with Polish anti-Semitism.

In 2016, the performance of "Our Violence and Your Violence" at the Teatar Polski in Bydgoszcz was reported to Polish prosecutors for violations of religious sentiments.

Last year, the same play prompted more protests from conservative organisations in Split, Croatia, where some protesters tried to disrupt the performance.

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