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Vesna Kosec-Torjanac, Obilježja repertoara

First Performances and Croatian Premieres


From Tepavac’s season of 1924-25, until the arrival of Gavella’s students, there are significant deviations in the repertoire of the Varaždin theatre from the repertoires of the Croatian theatre of that time. The first staging of Krleža’s Kraljevo in Croatia, performed alongside The Mascherata under the common title Two Loves, was in Varaždin in 1957. In the late 50s and early 60s of the 20th century, of the six Croatian premieres, A. Camus’ The Misunderstanding is certainly the most significant. In 1961, two premieres were also held, both dramatizations of August Cesarec’s novella, and the Theatre named after him: The Poor Man’s Confession (Judge Me), in 1959, and Tonka’s Single Love, in 1964.

From the 70s of the 20th century, the Varaždin theatre turned to Croatian authors; performed were: K. Š. Gjalski, T. Strozzi, J. Kulundžić, Bakarić, Brešan, M. Božić, M. Bogović, Brezovački, Šenoa, Krleža, M. Jurić Zagorka, S. Kolar, Bakmaz… Veček’s debut as a director in Varaždin in 1971 was the premiere of The Death of Stjepan Radić, by T. Bakarić. From the end of that decade, the comedy Vatru gasi – brata skvasi, by the author trio Senker / Mujičić / Škrabe, The Strike by Štandekar and Armanini, were premiered.

The Humanity by J. Polić Kamov of 1908 waited to be premiered in Varaždin in 1990. In the 1991-92 season the following plays were premiered: Burlesque about a Greek, by A. Hieng, Lottery of Emperor Augustus, by I. Supek, Bakmaz’s Stepinac, Voice in the Desert. In the 1992-93 season, out of a total of six plays, five were by Croatian authors, of which three premieres: Kaj god, Cabaret!, Kulundžić’s The Amulet and the dramatization of the novel by M. Krleža, On the Edge of Reason. In 1997, Observations and Pinta nova by Boris Senker were premiered. Again, in 1999-2000, mostly Croatian drama; out of six titles, five are by Croatian authors, of which Šnajder’s drama At the White Swan was premiered, along with two other premieres of Children’s and Puppet Scene. The 2000-01 season was marked by the premiere of the play You Are That Angel, written by Miljenko Jergović and based on the collection of stories of the same name.

All Croatian premieres from the late 70s to 2000 are available in the repertoire list.

Kajkavizations and premiere performances of plays for children and young people, which complete the entire picture of a theatrically potent period in the form of Croatian contemporary drama and new translations of European drama, are represented in separate presentations.

As a special feature of this period, we should highlight the first productions of dramatizations of Croatian and European classic novels. In the entire repertoire of the Varaždin theatre, we occasionally come across dramatized novels, such as The Goldsmiths Treasure by A. Šenoa, U registaturi by A. Kovačić, as well as in the plays for children from Winnetou by K. May, 1952, The Prince and the Pauper by M. Twain, 1995, The Boy Ivek and the Dog Cvilek by Đ. Vilović in 2009, to The Three in Trnje by P. Pavličić, in 2018, and shorter prose types, as well as other non-dramatic texts (e.g. The Ballads of Petrica Kerempuh by M. Krleža) were dramatized. The nine titles, from 1978 to 2001, are respectively pre-productions of the same or similar conceptual pattern when designing the repertoire as a reference point for the thematic preoccupations of that time. A novel-drama is not only a transformation from one literary genre to another, but an author’s interpretation, the creation of a new text placed in the context of a given moment. These are the following titles: Miroslav Krleža, Emerički (the novel The Flags), 1978; Slobodan Novak, The Shell Rustles (the novel The Off-Board Logbook), 1979. Both were dramatized and directed by Miro Međimorec. (Together with the author of the novel, he wrote the screenplay for the film The Shell Rustles and directed it in 1990.) Matko Sršen directed his dramatization of F. M. Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamozov in 1984, and in 1985 Ante Armanini dramatized The Return of Philip Latinowicz, directed by Miro Međimorec. V. Vasiljevič Sečin staged Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in 1987. In 1989, Miro Međimorec directed In the Night, a dramatized political novel by K. Š. Gjalski, the work of playwright Ante Armanini. Ozren Prohić is the author of three dramatizations, and at the same time the director of the plays: M. Krleža, On the Edge of Reason, 1993, F. Kafka, The Trial, 1994, and again Krleža, The Croatian God Mars, 2001. To these titles should be added The Lamentations of Valent Žganec, although it is a part of Krleža’s novel On the Edge of Reason, which was dramatized by Matko Sršen in 1981.

During this period of time, artistic authorities such as Međimorec, Sršen, Armanini, and during the mandate of Marijan Varjačić, they are joined by the young Prohić, whose The Trial is his first professional direction. The anxiety of the individual in the novel, together with other titles of those seasons, depict the socio-political reality, they anticipate a new terrifying war with the consequent epilogue, The Croatian God Mars.

In the last twenty years, the following plays have been premiered: Miro Gavran’s Nora Today, 2006, Šnajder’s The Encyclopaedia of Lost Time, 2011, In Just a Day by Kacarov, 2012, the author’s project of O. Lozica, The Feast, 2014, Špišić’s A Sky Made of Rubber, 2019, and Hidden by K. Krčar, 2021, as well as The Croatian God of Massacre by I. Penović. The Horror Diptych by K. Krčar premiered in 2019 in the courtyard of the Old Town Castle, and the Croatian premiere of Aldo Nicolaj’s kajkavianized drama, Hamlet in Hot Spicy Sauce, in the courtyard of the Gallery of Old and New Masters in 2021. In the aforementioned period, on the Great Stage of the Theatre, the following plays were staged for the first time in Croatia: T. Williams, Suddenly Last Summer, 2006, J. Fosse, Mother and Child, 2012, Zupančić, Doubles Game, 2012, Ivan Vyrypaev, Illusions, 2019, and Ch. Hampton, Total Eclipse, 2022.

From the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the Zvonimir Rogoz Chamber Scene took over the place of performing novelties, and premiere performances followed: Family in Dust by Nina Mitrović, 2010, Tell Me about Gorky, by Mani Gotovac, 2012, The Hands on Ranko by Vesna Kosec-Torjanac, 2013, Crocodiles by Vladimir Arsenijević, 2017, No Life on Mars by Una Vizek, 2017, Nothing New by Luka Vlašić, 2020, and Croatian premieres: Elton John’s Glasses by David Farr, 2008, The Ugly by M. von Mayenburg, 2012, V. Franceschi’s Chess Brother, 2013, E. Murphy’s Little Treasure, 2015, M. Lang’s Ball of Snakes, 2018, I. Witkiewicz, The Madman and the Nun, 2018, M. O’Rowe, Terminus, 2019.

Of the eleven dramas in the so far repertoire of the managing director Senka Bulić, five are by Croatian authors, of which the premieres are: Dalibor Matanić’s premiere of The Gods, Kristijan Novak’s The Case of Own Death, and a play for children and young people, The Whisper of the Soul, by Tamara Kučinović.


Vesna Kosec-Torjanac


Varaždin Kajkavian Theatre

Language changes as society changes; it is “alive” and active, transmitting and creating experience at the same time. Language is not viewed as an autonomous system, separable from other human mental, intellectual, cognitive capabilities. It is viewed as a reflection of the categorization and organization of extra-linguistic experiences and all other environmental influences on the creation of a person’s understanding of the world, which is structured by the language of the speaking community – the language we speak determines what we can even think. Therefore, language is a worldview.


Kajkavian Drama in Varaždin until the 20th Century

Since 1836, Kajkavian ceased to be the literary language standard but continued its development in speech and literature until today. Kajkavian dramatic literature up to Illyrianism and the Croatian folk revival developed in the 17th and 18th centuries. Plays were performed in Jesuit and Pauline schools with an emphasis on morally didactic instruction. Of the Kajkavian titles of that era, only the tragedy Lizimakuš has survived, an adaptation of Charles de la Rue’s Latin work by J. Županić Sibenegg. Almost thirty translations were found, i.e. adaptations of primarily German or French originals, of which they are fragments or more or less complete adaptations by unknown authors. (For example, Čini barona Tamburlana / The Acts of Baron Tamburlan, Hipohondrijakuš / Hypochondriac, Nije vsaki cipeliš na vsaku nogu / Not Every Shoe Is for Every Foot…) Back in 1670, while staying in a Viennese dungeon, Frankopan translated George Dandin, Molière’s comedy directly from the French language. He not only adapted it, but also localized it in the domestic environment. The found fragment is the first touch with Molière and us, one of the rare translations of the French comedy writer at the time.

At the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, the most important Kajkavian writer of the pre-renaissance period of northern Croatia, Tituš Brezovački, wrote educational “plays” intended for Pauline and Jesuit high schools. Sveti Aleksi / Saint Alexey1 is the first and typical moralizing drama that he wrote for Varaždin high school students who had performed it even before it was printed in Zagreb in 1786.  In the comedy, Matijaš Grabancijaš Dijak / Matijaš Grabancijaš the Student (1804) and Diogeneš / Diogenes2, along with religious tendencies, he directs a clear criticism condemning the vices of current social and political life. It should be emphasized that the Kajkavian drama from the 16th to the 19th centuries was written in the literary Kajkavian language, not the dialect as it is still called today. (Šojat: 1977.)

Relevant information about the first Kajkavian performance in Varaždin dates back to 1898, when the repertoire of the Femen troupe included the operetta Matek and Janica, for which the libretto was written by Ljudevit Varjačić and the music composed by Ante Stöhr. Partly in the Kajkavian language, Kvas bez kruha ili Tko će biti veliki sudac / Yeast Without Bread or Who Will Be the Great Judge by A. Nemčić was published in the Neven in 1854. In the 20th century, there are few Kajkavian works. In the Chrestomatia of recent Croatian dramas, B. Senker mentions a bilingual, Štokavian-Kajkavian text, Gospodsko dijete / The Lordly Child by K. Mesarić. Varjačić draws attention to the bilingualism of Krleža’s Kraljevo (1915), the Croatian premiere of which was in Varaždin in 1957. (Varjačić: 2010)

August Cilić, an actor from Varaždin, adapted the libretto of the opera The Good Comrade by Emmerich Kálmán, performed in 1915, setting the war story in the surroundings of Varaždin. In 1962, Gerić translated Ta veseli dan ali Matiček se ženi / This Happy Day or Matiček marries by A. T. Linhart from Slovenian to Kajkavian and set it in the Varaždin region.

The name New Kajkavian Theatre (Varjačić: 2010) or the general Varaždin Kajkavian Theatre refers to the Kajkavian repertoire from the 70s of the 20th century, with full creative momentum in the 90s, until today. Until then, plays of the Kajkavian heritage were mainly performed. The special feature of the Kajkavian theatre in Varaždin and the Varaždin theatre in general lies precisely in the Kajkavianization and first performances of Kajkavian drama, which became a creative paradigm. In order to express the genesis of the Kajkavian repertoire of the Varaždin theatre clearly, we will present it in a kind of a triplex.

Kajkavian Classic Literature

  1. T. Brezovački, Matijaš grabancijaš dijak; red. Bogumila Nučić-Car, 28. 6. 1947.
  2. Brezovački, Diogeneš aliti Sluga dveh zgublenih bratov; red. Jozo Martinčević; 8. 10. 1949.
  3. M. Jandrič Pleb / Milan Drašković (prema Th. Miklošiću), Ljubomirović iliti Prijatel pravi; red. Milan Drašković; 15. 11. 1950.
  4. Nepoznati autor / M. Drašković i R. Posavec, Stari grehi; red. Milan Drašković; 19. 3. 1952.
  5. Nepoznati autor, Baron Tamburlanovič ili Pelda nerazumnoga potrošlivca; red. Janko Marinković; 23. 9. 1953.
  6. Nepoznati autor / M. Drašković, Nije vsaki cipeliš na vsaku nogu; red. Slavko Andres; 1. 2. 1958.
  7. T. Brezovački, Diogeneš ili sluga dveh zgublenih bratov; red. Vjekoslav Vidošević; 14. 1. 1961.
  8. T. Brezovački, Matijaš grabancijaš dijak; red. Borislav Mrkšić; 14. 9. 1966.
  9. Nepoznati autor, Misli bolesnik iliti Hipokondrijakuš; red. Borislav Mrkšić; 27. 9. 1969.
  10. Nepoznati autor, Nije vsaki cipeliš na vsaku nogu; red. Borislav Mrkšić; 25. 9. 1970.
  11. T. Brezovački, Matijaš grabancijaš dijak; red. Borislav Mrkšić; 24. 9. 1973.
  12. Nepoznati autor, Baron Tamburlanovič ili Pelda nerazumnoga potrošlivca; red. Vanča Kljaković; 13. 6. 1975.
  13. T. Brezovački, Matijaš grabancijaš dijak; red. Radovan Grahovac; 20. 3. 1981.
  14. M. Krleža, Lamentacije Valenta Žganca, (dram. M. Sršen); red. Matko Sršen; 4. 12. 1981.; Scena Z. Rogoza
  15. Ch. De la Rue – J. Županić de Sibenegg, Lizimakuš ili Mačuhinski nazlob; red. Vlado Štefančić; 8. 10. 1985.
  16. Nepoznati kajkavski autor, Misli bolesnik iliti Hipokondrijakuš; red. ansambl; 20. 12. 1988.; Velika scena
  17. M. Krleža, Balade Petrice Kerempuha, režija i izvedba Ivan Lovriček; 23. 11. 2001., Scena Z. Rogoza
  18. T. Brezovački, Sveti Aleksi; red. Georgij Paro; 19. 12. 2001., Velika scena
  19. D. Domjanić / H. Hitrec, Petrica Kerempuh i spametni osel; red. Zlatko Bourek; suradnja s GMV; 3. 9. 2006., Dvorište Staroga grada Varaždin
  1. B. Radaković / S. Kolar, Breza; red. Želimir Mesarić; 21. 2. 2010., Velika scena
  2. M. Krleža, Lamentacije Valenta Žganca; red. Dubravko Torjanac; 17. 2. 2011., Scena Z.Rogoza
  1. S. Kolar, Svoga tela gospodar; red. Georgij Paro; 12. 11. 2014., Velika scena
  2. Nepoznati kajkavski autor, Misli bolesnik iliti Hipokondrijakuš / Le Malade Imaginaire M.A. Charpentiera; red. Ozren Prohić, dir. Saša Britvić; 16. 6. 2015., Velika scena
  1. M. Krleža, Balade Petrice Kerempuha; red. Georgij Paro; 26. 2. 2016., Velika scena
  2. Nepoznati kajkavski autor, Čini barona Tamburlana; red. Krešo Dolenčić; 28. 2. 2019., Velika scena
  1. T. Brezovački, Matijaš grabancijaš dijak; red. Krešimir Dolenčić; 7. 7. 2021., Velika scena


Kajkavizations, Localizations

Language affects the very dramaturgy of the text and performance, so it is important to assess which dramatic templates will be suitable for Kajkavization. Each drama that includes linguistic transformation is not only a matter of shifting topos and time, but of creating a mentality that is realized – in language. It is “alive” and active, transmitting and creating experience at the same time. In the Kajkavian language, the theatre is more authentic, the theatre experience more immediate. The special feature of the Varaždin theatre since the 90s of the 20th century are contemporary Kajkavian translations of the greatest classics of world literature. “It’s about the self-awareness of theatre artists, theatre management, and the environment, i.e. the people of Varaždin as a theatre audience.“ (Foretić: 232)

George Dandin iliti Jarne bogati od Ivanečke Purge was premiered on October 5, 1979, and directed by Petar Veček. The text of the play is composed of a fragment of the


1. J. B. P. Molière, George Dandin (Jarne Rogobatni od Ivanečke Purge); red. Petar Veček; 5. 10. 1979.

2. Starofrancuske farse, Bogi Ivač (Mladenec koji neje znal kaj mladi ženski treba; Bogi Ivač; Balada o bednju); red. Vladimir Gerić; praizvedba 6. 7. 1990., Scena Zvonimira Rogoza

3. Ilija Kuljaš, Kaj? Ča? Što?; red. Ivica Kunčević (preradba Molièreovog Građanina plemića); 21. 3.1993., Velika scena

4. W. Shakespeare, Puno larme a za ništ; red. Vladimir Gerić; 24. 10. 1993., Velika scena

5. Starofrancuske priče, Tri kurviši pod raspelom; red. Vladimir Gerić; 9. 3. 1996.; Scena Z. Rogoza; praizvedba

6. H. von Hoffmansthal, Jedermann iliti Vsakovič; red. Georgij Paro, 6. 7. 1996., Dvorište Galerije starih i novih majstora / Velika scena

7. M. Bulgakov, Von Lamot od Mača; red. Želimir Mesarić; 9. 11. 2007., Velika scena; hrvatska premijera

8. T. M. Plautus, Komedija o loncu; red. Boris Kobal; koprodukcija HNK u Varaždinu i Mestnog gledališča Ptuj (SLO); u Ptuju: 26. 6. 2011., u Varaždinu: 7. 10. 2011., Velika scena

9. Srednjovjekovne francuske farse, Bogi Ivač znova; redatelj: Ljubomir Kerekeš; 20. 12. 2013., Scena Z. Rogoz

10. J. B. P. Molière / V. Gerić / Lj. Kerekeš, Očeš nečeš doktor; red. Ljubomir Kerekeš; koprodukcija HNK u Varaždinu i Kerekesh teatra; 12. 3. 2016., Velika scena

11. G. Feydeau, Gospon lovac; red. Tomislav Pavković; 5. 5. 2017., Velika scena

12. A. Nicolaj, Hamlet v hudom saftu; red. Dubravko Torjanac; suradnja s GMV; 3. 7. 2021., Dvorište palače Sermage Gradskog muzeja Varaždin; hrvatska premijera


adaptation of the George Dandin comedy written by Fran Krsto Frankopan, entitled Jarne bogati, of the kajkavianized and localized translation by Jovan Jovanović, as well as the Dubrovnik adaptation, the so-called franchises from the 18th century. Ivanečka Purga, a small place in Varaždin County became home to Molière’s Dandin, Ilija from Dubrovnik and Jarne from Slovenia. A comedy in three acts, or rather a farce with elements of a drama in which the title, a sad-funny role with an autobiographical character, had been played by Molière himself in 1668, a few years before Frankopan was to translate it in the dungeon. It was the first contact with Molière in our country, one of the rare translations of the French comedy writer at the time. Fran Krsto Frankopan, one of the most respected and influential Croatian nobles of the 17th century, intellectual and art lover, was in a Viennese dungeon in 1670, where, along with numerous manuscripts, a fragment of adaptation of Molière’s George Dandin was found. Frankopan translated Molière’s comedy directly from the French language and not only adapted it, but also localized it in the domestic environment. The play Jarne bogati od Ivanečke Purge is permeated by the tragic destinies of the co/author, different historical contexts, as well as the diversity of languages, which was skilfully unified and placed under the roof of the church Ivanečka Purga by Tomislav Lipljin.

In 1990, Vladimir Gerić directed three medieval French farces under the common name Bogi Ivač / Poor Ivač (Le nouveau marie qui ne peult fournir a l’appoinctment de sa famme / Mladenec koji neje znal kaj mladi ženski treba / The Young Man Who Did Not Know What a Young Woman Needs; Pauvre Jouhan / Bogi Ivač / Poor Ivač; Le cuivier / Farsa o bednju) which he himself translated into Štokavian. They were later kajkavianized by Lipljin. It is the longest-running play in the history of the Varaždin theatre. A ticket more was always requested for it, and the audience returned again and again and watched Ivač a dozen times, in which the ensemble led by Ljubomir Kerekeš skillfully inserted “fresh themes”. In 1996, three new farces were kajkavianized and directed by Gerić under the title Tri kurviši pod raspelom / Three Manwhores under the Crucifix: (Trois amoureux de la croix / Three Whores under the Crucifix; Les femmes qui font refondre leurs maris / Ženske teres u štele spretaliti svoje muže / Women Who Wanted to Melt Their Husbands; Un Savetier nomme Calbain lequel se maria à une Savetiere / Šoštar imenovan Gušta ki je zel za ženu jenu šoštaricu / The Shoemaker named Gušta Who Wanted a Female Shoemaker for His Wife).

The theatre critic, S. Mijović Kočan, familiar with the long-standing repertoire of the Theatre, claims that Bogi Ivač is “the most successful Varaždin theatre performance of all time”, stating that the reason is “first and foremost: language! If all of this had not been translated into the native phrase, into the mother’s expression and the domestic atmosphere in the Kajkavian area, it would not have been able to have such an astonishing success.” (S. M. Kočan: 2007)

Ilija Kuljaš, Kaj? Ča? Što?, a play created in 1993, is based on the Dubrovnik adaptation of Molière’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme by an unknown author from the 18th or 19th century; interrogative – relative pronouns Kaj? Ča? Što? were added to the title of Ilija Kuljaš, after which the three Croatian language idioms, Kajkavian, Chakavian and Štokavian, are named. The author of Ilija Kuljaš adopts a form specific to commedia dell’arte, writing the Dubrovnik comedy anew, using elements taken from Molière’s works. In the play in Varaždin, authorship has expanded. It is a “reworking of a reworking” built by the actors and the director themselves, bringing in the mentalities of their speech origins. Thus, in “full authorship”, the play became authentic, and the Varaždin theatre confirmed its sensibility towards the living spoken language, in this case – languages. It shows a comic picture of freedom with sociocultural conflicts of different Croatian mentalities. The modernized text was partially kajkavianized by Tomislav Lipljin, the Herzegovinian spirit was given to it by Matija Prskalo, it was refined by Stojan Matavulj in Split speech, Ivica Plovanić in Slavonic, and the director Ivica Kunčević reworked it in Dubrovnik speech.

Puno larme a za ništ is the kajkavianized comedy Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. The master of the Kajkavian language, actor Tomislav Lipljin, superbly transferred Shakespeare’s characters to the milieu of Varaždin and imbued them with the local mentality. “The dialect proved in this test to be capable of taking the poetic sublimity of the great Will into its house of the being.” (Foretić, 2002:143-145) A great ensemble, with Lipljin’s translation and the direction of Vladimir Gerić, enjoyed playing this comedy that was premiered on October 24, 1993 to mark the 120th anniversary of the opening of the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin. The ensemble of the play was awarded the Nazor Award in 1994, while Ljubomir Kerekeš received the Croatian Actor’s Award for the role of Benedikt.

The idea to kajkavianize Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann (translated as Svatkovič in Štokavian) and stage it in the courtyard of the Gallery of Old and New Masters as Vsakovič / Everyman, proved to be more than thoughtful. Superb acting achievements, first of all Ljubo Kerekeš’s masterful Vsakovič, Dragutin Novaković Šarli’s “astral music” (Foretić, 1996:6), perfectly dramaturgically integrated into the plot, added a new dimension to this morality of the peculiar Kajkavian conception of life and death. This morality gained a new dimension thanks to the language, so Varjačić observes that “the kajkavization of Jedermann is not an adaptation either (like Mnogo vike ni za što / Puno larme a za ništ); in Lipljin’s Vsakovič, language alone works” (Varjačić: 2010,234) “All in all, it is one of those performances of the Varaždin Theatre, which significantly determines its repertoire progression in conquering the often unattainable peaks of dramatic literature, and thus the significant reach of the Croatian theatre.” (Foretić, 1996:6) In 1996, Vsakovič presented Kerekeš with the Nazor Award. The criticism states: „What Kerekeš did in those moments belongs to the great, anthological moments of acting. Together with Paro, he felt that the resistance that is increasingly weakening Vsakovič needs to be strengthened with the unadulterated humour of the life of a man in a gap: Kerekeš builds the finale of his character in a marvellous comic brio that would probably be impossible by Štokavian standard. The Kajkavian language is the language of laughter in life’s extortion, the first conductor of galgenhumour in our linguistic arrangements, and Kerekeš uses it excellently to show a man, not sublimely dying in faith, but resisting death with life’s élan, constantly finding some small ‘feints’ to deceive its immutability, with his hands even resisting while the tombstones are being folded over him” (Foretić, 1996:6) The play is also adapted to play on an interior stage, to the general satisfaction of the audience.

Paro about the end of the play: “(…) the unfortunate Vsakovič truly has nowhere to go but to the grave. But even in that situation, Kerekeš will find more tricks to postpone death as long as possible, “until the last breath”, as Goddard says. He throws first one shoe into the crab, then the other, then he reluctantly gets into it, but he immediately goes back out, then Vera and Dela press him a little, then he comes out again to breathe air one more time, until the Priest and Vera lower the opening to the tomb slab. However, Vsakovič still does not want to leave this world, he tries to stop the heavy burial shroud with his weak hands until it covers him forever. End of story. (…) Hands down, Kerekeš. There are rare examples when an actor plays the concept of a play so imbued with the role and his own being. Spontaneous, easy, talented, true” (Georgij Paro, Conversation with Miletić, Disput, Zagreb, 1999, pp 118-119)

Shakespeare’s “Hamlet in Kajkavian – why not?” asks D. Foretić and claims: “This Kajkavian reworking showed, in addition to the dialect’s ability to deal with the words of the richest creator of the English language, his populism, liveliness, suppleness: in the Novoštokavian Shakespeare sounds courtly, in the Kajkavian folkly in its wide range of that term.” (Foretić: 2002) The great fruitful effort of Tomislav Lipljin in kajkavianizing the supreme achievement of dramatic literature was staged in 1998 in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of the Theatre. Hamlet was played by Ljubomir Kerekeš and directed by Vladimir Gerić.

The kajkavianization of Bulgakov’s Don Quixote continued the tradition of the Varaždin’s Kajkavian theatre. Von Lamot od Mača – Spelavanje vu četiri spelanja i devet dogodov / Performance in four acts and nine events based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Lipljin’s Kajkavian title, was directed by Želimir Mesarić. The characters were wittily renamed, placed in the context of the Kajkavian environment, Sancho Panza, i.e. Stanko Paska, masterfully played by Ljubomir Kerekeš, as well as Marinko Prga in the role of the unfortunate Don Quixote. The language of the play made a deep impression on the critic: “It teaches us the importance and almost omnipotence of the theatre, it clearly proves that the human race has not yet invented anything greater than language, it shows the importance of generational cooperation, it points to careful reading (of books) and much more, to each according to his merit.” (Ciglar: 2007.)

Plautus’s Komedija o loncu / The Pot of Gold was written in the interweaving of two Kajkavian languages: Slovenian and Croatian. Seemingly similar, the two languages play a distinct dramaturgical role in the play; all misunderstandings are the result of a misunderstanding of the language. According to the Slovenian translation of Plautus, V. Kosec-Torjanac translated all the characters, except Euclio, into Croatian Kajkavian. The performance with Branko Šturbej in the lead role and the ensemble of the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin was directed by Boris Kobal.

Aldo Nicolaj’s darkly humorous comedy, Hamlet v hudom saftu / Hamlet in Hot Sauce, had its Croatian premiere directed by D. Torjanac in 2021 in the courtyard of the Gallery of Old and New Masters of the Varaždin City Museum. Tonko Maroević’s translation was kajkavianized by V. Kosec-Torjanac’s dark comedies, it had its Croatian premiere directed by D. Torjanac in 2021 in the courtyard of the Gallery of Old and New Masters of the Varaždin City Museum.


Contemporary Kajkavian Texts

The first contemporary author, after the Varaždin operetta duo, is Slavko Kolar, who has been classified as a classic for a long time. Namely, Svoga telga gospodar / Master of His Own Body, a novella published in 1932, saw its dramatic version 24 years later, with the subtitle Smešna pripovest u dva dela / A Funny Story in Two Parts. In the same year,


  1. A. Stöhr / Lj. Varjačić, Matek i Janica (opereta), 1898.
  2. S. Kolar, Svoga tela gospodar; red. Mladen Feman; 16. 2. 1957.
  3. S. Kolar, Svoga tela gospodar; red. Petar Šarčević; 17. 10. 1975.
  4. N. Škrabe – T. Mujičić – B. Senker, Vatrugasi – brataskvasi ili Geri na geri ogenj geri su rekli Ježica Jabukezec, Vatrogasna veselica u dva mlaza; red. Petar Veček; 6. 10. 1977.; praizvedba
  5. M. Kelek, Dimnjačar; red. Ljubomir Kerekeš; 15. 2. 1992., Scena Z. Rogoza; praizvedba
  6. V. Kosec-Torjanac, Videl sem Jezuša; red. Dubravko Torjanac; dir. Slavko Magdić; 23. 12. 1994., Crkva Kaptola čazmansko-varaždinskog (danas katedrala) / Velika scena; praizvedba
  7. B. Senker, Pinta Nova; red. Vladimir Gerić; 18.VII.1997., Dvorište Staroga grada; praizvedba
  8. Lj. Kerekeš, Povratak ratnika; Ljubomir Kerekeš; 5. 12. 1997., Klub „Europa media“; praizvedba
  9. D. Torjanac / V. Kosec-Torjanac / D. Novaković Šarli, Norci; red. Dubravko Torjanac; 24. 5. 1998., Velika scena; praizvedba
  10. D. Ljuština, Stiže pojačanje; red. Ljubomir Kerekeš; 3. 5. 2000., Velika scena; praizvedba
  11. Lj. Kerekeš, Skupština; red. Ljubomir Kerekeš; 13. 1. 2005., Velika scena; praizvedba
  12. B. Radaković, Kaj sad?; red. Petar Veček; 14. 6. 2007., Velika scena
  13. V. Kosec-Torjanac, Sveti Mikula; red. Zlatko Bourek; 12. 2007., Velika koncertna dvorana; praizvedba
  14. D. Torjanac, Vrak Mrak i Seljo Belo iliti Velki požar vu Varažlinu iliti Zdiganje cirkve svetega Florijana; red. Dubravko Torjanac; koprodukcija s GMV; 15. 10. 2008., Klub „Europa media“; praizvedba
  15. V. Kosec-Torjanac, Mož i žena iliti Muški i ženski posli, zapraf: rog opera s dilemom „Ali bu zutra curelo“; red. Dubravko Torjanac; koprodukcija Dječje i lutkarske scene HNK u Varaždinu i KD „Pinklec“, Čakovec?? 26. 10. 2008., Velika scena
  16. Lj. Kerekeš, Debitanti; red. Ljubomir Kerekeš; 26. 6. 2009., Scena Z. Rogoza; praizvedba
  17. D. Torjanac, Stolek, stolek; red. Dubravko Torjanac; praizvedba 28. 11. 2010., Velika scena; praizvedba
  18. K. Novak: Slučaj vlastite pogibelji; red. Ivan Plazibat; 14.10.2023., Velika scena; praizvedba


it was premiered in Zagreb, directed by Branko Gavella, and the following year, in 1957, when the iconic black-and-white film was also shot, it was staged in Varaždin. Twenty years later, it was again in the repertoire in Varaždin, as it was in 2014, directed by Georgij Paro. Kolar’s Breza / The Birch was also produced; the dramatic text based on the short story was written by Borivoj Radaković in 2010 and and the play was directed by Želimir Mesarić.


N. Škrabe – T. Mujičić – B. Senker, Vatrugasi – brataskvasi or Geri na geri ogenj geri su rekli Ježica Jabukezec, Vatrogasna veselica u dva mlaza / Firefighter’s Happy Party in Two Jets directed by Petar Veček was premiered on October 6, 1977 as the first Kajkavian drama premiere at Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin.

Pinta nova illiti Titus Grabantzias diak kak szluga dveh zvuzlaneh szvatov by the prominent Croatian theatre expert and playwright Boris Senker, who wrote the play on the order of the Theatre, was premiered in the courtyard of Varaždin’s Old Town Castle in 1997 and directed by Vladimir Gerić. Even the subtitle of the new dramatic work, Pripechenye vu troyem dogodu po Borisu Szenker izpelyano i s katastrofum dokonchano, reveals an observable fact: the work is izpelyano / performed, i.e. composed in Kajkavian literary language, a kind of pastiche ranging from Vramec, Pergošić, Habdelić, Belostenec and Brezovački to Krleža’s Ballads. The tragicomic drama describes the events in Varaždin at the end of the 18th century, the former Croatian capital (in 1776, when a fire destroyed it almost to the ground).

The dramatization of Kristijan Novak’s novel The Case of Own Destruction, directed by Ivan Plazibat, premiered on October 14, 2023 in the form of a tense thriller of the Međimurje Region is inspired by a true story about corruption as a current model at all levels of society. This premiere is a confirmation of the further development of the Kajkavian repertoire, and with the announcement of a new premiere at the beginning of next year, which is beyond the scope of this monograph, the Kajkavian theatre in Varaždin realizes its full creative potential.

It should be mentioned that the Kajkavian language is largely used in the play Art by the contemporary French playwright Y. Reza, directed by B. Rocco, as well as in the children’s play Crocodile Marko by V. Kosec-Torjanac/I. Guljašević, in which, among the variety of Croatian languages, two scenes are written in Kajkavian (the language of Lepoglava and Međimurje). The play was directed by Dubravko Torjanac, the author and director of numerous Kajkavian plays in the Varaždin theatre.

The repertoire of Children’s and Puppet Scenes of the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin is largely and significantly based on the Kajkavian language (Videl sem Jezuša / Christ I Saw, Norci / The Fools, Petrica Kerempuh i spametni osel / Petrica Kerempuh and a Clever Donkey, Sveti Mikula / Saint Nicholas, Mož i žena / Husband and Wife, Vrak Mrak and Seljo Beljo, Stolek, stolek), from its formal foundation in 1994, which began its activities with a play in the Kajkavian language. Out of a total of twelve premieres of the Kajkavian drama repertoire, five belong to the Children’s Scene, along with the sixth which is not a premiere, but is Kajkavian: Petrica Kerempuh i spametni osel / Petrica Kerempuh and a Clever Donkey by D. Domjanić / H. Hitrec, with the lyrics written by V. Kosec-Torjanac, and they were set to music and performed by D. Šarli Novaković. The play was directed by Zlatko Bourek. The play Norci / The Fools won the Croatian Theatre Award as the best play for children and young people as a whole in 1998, with nominations for the Actor’s Award to Robert Plemić and Ivan Duić for the best scenography.


The texts and plays Norci / The Fools, Vrak Mrak and Seljo Beljo and Stolek, stolek have related stylistic processes of Torjanec’s distinctive poetics. First of all, it is language – the bearer of the main role in the formation of the world presented in the play; it is a teammate in discovering the ontological assumptions of each face, mutual relationships and vision of a world in which Good and Evil co-exist equally. It is language that enables wonder, erasing the stereotypical boundaries of up-down, heaven-hell, good-evil, ultimately life and death. To the author, playing with language is not only a stylistic element, but a fundamental worldview embodied on stage. The fantastic depiction of the world through the Kajkavian language, which lends itself to creating the ambivalence of the povaraždinštene slike svijeta / The Varaždin-Way Images of the World, in which man is the creator of his own happiness, and supernatural beings have power only through man, combines fairy-tale formulation and ironic discourse. It is irony that carries the ethics of humanity because it shows man with all his flaws and, as a member of the society of guilt, grants him the dignity of innocence, as long as his actions are based on trust and love for his fellowmen. (V. K. Torjanac: 2018.) Playfulness, irony, distortion of reality, departure from reality in seemingly real situations, characterized not only the mentioned titles, but also the Kajkavian repertoire of the Children’s and Puppet Scenes of the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin.


Lipljin brought a special sensibility for the Kajkavian language, as well as a passion for it, to his Kajkavianizations and a unique Dictionary of the Varaždin Language with 33,000 words and entries, which can be called his life’s work. His last play was the Kajkavian one – Kaj sad? / What Now? by Borivoj Radaković and directed by P. Veček, which Lipljin played until the very end, when he was seriously ill, and at the Actor’s Festival he won the award for the best male role in 2008 for the role of Grandpa.

This same sensibility and passion are manifested in the acting of Ljuba Kerekeš. In addition to anthology roles in the Kajkavian language, Kerekeš has been creating his Kajkavian theatre for almost thirty years, writing texts, directing and acting (Dimnjačar / Chimneyman, Povratak ratnika / Return of the Warrior, Skupština / Assembly, Debitanti / Debutants…). for which he has been awarded many times.


Ambient Theatre


The plays in the Varaždin theatre are often played on summer stages in Varaždin and throughout Croatia. They have been adapted to the space as a foreign element; mostly, the real outdoor space had to be cancelled and the scenography set up in such a way that it matched the space and conditions of the stage in the building as much as possible. However, there were also performances in which the ambiance was included in the vision and rhythm of the play from the very beginning. The open space took on the function of a stimulating impression of the performance and became the creator of the mise-en-scène. The atmosphere in the space under the open sky, by encroaching the play into reality, contributes to the transformation of reality into a theatrical sign.

As ambient performances, generally the plays in Kajkavian repertoire have been staged: Boris Senker, Pinta nova, H. von Hoffmansthal, Jederman iliti Vsakovič / Everyman or Vsakovitsch, Domjanić/Hitrec, Petrica Kerempuh i spametni osel / Petrica Kerempuh and a Clever Donkey, Plautus, Komedija o loncu / The Pot of Gold, A. Nicolaj, Hamlet v hodom saftu / Hamlet in Hot Sauce, and “non-kajkavian”, Horor diptih / Horror diptych, by K. Krčar/E. A. Poe.


Chamber Theatre
In the Varaždin theatre building, apart from the main stage, the so-called Great Stage, designed precisely for the performance of plays (dramatic and musical), other facilities were converted for performances: the hall where dances were held, the so-called redutna dvorana / dance hall, called the Great Concert Hall, chamber halls – small concert hall and the so-called Hall “99”, now experimental, in which short plays have been performed since 1956, and Europa Media Club. They all were, from time to time, scenes of dramatic repertoire. The basement stage, since the 60s, has been opened under the large main stage on the site of the former revolving machinery, the so-called Rundbühne / round stage. Named after the actor Zvonimir Rogoz in 1981, it has been an indispensable scene of a regular repertoire ever since.

The chamber theatre in Varaždin particularly attracts the attention of the audience primarily because of its close stage, which Grotowski advocated, among others, so that the audience could “feel the actor’s breath, smell his sweat” (Fischer-Lichte: 2009). Performances on the Zvonimir Rogoz Stage, usually devoid of rich scenography, put the actor in the foreground. Antonija Ćutić, a member of the Varaždin ensemble from 1964 to 1971, in a conversation on the occasion of the anniversary of the Theatre, greatly emphasized the experience of her playing on that chamber stage:

„There were big names in the theatre: Majetić, Švec, Smiljka Bencet, Nevenka Stazić… They worked fantastically. We played downstairs in the basement, Mr. Gerovac, Ivan Lovriček, Mrs. Stazić and me. That was a great joy for me because I experienced the theatre itself more directly. People came, they were interested in what we were doing and reacted nicely, so that was our fullness. We worked wholeheartedly, both the young and the older. Lujo Gerovac and I made Ionesco. There was a large audience; during the performance I was careful not to step on anyone, because the audience is around us, next to us, everything is right there in the palm of our hands. After the show, people would congratulate, say their comments – we lived together all the time.“


Krleža in Varaždin

Since the premiere of his drama In Agony, directed by Viktor Bek, in 1946, the works of one of the most significant canonical domestic authors have been staged twenty-one times. Therefore, Krleža is the most represented author in the Varaždin theatre. Due to multi-season reruns of some plays, the Theatre is marked with the continuity of Krleža’s dramas, and their dramatization, too: two plays were performed one after another in the second half of the 50s and 60s of the 20th century. Krleža has been almost always part of the theatre menu since the half of the 70s of the 20th century to this day!

Due to the fact that the dramatic text is “written” anew with each staging, the history of dramatic literature does not always coincide with the stage “birth” of certain plays. The first one mainly deals with the time of creation of the text or its publication, regardless of when that work undergoes its stage transformation. The fact that Krleža’s Legends waited for its premiere for almost 40 years is more indicative of the history of the theatre, so it is more significant than the date of the creation of the text or its literary publication. A prime example is The Legend itself, which Krleža wrote in the fall of 1913, and it was printed a year later, as the first “legend” from his imagined symbolic pentalogy, the so-called Gigantomachia. It was supposed to unite Christ, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Columbus, Kant and Goya. It was premiered and directed by Slobodan Unkovski at the National Theatre in Zenica not before 1978. If we exclude the stage reading directed by G. Paro in 2015, (Miroslav Krleže Centre, in Gvozd), the first performances in Croatia took place almost 100 years after the legend had been written: in the Gavella Drama Theatre in Zagreb on April 13 and the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin on April 14, 2022.

Even before Krleža’s dramas were staged by the Varaždin ensemble, the people of Varaždin had the opportunity to watch three guest plays: In Agony, 1933, by the National Theatre of Novi Sad-Osijek, In the Camp, 1937, by the Kraljević Tomislav National Theatre from Osijek, and, 1941, In Agony by the Croatian National Theatre from Zagreb.

In 1955, Messrs. Glembay, From the Life of an Agramer Patrician Family, was premiered, directed by Branko Špoljar, and Leda, A Comedy of a Carnival Night, directed by Tito Strozzi, in 1969. In the 50s, interest in civic drama grew, so that the so-called dramas of the Glembay cycle were frequently played in Varaždin. The Legends gradually began to be played as well.

After 1946, the aforementioned drama In Agony was staged three more times: in 1965, directed by Tito Strozzi, in 1974, directed by Petar Šarčević, and in 2006, directed by Petar Veček. There is no detailed information, reviews or other newspaper articles about the first performances, so we can only speculate about the performance and the audience’s reception at the time. 1946, a post-war year with collectivism as an ideological mask at all levels of social events that sacrificed the individual for the benefit of the masses, could show the breakdown of capitalism in a socialist realist atmosphere on the example of the patrician Lembach family. Almost 20 years later, when the party control had already weakened and it was possible to single out the individual from the collective, no longer as a demonic opposition to the collective, but as highlighting the individual – the bearer of the typical determination in society: rebel, dreamer, etc., Strozzi’s In Agony was a representation of intimate family drama. The drama of the Agramer love triangle in 1974, judging by the incomparably more reruns than the previous Agonies, certainly satisfied the taste of the people of Varaždin in the then general increase in interest in theatre. Veček’s direction of the drama In Agony in 2006 consists of staging all three acts, that is, Krleža’s third act was performed and later rewritten, inserted between the first and second acts. 60 years after the first Varaždin premiere of this text, he put the last one to the test: how to bring Krleža’s dialogic “baroque etudes” into harmony with the dominant genre of SMS among the younger audience, whose attention Veček primarily wanted to gain.

In 1957, under the common denominator Two Loves directed by Slavko Andres, the carnival love play Masquerade, Krleža’s youth drama, was staged alongside Kraljevo, which was performed for the first time on the Croatian stage. The symbolist one-act plays with which Krleža announced European expressionism, without a dramaturgical connection, were performed on the chamber stage. In 1967, Borislav Mrkšić directed Adam and Eve, reduced to symbols of the male and female principles in an allegorical depiction of their relationship.

In 1995, Borna Baletić turned the dynamics of the fair carnival in Kraljevo into frozen images in which the mass is just a collection of individuals; the dead are alive, and the living are deadened, decapitated persons who wander longing to get out of the darkness. Instead of Krleža’s noisy fair scenes, Baletić sets expressionist pictures in a silent negative, which enhances the impression of the senselessness of the noisy mood. Dalibor Foretić wrote in his critique of the Varaždin version of Kraljevo: “Baletić bases his stage performance on Croatian mental features, consistently drawn from Krleža’s text, but also on current vibrations of national spirit. Being a Croat means being alone, grunting to yourself and thinking your own way, sometimes with a fig in your pocket, wandering and staring into nothingness and the rugged spiritual landscapes of the people around you.“ (Foretić: 1995.)

Three years after the premiere of Kraljevo, in 1998, Borna Baletić staged two more one-act plays by Krleža: Michelangelo Buonarroti and Christopher Columbus, under the joint title Two Legends, thematically united by the omnipresent character of the Unknown, who, speaking through two representatives of human genius, questions the meaning of their actions, and thus existence itself. The spectators, located on the stage, under the Sistine Chapel and on the hull of Columbus’s ship at the same time, drawn into a spatial metaphor spread over the entire stage, the auditorium, up to the boxes – teatrum mundi, were assigned the role of a “compact majority” that “crushes the longing for infinity and eternity.“

The premieres of Vučjak in 1975 directed by Petar Šarčević and in 2008 directed by Ivica Kunčević, a play that leaves the mythical framework characteristic of Krleža’s first dramatic cycle, but still possesses expressionist dramatic principles, shapes current reality, from the First World War to today. It is the drama of an individual – an intellectual who retreats before the onslaught of the ruling social mechanism under the guise of justice and morality. “Reading” of Vučjak in the 70s of the 20th century fits into repertoires with an emphasis on a socially marginalized individual who, unlike the new anxious millennium, still offered hope.

The dramatization of Krleža’s novel The Flags by Miro Međimorec in 1978, premiered under the title Emerički, gained great publicity already during several months of trials, and reruns reached an enviable number. From an extensive template, Međimorec created an author’s text with his own view of Krleža’s discourse, and post-expressionist theses about freedom and evil fell on fertile ground, dealing with the problem of the life of a modern man for whom politics has become a destiny and a reason for alienation. Drama centred on two characters – Kamil and Joja, who test their freedom by exposing social and personal lies. Flags, decorations, money, positions, careers, sabres, marches, trumpets are attributes of a world in which “these gentlemen hate intelligence on principle.“ (M. K.)

The Lamentations of Valent Žganac, dramatized and directed by Matko Sršen, was performed ten years after its premiere in 1981. The reason for the long duration of this confession of a little Croatian man is first of all in Tomislav Lipljin’s unsurpassed acting interpretation. On February 17, 2011, the same dramatization was staged and directed by Dubravko Torjanac and performed by Zdenko Brlek and Darko Plovanić.

The first performance of The Return of Philip Latinowicz in 1985, dramatized by Ante Armanini and directed by Miro Međimorec, was an eagerly awaited event that the audience still remembers today.

On the Edge of Reason, Krleža’s novel from 1938, dramatized and directed by Ozren Prohić, was premiered in 1993 as an association with the current situation and the doomed individual ethical and moral rebellion of an intellectual. It is a criticism of a civil society in which human stupidity reigns, so an individual, rebelling against it, will find himself in conflict with the social system.

In 2001, Prohić once again reached out to Krleža’s prose reading by staging The Croatian God Mars, an extremely engaged play, taking as the basis of the novella from the book of the same name, Krleža’s text In the Eve and excerpts from The Diaries. The first part shows the painful family conflict of a destructive couple without love and murder for money. The second part is a depiction of a universal nightmare, madness in a train that “melts like a red-hot” rushing toward the sun in a general crowd, music, drunkenness, casual rape, a pack of lost faces, women, children, as a picture of the misery of human relations reduced to the friction of passing bodies. Existence is the result of being thrown into the lives of various Jambreks, Cadavers or Quakers, as well as nameless Croats who died on the battlefields throughout history. The third part takes place in a hospital where syphilitic patients suffer due to physical weakness with the death of Franjo Kadaver as the final termination of individual hope and the impossibility of healing the nation. The postmodernist depiction of chaotic reality in its fragmentary nature, irony, intermedial elements, in the symbols of the crowded simultaneity of the stage events is an unequivocal association with the last war events.

In 2001, Ivan Lovriček performed his selection from The Ballads of Petrica Kerempuh on stage in the warm Kajkavian accent from the Podravina region, embodying the character of the “mourning man of letters”, who summarized Croatian history from the 16th to the 19th century.

Under the direction of Georgij Paro, Three Cavaliers of Miss Melania were staged in 2013, followed by The Ballads of Petrica Kerempuh in 2016, with great interest from the audience. The theatre constantly offers new stage readings of Krleža. The young director, Ivan Planinić, will direct The Masquerade in 2020, and in 2022, the already mentioned The Legend in the author’s vision of Vesna Kosec-Torjanac, Filip and Nikša Eldan, is still in the repertoire of the Croatian National Theatre in Varaždin.


AC ’77 Youth Drama Studio (1977 – 1987)

The AC ’77 Youth Drama Studio (abbreviation ODS, “AC” means the initials of the writer August Cesarec, the name of the Theatre at the time) was founded in February 1977. The Varaždinske vijesti on March 17, 1977, recorded: “Two auditions for members of the Youth Drama Studio were held in the premises of the Varaždin-based August Cesarec National Theatre. (…). An unexpectedly large number of girls and boys came forward, mostly middle and high school students. (…)“

The incentive for the establishment of an amateur theatre, which continued to operate alongside and in the premises of the August Cesarec National Theatre, with a permanent or variable number of members (mostly around twenty), was given by the director of the Theatre at the time, director Petar Veček, and the basic idea was the aesthetic education of young people through creative works in drama and theatrical performances, active and nurturing attraction of a wider circle of people interested in theatre and avoiding confinement within narrow professional frameworks.

In the beginning, directors Petar Veček, Miro Međimorec, Srećko Capar and actress Vesna Stilinović did the ‘duck-steps’ on stage and acting improvisations, while theatre dramatist Ante Armanini held theoretical lectures on the history and aesthetics of dramatic theatre. Actress Vesna Stilinović, later the leader of the KUO 3 and KUO 4 drama groups of the Gabrijel Santo Secondary School Centre, today’s First Gymnasium/High School, from 1977 until the founding of the Youth Theatre Studio, from time to time realized various stage projects within the AC ’77 Youth Drama Studio, such as Antigone by D. Smole, improvised plays ‘on the theme’ entitled The King’s Game and Tosca, and the play Dripping on Hot Stones based on the poetry collection The Flowers of Evil by C. Baudelaire. The AC ’77 Youth Drama Studio performed its own repertoire and staged plays independently and with the support of the theatre’s stage and technical staff. The plays were listed on the monthly theatre posters on an equal footing with the plays of the professional ensemble, and its members occasionally took part in professional productions.

The first performance of the AC ’77 Youth Drama Studio was The Forced Marriage by J. B. P. Molière (March 30, 1978), followed by the recital The Earth Will Spin as Before…” (a selection from contemporary poetry by V. Ban, V. Poljanac, I. Zamoda, Z. Balog, J. Menart, Lj. Opačić, D. Mazur, V. Topić), June 30, 1978, the play Something Will Happen in the Town by D. Torjanac (February 10, 1979), and Frenzy for Two, or More by E. Ionesco (1979) Journalist Ivica Vrbanić comments in the newspaper Varaždinske vijesti on May 24, 1979:

Members of the Youth Drama Studio recently performed the play Something Will Happen in the Town, based on the text by Dubravko Torjanac, which deals with the problem of passivity and lack of interest among young people in Varaždin. Due to the lack of space, young people can only choose between a ‘guesthouse in the centre of the town’ and a ‘guesthouse on the outskirts’. Indecisiveness, insecurity, inability to make a true and accurate decision in life, and in addition being guided by the will of their parents, reduces their activity to passive observation of life around them and to deceptive verbalizations.

In the first three mentioned plays of the AC ’77 Youth Drama Studio the scenographer was Marin Gozze. The painter and scenographer Ivan Duić created his first theatre scenography for B. Brecht’s play, A Man’s a Man, Goran Merkaš designed his first theatre posters for plays: D Torjanac, Something Will Happen in the Town, and E. Ionesco, Scene in Four / Madness in Two; the musical collaborator of all performances was Nataša Maričić, the actors Velimir Čokljat and Zdenko Brlek made their first stage steps in Molière’s The Forced Marriage (Brlek in Ionesco’s one-act plays and in the recital And the Earth will Spin as Before… ), and the actor Ljubomir Kerekeš in Smole’s Antigone, Ksenija Krčar took the stage in Dripping on Hot Stones, while the author and playwright Vesna Kosec-Torjanac tried her hand as an actress in the Cabaret Chekhov. In addition to the mentioned projects by V. Stilinović, the director of the other plays of the Drama Studio was Dubravko Torjanac.

„(…) after a two-year break”, wrote the Varaždinska vijesti on October 7, 1982, “The Youth Drama Studio was re-established (…) and now Dubravko Torjanac works with amateur actors (…)”. In the next five years, plays for adults, plays for children and (anti-)recitals followed: … reflections on Gundulić’s Dubravka and Something Else, that is, Let’s Set Everything in Green Groves! (and then stare?), with the texts by Gundulić, Voznesensky, Majakovsky, Brecht (1982); B. Brecht, A Man’s a Man, (March 1, 1983); L. Paljetak, Executioner or Two Restless Days in the Town on Lake Q and The Encore Performance (based on the text by L. Paljetak The Death of Mr. Olaf  (March 16, 1984); The Ballad of a Great Death (with texts as in Lawyer Pathelin, a farce by an unknown author from 15th century, The Ballad of a Great Death, by M. de Ghelderode, Germania, Death in Berlin, by H. Müller, 1985); Mockingbirds (cabaret program with texts by F. Villon, W. Shakespeare, Z. Balog, B. Brecht, by J. de La Fontaine, E. Deschamps and texts by members of the Studio, April 30, 1986); A. B. Ruzzante, Mosquito (August 15, 1986); M. Krleža, Kerempuhove pesme glas (stage fragments of The Ballads of Petrica Kerempuh, 1987); Skurjeni (pantomime for the opening of the Matija Skurjeni Gallery, Zaprešić, July 15, 1987); A. P. Chekhov, Cabaret Chekhov (stage adaptations of the novels by A. P. Chekhov, August 19, 1987)     

The AC ’77 Youth Drama Studio also performed three plays for children, THIS YEAR’S NEW YEAR (December 10, 1983), Animal Kingdom (1984), “who goes to sleep with children / adults…” (December 24, 1985), all texts D. Torjanac.

In addition to the above said, between 1985 and 1987, the Drama Studio occasionally recorded short radio plays on Radio Varaždin (texts by K. Bayer, Terence and its own texts). The radio program was titled The Nail File, and the editor was journalist Ivica Vrbanić.