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THE PUPILCEKS HAVE ARRIVED; 40 Years of the Pupilija Ferkeverk Theatre

40 Years of the Pupilija Ferkeverk Theatre

Edited by: Aldo Milohnić and Ivo Svetina

Maska and the Slovenian National Theatre Museum, 2009

The journal The Pupilceks Have Arrived: 40 Years of the Pupilija Ferkeverk Theatre sheds light on all aspects of the activities of the neo-avant-garde theatre group Pupilija Ferkeverk, especially its cult performance Pupilija, papa Pupilo, and the Pupilceks, which was created precisely 40 years ago (in 1969).

The book is divided into several thematic sections. The first part contains the testimonies of some of the protagonists of the Pupilija Ferkeverk Theatre and their associates, including a survey article by Ivo Svetina from 1986, supplemented by author for the publication in this journal; an essay by director Dušan Jovanović, in which he describes the method of working with the Pupilceks; an essay by Denis Poniž, who cooperated with the group in its early period (before it was named Pupilija Ferkeverk); an excerpt from the diary of Goranka Kreačič, who appeared in Pupilija’s performances; a short interview with Junoš Miklavec, who slaughtered the chicken on the opening night of Pupilija, papa Pupilo, and the Pupilceks; and an interview with Lado Kralj, the founder of the Pekarna theatre, which part of the former Pupilceks joined. The book also includes the media responses, the theatre critiques of the time, and a lot of visual and other documentary material that is no longer so easily accessible and is known only to the few who research this period in the history of Slovenian theatre.

In the second part of the journal, there are theoretical papers on Pupilija Ferkeverk and some contemporaneous movements in Slovenia (especially the neo-avant-garde group OHO) and elsewhere (in other republics of the SFRY, in Europe and the USA). Some of the authors followed the activities of the group during the time it existed, whereas some of the younger authors had to work with a video recording of a TV adaptation, photos of scenes from performances, Karpo Godina’s experimental film The Fried Brain of Pupilija Ferkeverk, and the testimonies of the protagonists from that period and the reconstruction from 2006. The purpose of these contributions is to establish a historical context in which the Pupilija Ferkeverk group was established and operated for a few years and to develop a critical discourse on this period, the group itself, and especially their most known performance Pupilija, papa Pupilo, and the Pupilceks. This part of the book opens with a hitherto unpublished contribution by Primož Kozak (“The Avant-garde in Slovenian Theatre – Destruction or Reform”), which was written in the early 1980s when Kozak lectured about the Pupilija Ferkeverk Theatre at an international conference. There follow seven discussions written exclusively for this journal by Miško Šuvaković (“The OHO group and the Pupilija Ferkeverk Theatre. A Comparative Study: Questions on the Limits of Freedom); Zdenko Vrdlovec (“The ‘Prophetical Discourse' of Advertising in Fried Brain of Pupilija Ferkeverk); Aleksandra Jovićević (“On the Wings of the Slaughtered Chicken: The Life and Death of Pupilija Ferkeverk, 1969–1972”); Barbara Orel (“Pupilija as an Incision in the Regime of Representation and Perception”); Tomaž Toporišič (“The Performing Turn of Pupilija Ferkeverk”); Darko Štrajn (“The Social Movement of the Pupilija Ferkeverk Theatre”); and Aldo Milohnić (“Those That Did (Not) Slaughter the Chicken”).

The third part of the journal focuses on the contemporary reception of Pupilija Ferkeverk through the phenomenon of the reconstruction. The performance Pupilija, papa Pupilo, and the Pupilceks – Reconstruction, staged in 2006 by Janez Janša, is examined by the director of the performance (“Reconstruction2: On the Reconstructions of Pupilija, papa Pupilo, and the Pupilceks and Monument G”) and Katherin Zakravsky (“On the Reenactment of Pupilija – A Photo Novel”), while Astrid Peterle places Pupilija within the context of reconstructions in visual and performing arts, a known and frequently used method in the history of art that has recently become increasingly more relevant (“Reenactments and the Potential of a Calculated Failure”).

The book comes with a chronology of key events, an extensive list of references, and an index of names. The journal was edited by Aldo Milohnić and Ivo Svetina, and published by Maska and the Slovenian National Theatre Museum.