Biography of Ivica Buljan
Ivica Buljan was born in 1965 in the Dalmatian town of Sinj in Croatia. Since childhood he has been fascinated by the ruins of the Amphitheatre at the ancient city of Salona. He studied Political Science, French, and Comparative Literature at the University of Zagreb.
He has written for progressive publications (the magazines Polet and Start) and became the youngest permanent critic at the Slobodna Dalmacija daily. As a dramaturge he worked with such directors as Vito Taufer, Kristof Warlikowski and Jean Michel Bruyère. Receiving a French government scholarship in 1993 he worked at the Théâtre National de Bretagne in Rennes and collaborated with Christian Colin. He directed his first play in Ljubljana, it was The Name on the Tip of the Tongue, based on the Pascal Quignard novel. Phèdre, based on the poem by Marina Tsvetaeva, was an international success and had more than a hundred performances at the cult Zagreb ITD Theatre, in most European countries and in Latin America. As the director of the Drama of Croatian National Theatre he made it flourish. He turned it into one of the most successful and most controversial Croatian theatres. This is where a whole generation of young Croatian playwrights, directors and alternative groups had their debuts. He made the Croatian National Theatre Split a member of the European Theatre Convention. With the paradoxical aim to be elitist and populist, eccentric yet appealing to the masses, this theatre rejected traditionalist limitations.
Buljan constructs the identity of the Split Theatre through seismographic research of the present. His plays combine Mediterranean temperament with Central European erudition.
In 2000 in Ljubljana with Robert Waltl he founded the Mini Teater, a unique place where innovative plays for younger audiences are being developed alongside a post-theatre research program. At Mini Teater Buljan has staged three awarded plays, which have been relevant in the wider Slovenian cultural space: Koltès’s monologue The Night Before the Forests; Schneewittchen After Party by Robert Walser and Macbeth after Shakespeare by Heiner Müller. Music is an important element of Buljan’s theatre. His permanent collaborator is the composer Mitja Vrhovnik Smrekar, and in individual projects he has worked with the rock band Let 3, the hip hop group TBF and the legendary Croatian author Arsen Dedić.
His concept of extended theatre includes the participation of visual artists: Ivan Kožarić, Ana Savić Gecan, Slaven Tolj, Tobias Putrih, Tomo Savić Gecan, Vadim Fiškin, Siniša Ilić, Ben Cain, Tina Gverović, Gregory Niel, Laetitia Delafontaine…
The actor’s persona is at the center of Buljan’s theatre. From a series of monologues that question the fragility of the actor’s being, to monumental collective frescoes incited by a Brechtian energy, his permanent acting troupe are: Robert Waltl, Ana Karić, Senka Bulić, Marko Mandić, Veronika Drolc, Milena Zupančič, Jose… joined by numerous European actors.
Buljan is a homo theatralis who reflects himself in different European cultures, from his own Mediterranean to the Central European Slovenian; the French culture that he chose by education, and the German culture, from which he most often chooses authors to stage (Müller, Jelinek, Strauss, Sperr, Walser…).
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