Posted by: viewfromtheriva | June 22, 2014

IKS Festival brings international contemporary theatre to Split

Every year here in Split the iks international festival of contemporary theatre is held and this year the lineup is especially impressive with programs from Spanish, Slovenian, Croatian and Italian artists.

We saw Sad Sam Lucky last night, a one-man performance piece by internationally celebrated director/choreographer and actor Matija Ferlin, who was born in Pula and resides there despite more than decade of living, working and performing all over the world.  He spend a lot of time in Berlin, perfecting his technique, and in 2012 won Croatia’s most important theatre award for directing and choreography.


Sad Sam Lucky is an evolving piece first performed several years ago.  Its inspiration is the poetry of Srecko Kosovel who was born in Sezana in 1904 and died of meningitis when he was only 22.  He left a legacy of more than 1000 poems, none of which were published during his lifetime. Since then, his work has been celebrated in a number of books, the most recent of which was published in 1977, “Integral”.

the program was a little black book with some of Kosovel's poetry as well as information about him and Fermin

the program was a little black book with some of Kosovel’s poetry as well as information about him and Ferlin

The poems, considering the age of the author and the backdrop of WW1, are highly charged yearnings for love, understanding, the angst of youth, the frustration of politics and more.  Stream of consciousness fragments more than rhyme, they evoke both coming of age and a deep passion for trying to make sense of a world in the process of losing its humanity.

After several scenes using Kosovel’s poetry, Ferlin switches to using own material  (his wife is also credited in the program) which is wildly modern and features everything from imaginary conversations, bits of clever whimsy to the kind gut-wrenching physical-facial-emotional work Jerzy Grotowski’s Polish theatre created in the 70’s that many avant-garde performers still embrace today.

On a bare stage with a black wooden table as his only prop, Ferlin begins his piece by stapling pages of Kosovel’s poetry to the table and begins to recite various passages moving around the bare stage as an antagonist.

Eventually he adds movement–astonishingly athletic as it is graceful.  In the final scenes he uses the table as a musical instrument, artfully dragging it across the stage to create a surprising range of tonal sounds.

A wonderful evening, too few in the audience, but a constant reminder of just how important the arts are to this city–what a joy to be able to live in such a place where the sea, sun and tourism are only part of what makes Split so special!





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