Goran Stefanovski

  • Posted on: 13 September 2015
  • By: marijke
About the participant: 

Dramatist and playwright Goran Stefanovski was born in Macedonia, then in Yugoslavia. He worked there as one of its most prominent theatre professionals until the late 90s, when he moved to England. Stefanovski has written extensively for the stage, TV and cinema. His plays and essays have had numerous productions, translations and publications.

During the 90s his works became engaged with the social and political problems in Ex-Yugoslavia and their repercussion in Europe. He wrote scripts for a number of European productions, dealing with issues of migration, post-communist transition and identity. Among them was Hotel Europa (2000), a major project produced by Intercult, Stockholm.

Stefanovski has contributed papers to European conferences of IETM, Culture Action Europe, ResArtis, European Cultural Foundation and others.

Stefanovski is also a teacher of scriptwriting. In 1986 he founded the playwriting department at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Skopje where he was a full professor until 1998. In 1990 he spent six months as Outstanding Artist Fulbright Scholar at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Between 1998 and 2000 he was a visiting professor at the Dramatic Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, where his A Little Book of Traps, (a scriptwriting tool) was published in 2002. It has been translated and published in five languages, including Chinese.

In 2007 Stefanovski was awarded the Vilenica International Literary Prize, presented to an author from Central Europe for outstanding achievement in the field of literary creativity and essay writing.  In 2009 he received the Golden Award for lifetime achievement in playwriting by the International Theatre Festival Sterijino Pozorje in Novi Sad, Serbia.

He is now a free-lance writer and a senior lecturer at the Canterbury Christ Church University.  He also teaches on the graduate programme of the Faculty of Dramatic art in Skopje, Macedonia.

Title of lecture: 
The play ‘Figurae Veneris Historiae’

The play Figurae Veneris Historiae was written by commission by the Slovenian national Theatre in Ljubljana, where it is in repertory.

Ever since the early days of my puberty I’ve been fascinated by the book “Sitten Geschichte des Weltkrieges” (Sexual History of the First World War) by Magnus Hirschfeld, originally published in Berlin in 1931. It consists of two volumes full of disturbing  sketches, expressionist drawings, erotic pictures, posters and soldiers postcards.  

Magnus Hirschfeld (1858-1935) was a writer and a scientist who published more than 500 titles on various topics of sexuality, health, politics, morality and history of racism. In 1919, in the liberal atmosphere of Berlin during the Weimar Republic, Hirschfeld founded the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexual Science). The Institute had a vast library and archive, organized lectures and medical consultations. As a Jew who advocated progressive ideas, Hirschfeld was a frequent target of the Nazis. He was often attacked and severely injured. In 1928 he participated in the founding of the World League for Gender Reform. In 1930 Hirschfeld went on a long trip in the U.S. and around the world. In 1933, the Nazis destroyed the Institute for Sexual Science and the library. Hirschfeld was stripped of his German citizenship. He died in Nice, in 1935. 

Hirschfeld’s book was an inspiration for the play. Its theme is the impossibility of love in the political world. It shows war as human mass orgy, a bachannalia, political pornography.

The genre of the play is a tragic farce.  It is equally tragic and comic to watch humans trying to wake up from, what Joyce called, “the nightmare of history”.

The conference paper will show the development of the play from  “page to stage”, from the first idea to the first night.