Iconographical research of theater is caught between two strongly counteractive tendencies. The first is an empirical pull to elucidate all evidence linking a pictorial document with its possible theatrical context, a centripetal movement to close the "representative gap." The second features theoretical questions that continually work to widen that gap, allowing for a plurality of referents. The author discusses alternatives in detail and examines how the dilemma caused by the counteractive tendencies can be overcome.
Presents maps and an extensive chronology of Bulgarian theater, concentrating on the 19th and 20th centuries. Includes information on historical and national events; plays and playwrights; companies, theaters and towns; and actors and directors.
States that the principle of a new professional theater was decided in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1956: the State Theater of Satire. Contends that the Theater of Satire represents the triumph of the imaginative intellect over worn-out, debased patterns of the comic tradition. Indicates that two major figures have contributed to the fame of the Theater of Satire in the years 1970-1980 with a complex, creative style of drama: Stanislav Stratiev and Yordan Radichkov. Reports that the grim, invigorating humor of Stratiev naturally qualifies him as a satirist, and he relishes paradoxical situations, debunks redeeming features in the most intricate or absurd structure, and pinpoints the absurdity lurking beneath the most trivial situation. Points out that Radichkov's plays provide a strange association of national memory, history, folk traditions, reality and modernity, all of them revisited by his powerful imagination. Includes notes and photographs of various dramatic productions.
States that the art of directing has undergone great changes in Bulgaria over the last 40 years. Indicates that new trends appeared in the 1960s with the Theater of Burgas, whose influence is felt to this day. Suggests that two generations are working alongside each other, and the younger directors are becoming more and more influential as the role of the director has gained increasing importance over the last few years, with the development of experimental theater and the techniques of collage. Profiles of several Bulgarian directors, including Leon Daniel, Vili Tzankov, Iulia Ognianova, Krikor Azarian, Margarita Mladenova and Ivan Dobchev, Alexander Morfov, Stefan Moskov, Zdravko Mitkov, and Boyko Bogdanov.
Traces the history of Bulgarian theater. Notes that from the end of the 14th century until independence in 1878, Bulgaria was a province of the Ottoman Empire. Indicates that Bulgarian theater as an indigenous art form and industry appeared relatively late: its history only extends back to the 1830s. Observes that from its earliest days, drama in Bulgaria has stood as a rebel art form, an element in cultural revival and significant in moves toward political independence.
Reports that Bulgarian radio drama first appeared in 1945, broadcasting live from the national studios. States that it naturally developed according to patterns governed by the political authorities. Notes that for contemporary productions of works from the early radio archives programming, the technique of recording adds an element of modernity badly needed to make them worth listening to in a new sociopolitical context. Contends that the effort deserves attention as it ensures the continuity of work and firmly establishes cultural roots in a recent and still fragile past. Indicates that the idea is to fill the blank spaces of national cultural development for the benefit of the younger generations, no matter what they may reveal about past attitudes and beliefs.
Traces the development of Bulgaria's Naroden Teater (National Theater) from its beginning in 1904. Notes that during the first half of the 20th century, the National Theater firmly established itself as the representative of Bulgarian theater, almost without any rivals in its field, becoming the reference as to rules and tastes in the choice of the repertoire. States that the company's initial years were characterized by efforts to combine the best influences of European standards, with the desire to create a specifically national identity. Contends that on the eve of its centenary, the National Theater has proved that it has the energy and the determination to welcome the new century, confident that it will fulfill the mission assigned to it by its founding fathers.
Presents a survey of modern Bulgarian playwrights. Notes that over the last 40 years, Bulgarian drama has displayed a remarkable variety, reflecting recent political changes. States that most playwrights write poetry as well as plays, which may account for the metaphorical quality of a great proportion of contemporary Bulgarian drama. Identifies the playwrights profiled as Valery Petrov, Nedyalko Yordanov, Stefan Tzanev, Ivan Radoev, Nikolai Haitov, Boyan Papazov, Margarit Minkov, Petar Marinkov, Kolio Georgiev, Petar Anastassov, and Ivan Golev.