UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Play a tumour in the head and air pollution : a translation of Dušan Jovanović’s Igrajte tumor v glavi in onesnaženje zraka Soule, Lesley Wade


Play a Tumour in the Head and Air Pollution is a drama in three acts written by the Yugoslavian playwright and director Dušan Jovanović’s in 1971-1972. The original version is in Slovene, the language of Yugoslavia's northernmost province, Slovenia, where the dramatist (a Serb by birth) has lived since the age of twelve. Play a Tumour... was first produced in Gelje, Slovenia, by the well-known experimental director Ljubisar Ristic. Later it was also staged in Belgrade. The play was written to direct attention at what Jovanovic regards as the "mortality" at work in society, and uses theatrical performance itself as a metaphor for the structures of social and political life. The action centers on a revolt by the avant-garde members of the Slavia Theatre company, who eject the other actors, barricade themselves inside the theatre and carry on bizarre experiments aimed at overcoming the fatal banality of conventional theatre and everyday life. The play's outer action and inner psycho-political life are subtly interwoven. Although rich in stage action, the play focusses strongly on problems of the nature of language and thus presents interesting challenges to the translator. This translation is intended to provide the English-speaking reader with a significant, example of the concerns which engage a leading playwright in the cultural and political milieu of contemporary Slovenia. It is therefore a complete and faithful rendering of the original, rather than a free adaptation intended for staging before Western audiences. The play's first act takes place in a realistically presented newspaper office, where the lock-out at the Slavia Theatre is discussed and attempts are made to find out what is going on there. The second and third acts, set on the stage of the theatre itself, show the activities and experiments of the "rebels" and their interaction with two investigator a policeman and a journalist, sent in to discover what they are up to. The play's striking ending involves not only a metaphorical "crossing over into death" by the two investigators but also a confrontation of the audience with the basic mystery-problem of socio-theatrical reality.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.