About the performance
During the World War II theatre flourished with stagings of Molière, Shakespeare and Chekhov on the freed territory. Puppet theatre also found its place in cabaret programme ridiculing the enemy's faults. Jurček and Three Thieves, a play for marionette puppets in four acts was written at the time to celebrate the soon-to-be victory.
Partisan puppet theatre was not a lonely case of theatre propaganda in Europe. It shines a light on a piece of partisan art not that well known to a general public.
Colective Award for the actor colective of Mini teater in the perfoemance George and Three Thieves (Vesna Vončina, Tadej Pišek, Marko Ujc, Tines Špik and Marko Brdnik) at the 14th International Festival of Professional Theatres in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina); October 2015
Festivals and tours abroad
14th International Festival of Professional Theatres in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina); October 2015
Partisan Puppet Theatre
In 1944, at the initiative of the puppeteer and sculptor Lojze Lavrič, the Partisan Puppet Theatre was founded, which constituted a unique cultural phenomenon in the midst of the European War storm.
The first performance of the Partisan puppet theatre took place in the fire brigade station in Črmošnjice on New Year’s eve 1944. The experienced puppeteer Milenko Doberlet lent his helping hand, together with pupil Franci Divjak – Štef (who had performed with puppets already in Ribnica). Lojze Lavrič and Dušan Povh, the former only guiding the puppets, could also sometimes perform with marionettes. As reciters and singers Vito Globočnik and Alenka Gerlovič also collaborated in the first performance, and Janez Kuhar (member of SNT) played the accordion. Puppeteers authored the text themselves. They put together a variety show for adult audience encompassing seven short acts.
The history of the Partisan puppet theatre began on Goteniški Snežnik, at the printing post »11A« (latter-day »Triglav«), where they had sent Lojze Lavrič. Lojze was from a family of puppeteers , and had brought wood for the puppets from home. At the end of December 1943 the first to emerge out of the pieces of wood was courier Jurček. Soon Lojze took four more as yet unclothed puppets to the graphic studio in the valley of Stare Žage under Rog. Nikolaj Pirnat drew sketches for the heads of Hitler, SS-er, a fascist and a member of the White Guard (three thieves), a gymnast, a clown and Lili Marlen. It is here that Jurček / George got his name.
The scenography for the performance of Jurček / George And Three Thieves
The scenography was done by Alenka Gerlovič, and Tone Kmetec put together the makeshift stage. The curtains were made of the Allies' parachutes, while blue cloth was used as the stage background to which scenery elements cut out of drawing paper were pinned. The spinning wheel in the first act, the tree in the second, while the spruce and tent in the third and fourth acts were strenghtened through the use of cardboard. Lojze also made a small wooden table and two small chairs for the first act, and afallentree trunk in the third and fourth acts was replaced by a log.
Jurček / George
Agitprop of the Central Committee did not entirely endorse the text the puppet theatre’s variety show intended for »a wider audience«. Alenka Gerlovič therefore wrote a proper puppet play in fours acts for children. She took the title from the puppet verseplay Jurček and Three Thieves, which was staged in Novo Mesto before the war. She also directed the piece. Jurček was played by sculptor Milena Dolgan, Ive Šubic spoke the text of Jurček’s father, Minka Lipovc was the mother, Alenka Gerlovič was Franca, Fric Vito Globočnik was the member of the White Guard Franci Divjak – Štef, and Dušan Povh spoke the parts of Benitto and Pavliha. The Partisan mule did not make it into the very first performance, but she was brought into subsequent performances as an extra. In the last scene, in which the camp is liberated, Globočnik shot from a real automatic rifle. The breaks were long, because the change of scenery was time-consuming, with Janez Kuhar playing the accordion. Rehearsals took place in the priest’s quarters, and the premiere on the premises of the fire-brigade station in Črmošnjice in January 1945.