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Studs Terkel discusses the global status of theater with Croatian director Vlado Habunek

BROADCAST: Apr. 25, 1962 | DURATION: 00:34:56


Vlado Habunek, the Director of The Croatian National Theater, also a teacher at the University of Zagreb and board member for the Debrovnik Summer Festival discusses how all arts are seeking new revelations with Studs Terkel. Terkel asks Habunek to compare American Actors with Croatian actors because they are subsidized by the state. He sees Croatian actors as too secure and admires the ambition of American actors. The fact that theater reflects life and life is difficult begins a discussion on the status of theater today. Habunek, reveals his dissatisfaction with the playwright's ability to find new form to express the world and sees it as not good enough. Eugene Ionesco with "The Bald Prima Donna" appeared to be inclined to show revelations but "Rhinoceros" showed nothing new. He said it all in Prima Donna. Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" was also an enormous event but Habunek still sees Shakespeare as the person to turn to for depth. Edward Albee's "Zoo Story" is realistic but it is short unlike Eugene O'Neil'ls "Long Days Journey Into Night". Habunek is still looking for a playwright that captures the time we live in.


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Studs Terkel Mr. Vlado Habunek is the director of the Croatian National Theatre and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, and immediately the phrase Croatian National Theatre raises a number of questions. We think of Yugoslavia, the different regions of it, areas, different cultures that comprise Yugoslavia today. The Croatian National Theatre this mean, it is, is it subsidized by the state?

Vlado Habunek By the state, like all our theaters are. There are no private theaters, so this is just like all the others only it's more important because there are some, some smaller ones, and the national in every place is supposed to be the most important.

Studs Terkel What does this do for the question, an actor asks the question, what does this do for the actor? The actor himself, does he receive an annual wage?

Vlado Habunek No. I mean, the actors are paid by, I mean monthly. Every month or regularly whether they act, I mean the play or not. Whether they are good or bad, you know. I mean it's slightly too, too secure. I think

Studs Terkel Mr. Habunek, would you please. This is an interesting point. Starting when you're making it, American actors think oh boy, if we had a regular income, the things we could do. You know, and they think of the lack of tenure. When a play closes, you knock on the door again. No matter how established you might be, you begin all over again. This is not so, you'd use the phrase, a bit too secure.

Vlado Habunek But you know, I'm not an actor and a director, and I think you can get much better results if you have actors who who are not so terribly secure. Then they work better. You know, they are much more ambitious. Real life kind of is harder, you know? So they really must be very good. And with us it's not so terrible, I mean they're fortunate. There is always the personal ambition, you know, we want to be better than the others. Especially then you're kind of, you're rivals. But then if you are sure that I'm seeing something that's completely personal, you know, I think that the way your actors live is really slightly too hard. I mean, it's sometimes it's almost terrible, you know. But, I mean, as a director I would like to work with people.

Studs Terkel Yes, you have the standpoint of a director. And yet you feel that your actors, the actors of your national theatre are a bit too soft, a bit too secure, you say? Isn't there another challenge? Isn't there the challenge of the artist himself of the work?

Vlado Habunek Yes of course. I mean, there is I mean. I said, you know, two minutes ago. I mean there is this personal kind of ambition. You want to be good, you know, but I think that in a way that's, I mean, it's completely my personal opinion that the theatre has to be difficult. Really, I mean, you really must fight. Maybe, I mean, if you fight too much then one day you are tired and then you are sometimes, you're out. And it's unfair because there are people who are extremely good and I just thought because maybe they are not at one moment strong enough, you know? But I think that does give very good results.

Studs Terkel Theatre must be difficult because life is difficult, perhaps? And theatre reflects in a sense?

Vlado Habunek Well, probably. I don't suppose that artists who live kind of-well no, I don't want to to suggest that. I mean, we are so terribly kind of, we make so much money or things like that you know? Nobody does make much money. But, I mean you really, I mean once you are in the theatre, you're practically sure that unless you do something awful, and unless you're really very bad, you just stay at the same place.

Studs Terkel There is security, you mean, you feel perhaps, a little too much security for the actor?

Vlado Habunek As I told you--

Studs Terkel Yes, again as

Vlado Habunek That's my personal opinion, you know? I don't suppose that the actors, our actors especially, will agree with me. I mean, I think that there is the minimum that, I mean that's the [unintelligible]. I mean, you know, to kind of have more than they

Studs Terkel We have the, your, your theater, the theatre of which you are the director, this is in, in Zagreb?

Vlado Habunek Yes. I mean really, I'm teaching at the University of Zagreb, that's my regular job, and I direct only when when they offer me something that I love. I mean, I direct only plays that, I must have the feeling, that I mean, I must be in love with the place or the magic, be kind of a special reason.

Studs Terkel What other plays would you have this feeling?

Vlado Habunek Well, I mean, maybe it's kind of difficult to answer because I've done so many things, that one moment is--

Studs Terkel [unintelligible] I thought perhaps there was one kind of play. Whether it was avant-garde, or whether it was a classic, in which, or traditional play, O'Neill--

Vlado Habunek Well, I haven't done any O'Neill myself, I mean. But anyhow, maybe I'm kind of, maybe, slightly special. Well, you know, we would like really to find something. I mean, like you, you know, it's everywhere. I mean, people are searching for something. So, I mean if you are just asking what makes some people are searching in just one field, let's say just the newest plays. I tried to find some doing many different things. Drummers, opera, more than classic, and I hope maybe to find some kind of style out of all--

Studs Terkel You're looking then, as I understand Mr. Habunek, you yourself, at this moment, are dissatisfied, are not fully satisfied with the nature of theatre today.

Vlado Habunek Oh very dissatisfied, yes. I'm kind of discouraged

Studs Terkel Why?

Vlado Habunek Well, because first of all, there are so many good actors everywhere. You have [hand clap], I mean, so many good actors. When you go to England, you find so many good actors. In France they have so good, so good and we have quite a, I mean, considerate number of good actors. And there are some good directors in the world. Very good set design is practical-you have everything and you really have no plays. I mean, plays that really would be kind of worthwhile, whatever. I mean, playwrights, they, they know it. They've known it for so many years. And when something really, I mean new, comes out, I mean new that's supposed to be new, I mean looks like avant-garde. I mean then suddenly, it's not avant-garde. I mean and especially it's not absurd. I mean, when you hear you talk so much about The Theatre of the Absurd, you know. And then there will be people like Albee connected with it

Studs Terkel What's your feeling

Vlado Habunek If I know anything, I mean, I don't find anything absurd in Albee. I think it's just good realistic theatre.

Studs Terkel Perhaps we should break down this phrase, a Theatre of the Absurd, and you feel, why you feel, Albee does not fall in this category? Theater of the Absurd, the phrase we hear used a lot today, specifically what is its reference? Men see the world as an absurdity. The world itself in that comment and their way

Vlado Habunek -- I suppose so, yes. And they tried to find a new form to express it. But, whatever I mean, I've seen until now in this field, I mean, either here or in England, or in France. I just don't, I mean, I would call it absurd when it simply is not good enough. At the moment that it is good, then it ceases to be absurd, and it becomes kind of realistic theatre that truly has not given a new form.

Studs Terkel You brought Ionesco, didn't you? You introduced Eugène Ionesco to Yugoslavia, to

Vlado Habunek Yes yes, years and years ago.

Studs Terkel And what's your feeling about--

Vlado Habunek Well at that time, at that time maybe that was a great help. Because, I mean, so many things open with him and now it's kind of finished, you know?. For instance, how would you pronounce it in English?

Studs Terkel Rhinoceros.

Vlado Habunek Rhinoceros. Well that's again just the play that I can see the good, but I mean there is nothing so terribly new in it. It's just one of the good plays.

Studs Terkel What about Beckett, Waiting for Godot?

Vlado Habunek Oh well, that again, when they are waiting for Godot. I mean, happened, and it was an enormous event. And we all lived on that after all. I mean, I've discovered that you'll just live as much on, on Ionesco and Beckett as we do with [Havel?]. I mean everybody does now. When there was somebody, a new playwright, to write something you can find love bigger than the love of Ionesco. But what they are doing now, I don't think they are going much further than what they have said that with the first playwright. I think that Ionesco has said practically everything with The Bald Prima Donna. I don't, I admire him very much and, I mean, I have a very high opinion of him, but I don't think that after The Bald Prima Donna there has been a kind of revelation.

Studs Terkel There's been no, you used the word just now, revelation.

Vlado Habunek Well then that's what I'm looking for--

Studs Terkel You

Vlado Habunek I'd like to find it somewhere, I Thus far you have

Studs Terkel hope. Thus far you have found in your tour through America you visited off Broadway

Vlado Habunek Yes, a lot--

Studs Terkel And tributary theaters and you have found the same, sameness?

Vlado Habunek I couldn't call anything a revelation. I mean connection would be, wouldn't be a revelation to me or The Apple--

Studs Terkel Are the two Jack Gelber plays you're talking about?

Vlado Habunek Yes, I don't, I wouldn't call exactly poor, they had a revelation although I would call it an extremely interesting and thrilling production.

Studs Terkel For those who may not be hip to what Mr. Habunek is talking about, there's several off Broadway plays which he's referring. And Poor Dad, Poor Ma, it's a very long title. A new play by a young playwright has been hailed as innovative too. When Mr. Habunek didn't view this, you say revelation. What then is it, this may be difficult, I know, for you to put into words, what is it in our time in those mid 20th century, from a playwright who may or may not be writing right now, or perhaps in some distant place maybe writing - What is the revelation? A kind of revelation?

Vlado Habunek Well that of course I couldn't tell. I mean I wait for them to have to tell me. Anyhow, we are all at home. I mean I feel that we are, all my young colleagues for instance, they are all trying to do really the newest plays and they all try their own ways. I mean nobody is satisfied with anything that has been done until now. I know that, I mean, you just want to be original. It's not that but we all feel that, I mean, that life is changing so much. That something essential we, we somehow feel that something essential has happened and it has not yet been expressed because whatever playwright express there, I mean we've known it. So, I don't know, maybe we are wrong. Maybe we just, it's not yet ripe or maybe we are just the same. It's not true that things have changed but we have the feeling that they have. And I think it's silly. I mean, we all the directors that try to find new forms in them, you can't find a new form unless there is a new kind of life in the play

Studs Terkel 'Course, Mr. Habunek, what you're saying. I'm smiling as you're saying this because I know this is so here too. The same, this groping, and is it, maybe are we becoming slave to form? I'm asking this now. Is it in seeking new forms, the young playwrights forms for forms sake And

Vlado Habunek

Studs Terkel and-- Yes. And new forms or newness for newness sake, missing something else, whatever it is? The historical event that is upon us without our being aware of it? That has changing our whole way of life in the world today?

Vlado Habunek Well, I could not have--

Studs Terkel It cannot be. Should it be a, we don't know, a social kind of play as in the 30s. Or is that passé? We didn't-I'm just wondering where this new approach, this revelation will come from.

Vlado Habunek Yes, so am I,

Studs Terkel Yea, I know you are more than that because you're more deeply involved as as a practitioner.

Vlado Habunek You know, because it's so, it's in a way, it's sad, you know. When you really want to be happy as a director you have to go to Shakespeare or to somebody like that. I mean, Shakespeare is wonderful, but after all isn't that slightly terrible that we must rely so much on Shakespeare if we want to find real depth? I mean a complete life, you know. Because even, I mean, those new plays that are extremely good, like The Zoo Story, for instance, they are not only that they are realistic plays, just I mean that they express something that relates is happening now. But, I mean, belongs to the usual kind of life, you know, that we see everyday. But those plays are very short. They are not really big plays. I mean they are all one act or a little longer but still, I mean, I mean they're not really big like O'Neill. Really plays that would really be kind of well constructed big plays with all that depth [hand clap] and all that kind of new--

Studs Terkel So, in Shakespeare the revelation, not just a revelation of the genius himself, and the looking back to a 16th-century man for today, more and that revelation on form and everything--

Vlado Habunek And I absolutely, I think, I mean I'm not, I mean everybody thinks more or less same that we are living more or less the same kind of. More or less the same period with so many things that are happening, so we must have somebody, some type

Studs Terkel You mean, our period is just as revolutionary as the Elizabethan

Vlado Habunek I just think that our period is so terribly thrilling. I mean, it's so rich. It's so absolutely, I mean, so many things happen every day that I mean there must be some kind of Shakespeare somewhere. And then the moment, I mean, the Shakespeare would happen, then the form would be here and the director would find it kind of, automatically--

Studs Terkel He captured the bigness of his time, the throb of his day. And no one yet, do you feel, has captured of our day. Piddlings--

Vlado Habunek And our people, they just, they catch a kind of little atmosphere of one thing. It's always, or it's each time it's one little facet, they never realize it as a as a whole.

Studs Terkel I hadn't realized till you pointed out the fact that all the avant-garde plays, so-called, after they are short one act-ers, no Rhinoceros is a--

Vlado Habunek Well, but that's not anymore. I mean nobody would consider that as an avant-garde--

Studs Terkel No. No more, it's no more avant-garde--

Vlado Habunek No, nobody, no. No I don't suppose even, even Ionesco. He would be, I mean, he is very angry. I mean, I talk to him and I know that he doesn't like very much the term of avant-garde. I mean we use it because there are so-I mean we just don't know how to do to express

Studs Terkel You find a label and that's it for the moment. The label that's used--

Vlado Habunek Yeah, but it doesn't mean anything. Anyhow, I mean, the last year, Ionesco has nothing to do with avant-garde.

Studs Terkel 'Course this problem that you're offering, and the stating problem of the seeking, the groping, was stated just the other day by an art critic too-Franz Schulze, of the art critic of a local newspaper, in the field of the graphic arts. The same problem, I've heard you there too. There's a groping that seems to be a groping, the the so-called avant-gardists. The New York School of artists. Even they have come, he feels to a sort of dead end. And there's a waiting-he too is looking there, too.

Vlado Habunek That's the same situation with us at home. I mean, the painting and the music too. Just the same, I mean. So, I mean, I think that we probably have just to be very patient and to try to do our best and wait. Try to find new, maybe, new songs and new new colors, I don't know. I mean, that's some kind of-that's not really essential to have the instruments, maybe to be ready when there there are new plays for instance in the field.

Studs Terkel Looking for the playwright who would be like Shakespeare, not a Shakespeare, but someone who captured a time in which he lived, as thrillingly--

Vlado Habunek Because now, since we are lacking, I mean, we don't, I mean, we have not such a [pro?]. When I think about people at home at the National, and I mean all our theaters, they are all kind of now relying on on the Commedia dell'arte that try to improvise, to try to kind of just play with with the form, you know? To try to to keep artists very active very

Studs Terkel Supple.

Vlado Habunek Yes, supple.

Studs Terkel There's a great deal of a improvisatory theatre that exercises

Vlado Habunek Especially the younger ones do. I mean, that would be their-probably their essential love, maybe without. I mean, they don't know it. I mean, they're not, I mean, not knowing what to do they do that probably. They're probably following a very kind of a good instinct--

Studs Terkel A good instinct for lack of, for lack of the play in which they can throw all

Vlado Habunek Yes, I--

Studs Terkel The actors themselves. The- any particular technique you use? School as director of the Croatian National Theatre?

Vlado Habunek Well, it would be difficult. I don't know how to explain, we use everything. I mean, we would use the method and I know that not exclusively. I mean, I'm not a partisan of it. I mean, I don't think that anything that's really exclusive can be, I mean, theatre is far too too too big. I mean you just can't use one.

Studs Terkel So the individual, the individual--

Vlado Habunek In every play. I mean, every play. I mean, really requires a different approach and a different kind of method and I don't know how to express

Studs Terkel No, you are very well. But, every every play a different method. This again from the from the meaning of the play will come the technique itself.

Vlado Habunek Yes, I think so.

Studs Terkel Are there, of course you have half answered-I was about to ask you, throughout you've been answering, new Yugoslavian playwrights who you feel have things to say about

Vlado Habunek Well it's about the same as here, you know? Only I would say that the results, until now, when I mean, they are not going so definitely towards the kind of realistic-I mean, for instance a young playwright who would be, if I if I didn't take Albee as one of your leading new playwrights and if I think of one of ours maybe, I mean the comparison is not good. But, anyhow somebody who is quite kind of well-known that's in Zagreb, who is considered as really promising with some results, alright. But the result is much less realistic. So, maybe you are further, maybe we are further. I don't know who is really--

Studs Terkel But whose result is much less realistic?

Vlado Habunek Ours.

Studs Terkel Yours is much-yours is more avant-garde

Vlado Habunek Really, it would really-It has to be more stylized, you know. Definitely. I mean, because, The Zoo Story, you just have to behave naturally. And it makes sense and it's beautiful as it is and our plays would really require much more kind of--

Studs Terkel Well this is a rather interesting comment for you to make from Yugoslavia. We think of Yugoslavia as a socialist country. Yugoslavia this rather interesting. The thing is--

Vlado Habunek Well, we are experimenting so much--

Studs Terkel Experimenting, and yet it's not social realism that's in vogue, it's stylized--

Vlado Habunek It was in vogue long enough, wasn't it? I suppose, then again, I mean it has its point too. I mean, there are quite good things in it, but then again it's one thing, you know, and as we said, I mean, the theatre is too big so you can't use that. I mean, it's all right for the, for the plays of a certain period. And you just have to be the kind of place that had,I mean, they had to-the theater had to play a certain part. You know, so he did it. It was the way, I mean, that it had to be done. Now, I mean, we can't use it anymore.

Studs Terkel Is there free play? This is the question I'm asking as a matter of rote by now-is that is there free play as far as the playwrights are concerned? And experimentation and form and everything, there is no inhibition-there is no governmental inhibition upon them?

Vlado Habunek The government, I mean the government, I suppose, I mean, wants us to experiment. Because I mean, everybody does, I mean that's so kind of obvious, you know? That if the government didn't want us, maybe they would try to stop it. I mean, that wouldn't be. I mean, all the all the shows are, I mean, you wouldn't find in all the shows abstract painting of different kind of-going into different directions. You wouldn't find so much more than music. I mean, electronic or or for instance we have just instituted now a new biennale of modern music in Zagreb last year, and the very kind of latest. Well I don't know how, maybe doesn't lead anywhere, but, that's what everybody did and that's what was kind of extremely pressured you know. So, the government didn't want it that probably wouldn't give it all that money--

Studs Terkel And thus we have this groping in all the arts. In theatre, the seeking stylize-this new form of and so to

Vlado Habunek Definitely the same everywhere. Maybe you don't see it so mu- you are of course you find it very, very, I mean, it's obvious in poetry. Maybe it's not so obvious in in in, I mean, the usual literature. I mean, in the novels. Because in the novels, you know, I mean, the majority of the writers write kind of, I don't know what you would call that style, I suppose legitimate would be

Studs Terkel And yet we-there's another big trend- That's something called the anti-novel? Particularly in France, isn't there? The new wave of novelists who are getting away from

Vlado Habunek I don't think we are very strong in that yet. I mean maybe I don't know it so well, I'm not- I mean that's a question, I mean, an answer that, you

Studs Terkel But, in the fields of the performing arts you see

Vlado Habunek it-- Very

Studs Terkel And the dramatic arts--

Vlado Habunek Yes, very

Studs Terkel A question about audiences here in America. The audience that attends theatre is a minority audience. There's television, there's the film. Off Broadway has people who- less less admission, as a result the expense account people who attend Broadway theatre don't attend Off Broadway. Those who can't afford Broad- interested [unintelligible]. Still it's a minority audience. How is it in Yugoslavia?

Vlado Habunek Well I don't know whether it's, maybe it's more or less the same, you know, for different reasons. Because, I mean, let's say that in the National Theatre in Zagreb. The National has a small stage we call a kind of chamber theatre, I mean, the studio, whatever you would call it. And there we do the-all that kind of experimenting. And on the big stage, they wouldn't of course go so far. But, it's not that that- I'm not so sure. I think the public would come just the same. Only, I mean, on on to all those big stages, they kind of do much more. They would rather do the Long Day's Journey into the Night than The Apple. You know, The Apple would have to be done in a studio or in the

Studs Terkel The Apple is again to explain, The Apple, very experimental- Long Day's Journey of O'Neill, traditional theatre.

Vlado Habunek Yeah. But that's maybe because maybe the people who are heading those big theatres, maybe they are too shy or something. I personally believe that if a play is interesting, if it has some kind of value and if it's well done then the public always comes, you know? And with us, it's not so much a matter of money because the theaters are not- they don't need to make immediately, so much money, I mean anyhow--

Studs Terkel Not to worry about big box office success.

Vlado Habunek Not at

Studs Terkel So, a play need not make money to run along time.

Vlado Habunek I mean, we of course, everybody is happier. First of all, it's much nicer to have a lot of people in in in your theatre than to play to empty--

Studs Terkel The answer to which I'm seeking, is the public itself. Any play, flesh and blood theatre- what portion of say of a Zagreb audience attends theatre? In contrast to those attending films or watching television or if it's come into effect there. See, here I say it's a minority audience that attends flesh and blood theatre, no matter what we say. It's a minority audience.

Vlado Habunek Well, I suppose that then with us, I mean, if you compare cinemas and the theatres then of course the cinemas have much more, I mean. There there there is no doubt, I mean, there there is- I don't know how many I couldn't give you the statistics. But then, I mean, if we compare the two, not so much television yet. We do it, I mean, but not in [such?]-.

Studs Terkel No, I was wondering what extent- I was wondering to what extent the broad population of Yugoslavia, of Croatia, of Zagreb, is conversant with theatre? Whether it be traditional or about- just traditional theatre. That's what I meant. Has it reached- has the theatre, the National Theatre, and other theatre groups and other cities, reached a great many? Here we have not. That's my point.

Vlado Habunek Yes. Well I think that we maybe, I mean relatively, we probably have more than you because, I mean, first of all it's completely inexpensive. So, I mean, the the the the, the price of the tickets is not an obstacle practically never. Only, I mean, if a very kind of famous, expensive, foreign company comes and plays, or a big opera star- Del Monaco, somebody. I mean, one of those big names. I mean a tenor or, then the prices would be sometimes prohibitive, almost. I mean, the theaters are full, but still. I mean and it's- but usually, whatever we do, I mean, the price is not an obstacle. Practically, I mean, anybody can. And And it's only a question of- it's never a question of money. It's only a question of finding the- of maybe attracting the public with the right kind of plays. And the plays, I know, it's not necessarily a kind of a low commercial play. You just have to be the right, or the atmosphere of the theater has to be the right one for the public to come in. So, there are moments, when for instance, one theater in Zagreb is playing every night. I mean, the whole year to to really packed houses, and then something changes in the in the direction, you know. Maybe the the choice of plays is less good or something. The public doesn't like so much the atmosphere, and then they don't go so much to that theatre. You know, that would be, maybe

Studs Terkel But aside from that, what play, for instance, is played to packed houses? What kind of play would would play to packed houses?

Vlado Habunek I'm terribly stupid. Now, I can't think of--

Studs Terkel A musical? Would it be a musical, comedy, or dramatic play?

Vlado Habunek Well, we don't do much musical. In fact, the only one, I mean, I did it in Zagreb, Kiss Me, Kate, and in fact it's still on. And of course packed each time, well, we don't do it, you know. I mean, we have a different system- really have repertory. You know, so we would do Kiss Me, Kate two times a week. And it's been on now for almost two years and it's still packed. So, of course I mean Kiss Me, Kate would certainly attract much more than than than the Long Day's Journey into Night. But, still, you know, we play for instance for the students, and then we would play for the workers of one factory, then for another institution. So, I mean, I really couldn't tell you how exactly it was, but we play too organized kind of--

Studs Terkel Play to organize- you play to workers of a factory, you say. They attend flesh and blood, serious theatre.

Vlado Habunek Yes. Oh yes.

Studs Terkel Are there tributary theaters? Now, it's the theatre of Zagreb we're talking. Are- What's the statuses of smaller and smaller areas as if- they have flesh and blood theatre too?

Vlado Habunek Yes, everywhere. I mean, it's more. We have almost, I mean, too many, you know? And sometimes, you know, for instance the problem is much more kind of obvious in the opera field because we have, you know, Yugoslavia as a very small country and we have, I think 12 regular opera companies with everything. I mean, ballet, chorus, orchestra--

Studs Terkel You have 12 opera companies in Yugoslavia?

Vlado Habunek Yes, 12 or 13. I can't tell, let's say 12--

Studs Terkel Nationally subsidized?

Vlado Habunek Nationally subsidized--

Studs Terkel And there 12- what's the population of Yugoslavia, roughly?

Vlado Habunek 14- 16 million--

Studs Terkel 16 million, yet has 12 national- year year round?.

Vlado Habunek Yes. I mean, except in July and August when its still hot, you know. So, you can imagine the burden. I mean, the stage really has to play. I mean, and of course they are not all so good and sometimes we think it would be better to have a three really first class. But then nobody wants to give give it up you know?

Studs Terkel How many subsidized theaters are there? A great many of those I suppose--

Vlado Habunek I mean, they're

Studs Terkel They're all, but--

Vlado Habunek They're subsidized either by the state or by the by the city.

Studs Terkel So, some of the smaller towns have their own theatres to, and actors--

Vlado Habunek I mean, they're all--

Studs Terkel Is there one playwright that is most popular? I suppose Shakespeare- is it Shakespeare?

Vlado Habunek Well, it certainly would be the most popular--

Studs Terkel I thought aside, from aside from him, is there another kind of the Amer- O'Neill, and the Miller, and Tennessee Williams play?

Vlado Habunek Well, yes certainly Tennessee Williams would be- I mean he's some kind of great fashion all over the world, you know. So, when we when we talk about American theatre, I suppose Tennessee Williams would be the first one to come into a discussion, and Miller of course.

Studs Terkel But for you, Vlado Habunek, you are, I say, you are seeking that new content, form, new kind of play, that can express the time in which--

Vlado Habunek I admire very much Tennessee Williams, I mean, all your great playwrights, but then that's a little different.

Studs Terkel What you're looking though, because you- then your tendency- your own tendency is that seeking of the--

Vlado Habunek Yes, I don't think it's my own. Well, I suppose that everybody behaves more or less been the same here too. I mean, when I talk to people everybody, I mean, says in with different words exactly the same. Artists, especially--

Studs Terkel Well, is there perhaps a last question? Oh, I should ask you about that Dubrovnik Summer Festival! Festivals are big all over the world today. There's a Seattle Fair, Vancouver, the festivals all over Europe, and the Stratford Festival. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival that includes what? Theatre--

Vlado Habunek Everything--

Studs Terkel and arts--

Vlado Habunek Everything, that's. I personally think it's kind of wrong because a festival ought to have a special kind of- or to specialize in something. And what's kind of wrong with us is the Dubrovnik is such a good place, you know, for the festival--

Studs Terkel Is this a port? Is this on the sea?

Vlado Habunek Yes, it's you know, the Dalmatian Coast and it's a very really beautiful place. And you know the climate is good, too. So, that possibl- of course we do everything, I mean, in the open air. I mean, nothing is in the playhouses. So, I mean you- we can have concerts in front of churches, in courtyards, plays on terraces of different fortresses, you know. And, I mean, so many that we can't resist, you know? We think, I mean, this opera would look so nice [hand clap] in this place. So, we do it, you know? And so we do maybe too many different things. I personally think we ought to kind of specialize in chamber music. But, anyhow it's getting more and more popular and we just can't stop it and we--

Studs Terkel I suppose this is a good sign, is it not? The sign of the hunger I suppose. Another form of hunger of people for seeing artists and learning. And back to that question- the last one is, How would you explain, or is that explanation, the reason for this pause? For this lack of this kind of theatre? This new theatre that would express our times today. Every time has found its playwright, hasn't it? Thus far in history or isn't that so--

Vlado Habunek It's true that a time does know when they really have this person. So maybe we don't you see ours. Or maybe that's what's happening. Maybe we are too impatient. Maybe we know too much. Because usually, I mean, in the, I mean, the past people didn't know so much about the- they didn't know so much about the historical situation, you know? We really know too much and we can't be so patient and we just go too far, probably.

Studs Terkel That's an interesting point. Like, in different times when there was less available, less fact available--

Vlado Habunek You know exactly what was, I mean exactly- we know so we-I mean- we think that we know well what was happening, I mean, in Shakespeare's time or in the, I mean, and time of [scholars?], you know? And so, I mean, knowing so much we try to- and today you know we know what's happening in London, we know what's happening in Paris, we know not so well what's happening here because I'm going from one surprise to another. I'm discovering so many more than thrilling things in this country that we- that I couldn't even dream, I mean, that they existed.

Studs Terkel What are the surprises?

Vlado Habunek Well, I mean, all kinds of different things, you know? Different people, I mean, such a generosity and, I mean, desire of doing things you know. I mean, really, I I that would be a very long discussion if we started talking about that. I only wanted to say that without knowing it well, we know I mean I knew before coming to to the states, I knew more or less what your theatre was. You know, and before I mean, it was not like that. So, knowing all that, you know, we try to put all those facts together and to, kind of, make some kind of conclusions. And we just- feeling that the conclusions are not satisfactory--

Studs Terkel Yes, 'cause there are so many strings- there are so many facets that really call for a titan to encompass all these into the play. So, this is the guy or the group or the people the artist we're looking for and all these feels. As you say our perspective we are here now at this moment and perhaps it may be upon us without realizing it too. Vlado Habunek, this has been, to me, a stimulating conversation--

Vlado Habunek Very kind--

Studs Terkel And, any- anything that you've wanted to say you haven't had a chance to say here? Anything that comes to your mind?

Vlado Habunek Well, I really can't think of anything special. I mean, that could go on for very long, I feel.

Studs Terkel We'll let this go for now. We call this visit number one. Vlado Habunek, Director of the Croatian National Theatre. Also Artistic Director of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival--

Vlado Habunek Ex Artistic Director- I'm on the board now--

Studs Terkel Oh, you're on the board now. Thank you very much, Mr. Habunek.

Vlado Habunek Thank you.