Photo: Milica Czerny Urban

TENA ŠTIVIČIĆ

A TRIUMPH OF THE CROATIAN WRITER IN JAPAN

“A Japanese director found my drama in a bookstore in New York and brought it to the glorious stage in Tokyo.”

Tena Štivičić belongs to the most performed Croatian playwrights. She watched her dramas on stages across Europe, Canada, Turkey, Japan… Her drama “Three Winters”, staged in one of the oldest local theatres, the Shinanomachi Bungakuza Theatre in Tokyo, carried off the awards for best translation and best director recently bestowed in the Japanese theatre.

Known as a dedicated workaholic, Tena Štivičić used to live in London for more than fifteen years. She moved, together with her husband, a Scottish actor Douglas Henshall, to Glasgow recently. She found that London wasn’t a city for her three-year-old daughter to grow up in, and she wanted her child, even if in Glasgow, to speak Croatian as well as English.

She is currently writing a screenplay for the movie “Mum, dad and I” which shall be shot in Croatia, and she is also working on a drama commissioned by the Arcola Theatre in London. The story she writes for the London stage is happening in the world of ballet. Štivičić deals with the fall of a once powerful choreographer.

Not long ago the première of your “Three Winters” took place in Sweden and Japan. How did your drama get all the way to – Japan?

I was also very surprised that “Three Winters” were performed in Japan. Especially because this performance happened in the most beautiful way. Several years ago, a Japanese director Yuko Matsumoto came across the English version of my drama at Samuel French, a famous bookstore in New York specialized in dramatic literature. Yuko knew nothing about me or about that drama. She read a few sentences on the book cover and bought the drama. Once she had read the whole text, she decided to fight for putting “Three Winters” on stage of the theatre she has worked at. This really happens rarely, because it is an accidental and sincere merging of the three worlds. She, from Japan, at a bookstore in New York, finds a drama about Zagreb and recognizes in it something that inspires, excites and provokes her.

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