FRANCESCA

 

Characters 3 male, 3 female
First production National Theatre Ivan Vazov, 2002
Directed by Margarita Mladenova

National Theatre "Ivan Vazov", Sofia, 2002, Directed by Margarita Mladenova
Tatyana Lolova and Krasimir Dokov

The action takes place in a small Bulgarian village at the beginning of the 21st century. The characters are an elderly woman, a young woman owner of a tavern-general store, a politician, a journalist, a mafia boss, a slow-witted former sportsman. The mafia boss has bought some land in the village on which he plans to build. For this he needs one more plot. Granny Bonka refuses to it to him. After a serious incident during a storm she has gained clairvoyant abilities. In the presence of the other four characters involved that circumstance has brought together in this tavern and due to emotional stress in her conscience emerge images of long-gone relatives of theirs. Revealed are unpleasant truths and lies, betrayals, murders, as well as events from the not too distant past. The dead mercilessly put straight the seemingly comfortable illusions of the living. From centuries ago appears the image of young woman Francesca, born in a foreign country and travelled to this land in pursuit of a murdered relative of hers, a catholic missionary. The area had been gripped by the plague in those days and the simple-mindedness of the local villagers led them to believe that Francesca was the plague itself, having treacherously taken the form of a beautiful girl. In uncontrollable frenzy they burn the girl in a barn. Among the unpleasant truths spoken aloud by Granny Bonka are details of how the present mafia character deals in drugs. Before leaving the tavern we hear him order the immediate murder of the elderly woman. The hit man is found in the face of the slow witted former sportsman.

  • The play is translated into English and Russian.

 

National Theatre "Ivan Vazov", Sofia, 2002 / Directed by Margarita Mladenova
Tatyana Lolova

Francesca by Konstantin Iliev can be read as one of the most merciless Bulgarian texts. It is so because he refuses to use the well known sweeteners: the idealised and elevated mode of history. With withering directness questions are asked about the circumstances making that type of social conditions exist in past and future times.

Georgy Kapriev, A Space For Closing Time In, Kultura newspaper, 17. 05. 2002

 

It is as if in Francesca Konstantin Iliev returns to the dramaturgical model of mono-drama. And from this point of view all but Granny Bonka seem useless. I say seem because actually it is the dialogue with them that creates the plot in Francesca. Being the double of the people in the visions the plot line develops double meaning, in which an examination is made of how history has moved through the lives of people in our country to simply crash in misery and small-mindedness, which block any and all possibilities of true change. The attempts at modernizing society fail and drag it deeper into primitivism, making a splash in the puddles of insignificance. The struggle for power is not a struggle for utopias, for the achievement of ideal constructs the symbolic level in it is always a simple imitation. It is only a struggle for a pair of boots. The pair of boots of a former mayor.

Violeta Decheva, Francesca And The Pair Of Boots, Kultura newspaper, 07. 06. 2002

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