Conrad’s Artistic Returns: Perspectives on a Bulgarian Debut in Staging Heart of Darkness

Margreta Grigorova,

Petya Tsoneva


Since 1989 (the fall of Communism) the performing arts in Bulgaria have suffered a long process of transition dominated by a certain dialectic tension between the necessity to meet economic needs and the desire to open new venues for dramatic art. Against this background and contributing its own perceptive “reading” of Heart of Darkness to Conrad’s Bulgarian reception, on the eve of the vigorous celebration of his 160th anniversary in 2017, stage director Valeria Valcheva’s theatrical adaptation represents a remarkable debut rendition of Conrad’s fiction. The aim of this article is to explore how her idiosyncratic, creative, poetically recognizable approach lends a new form to Conrad’s recurrent relocation in modern and contemporary Bulgarian art.

* The present article complements, expands and rethinks the authors’ latest study of the Bulgarian dramatization of Heart of Darkness, published in Bulgarian in Proglas journal, aiming to contribute to the discussions of Conrad’s reception in a wider academic space. See Margreta Grigorova and Petya Tsoneva, “ ‘Sartseto na mraka’—idei i resheniya na parvata balgarska postanovka” [Heart of Darkness on the Bulgarian Stage: Creative Perspectives and Techniques], Proglas 28, no. 1 (2019), pp. 35-46.

Słowa kluczowe: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Valeria Valcheva, performing arts, theatrical reception, theatrical translation, experimental theatre

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