Popovic, Aleksandar 1929-1996

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POPOVIC, Aleksandar 1929-1996


Born November 22, 1929, in Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia (now Serbia and Montenegro); died October 9, 1996; married, wife's name, Danica (divorced); children: four.


Playwright and author.


Sudbina jednog éarlija, Prosveta (Belgrade, Yugoslavia), 1964.

Nega mrtvaca i druge drame, Prosveta (Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), 1996.


Lyubinko i Desanka (title means "Ljubinco and Desanka"), produced in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1964.

Krmec i kas (title means "Piggy Trot"), produced in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1966.

Sablja Dimiskija (title means "The Damascus Sword"), produced in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1966.

Zarapa od sto petlji (title means "A Stocking of a Hundred Loops"; produced in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1967), Prosveta (Belgrade, Yugoslavia), 1967.

Razvojni put Bora Snajdera (title means "The Revolutionary Road of Bora the Tailor"; produced in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1967), Prosveta (Belgrade, Yugoslavia), 1967.

Kape dole (title means "Hat's Off"), produced in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, at Atelier 212, 1968.

Utva ptica zlatokrila (title means "The Gold-winged Duck"), produced in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1969.

Druga vrata levo, produced in New York, NY, as Second Door Left, 1970, translation by E. J. Czerwinski published as Second Door Left in Drama and Theater, winter, 1970.

Ljubi, ljubi, produced in Port Jefferson, NY, 1978, translation by E. J. Czerwinski published as Kiss, Kiss in Slavic and East European Arts, fall, 1983.

Mrescenje sarana (title means "The Spawning of Carps"; produced in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1986), Beogradski izdavacko-graficki zavod (Belgrade, Yugoslavia), 1986.

Bela kafa (title means "Coffee with Milk"; produced in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1992), Srpska knizevna zadruga (Belgrade, Yugoslavia), 1992.

Ruzicnjak (title means "The Rose Garden"), produced in Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1995.

éarlama, zbogom (title means "Farewell, Liars"), produced in Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1995.

Mrtva tacka (title means "The Dead Spot"), produced in Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1995.

Tamna je noc (title means "Dark Is the Night"), produced in New York, NY, 1995.

Also author of film scripts, teleplays, and television series, including Snovi, zivot, smrt Filipa Filipovica, 1980; Indijsko ogledalo, 1985; Namestena soba, 1966; Carapa od sto petlji, 1971; Svinjski otac, 1981; Nomestena soba, 1993; Na slovo, na slovo, 1963; Uspon i pad Zike Proje, 1976; and Mala Nada, 1988.


Razvojni put Bore Snajdera was adapted for television in 1972 and 1983.


Playwright Aleksandar Popovic is one of the most revered Serbian writers of his generation. Drawing on his early years as a writer in radio, Popovic reinvented the theater experience. While his unconventional style often left critics reeling, he is considered the literary voice of the Serbian experience. E. J. Czerwinski wrote in Dictionary of Literary Biography, "Popovic's gift lies in writing superb dialogue supported often by a mere wisp of a plot."

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Popovic went to work at age eighteen and took a series of odd jobs, none of which satisfied him. He often doubted himself, relying on the support of his wife, Danica, and their four children. Encouraged by his wife to pursue writing in the 1940s, he developed an obsession for it. He began by editing for local newspapers, but soon gave that up. In 1950, however, he returned to publishing with the newspaper Crveno jeste ("The Red Truth"). Its content angered communist authorities, who arrested Popovic frequently over the next five years. In 1955, weary of repeat prison terms, Popovic gave up on his newspaper career and found a job as a writer for radio. His youth-oriented work suited him. Popovic created characters and plots based upon the antics of his own children.

Popovic's radio background greatly influenced his playwriting in the 1960s. "There is not plot in the conventional sense, and action is more cerebral than graphic or visual," Czerwinski wrote. "His theater is for the ear and mind above all." Popovic's first stage play, Lyubinko i Desanka, could easily have been a radio broadcast. Based on the chance meeting of the title characters, this play possesses no character development and little plot. Rather, it involves two people who realize they have many common acquaintances. When they part at the end, there is no love, and their lives are virtually unchanged.

Popovic's unconventional style resonated with audiences. "He manages to capture moments from life, and like life, his plays sometimes trail off abruptly without apparent logic," Czerwinski stated. Popovic's writing, however, had little appeal outside Serbia. His subject matter—Serbs living in Belgrade—was limited, and his nuanced dialogue made translation difficult.

Disdaining stage-play structure and traditions, Popovic sought to entertain audiences by any means. He "radically reexamined the basic normative presuppositions of Aristotle's dramaturgy," noted a reviewer on the Serbian Unity Congress Web site, and "placed the language values at the forefront, which then intrusively take control over almost all dramatic expression." Petar Marjanovic, writing on the Project Rastko Web site, remarked that Popovic was a "radical connoisseur of life and mentality of his fellow citizens," and a writer who faced with "critical acuity" the "socialist social reality."



Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 181: South Slavic Writers since World War II, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.


Books Abroad, summer, 1969, E. J. Czerwinski, "Aleksander Popovic: Belgrade's Poet of the Streets," pp. 349-354.

Modern Drama, Number 15, 1971, Czerwinski, "Aleksander Popovic and Pop Theater: Beyond the Absurd," pp. 449-456.

Scena, Number 3, 1980, Mirjana Miocinovic, "Stage Action in the Plays of Aleksandar Popovic," pp. 199-212; Number 11, 1988, Radoslav Lazi, "Force and a Half," pp. 40-42.


Project Rastko Web site,http://www.rastko.org.yu/ (November 18, 2004), Petar Marjanovic, "The Twentieth-Century Serbian Playwrights."

Serbian Unity Congress Web site,http://www.suc.org/ (November 18, 2004).*