Translation from the Russian by Milan Đoković
Directed by Paolo Magelli
Dramaturgy by Željka Udovičić Pleština
Stage design by Lorenzo Banci
Costume design by Marita Ćopo
Music by Ljupčo Konstantinov
Lighting design by Zdravko Stolnik
Direction assistance by Tamara Damjanović
Stage design assistance by Nina Silobrčić
Photography by Marko Fortunatović Ercegović


BESSEMENOV, VASILY VASILYEVICH, a well-to-do petty bourgeois: Boris Svrtan
AKULINA IVANOVNA, his wife: Ksenija Pajić
PETR, a former student, their son: Živko Anočić
TATYANA, a teacher, their daughter: Tena Nemet Brankov
NIL, adopted son of the Bessemenov family, an engineer: Janko Rakoš
PERCHIKHIN, a distant relative of the Bessemenovs, a merchant selling songbirds: Enes Vejzović
POLYA, his daughter, a tailor and day-labourer in several homes: Ivana Roščić
YELENA NIKOLAYEVNA KRIVTSOVA, a prison warden’s widow, lives with the Bessemenovs: Barbara Nola
TETEREV, a funeral choir-singer, lives with the Bessemenovs: Ranko Zidarić
TSVETAEVA, a teacher, Tatyana’s friend: Jelena Miholjević
STEPANIDA, a cook: Bojana Gregorić Vejzović
SHISHKIN, an eternal student: Andrej Kopčok
THE DOCTOR: Nenad Cvetko / Ivan Grčić

Translation assistance by Nina and Ivan Silobrčić

Stage management by Ana Dulčić
Prompting by Marina Fakac

First rehearsal: 13th of May, 2019
Production continued: 28th of August, 2019

Premiered: 4th of October, 2019

Even though Gorky wrote the The Petty Bourgeois (Мещане in Russian) more than a hundred years ago, in an era immediately preceding the Russian Revolution of 1905, this play continues to provoke and to offer itself to the stage. The title itself is intriguing and polemic, because the petty bourgeoisie - and the petty bourgeois are, according to one definition, “members of the bourgeoisie incapable of work outside of one’s immediate interest, profit and safety” - lives fully and visibly both as a way of life and as a state of mind in our contemporary society. Narrow-mindedness, exclusivism, containing one’s self in some arbitrary, imaginary borders, strict divisions…, all this helps define the various situations and human relations within the text. The director Paolo Magelli brings this text onto the stage, a director who has in the past staged in this theatre in Frankopan Street a whole panoply of unforgettable titles - among the many collaborations with the dramaturgist Željka Udovičić Pleština let us only mention the by now cult-status production Mjesec dana na selu (A Month in the Country, I. S. Turgenev), whose suggestive atmosphere bears a resemblance to the mood of The Petty Bourgeois (sometimes known as The Philistines). Here is also a gallery of picturesque, complex characters in search of many a desire, be it love, faith or meaning, which, just as in their adaptation of Turgenev, invite an excellent troupe on stage.

“Only - and truly only - Paolo Magelli works like this. Whichever theatre he works in, he always succeeds in pulling out of an actor something we haven’t yet seen. Maxim Gorky’s The Petty Bourgeois, in Milan Đoković’s translation, directed by Mageli in the Gavella Theatre is exactly that, a lover’s production, shall we call it, a textbook case of mutual love between director and actors which gives birth to a courageous performance. You’ll see here a playful line emanating from Jelena Miholjević, an incredible actor’s maturity in the young Tena Nemet Brankov, the excellent Ranko Zidarić... in fact, the whole troupe is simply well tuned to these new heights. (...) And yes, each and every role is unbelievably good, from Nenad Cvetko’s moment through to Ksenija Pajić and Barbara Nola in the role of diametrically opposite women of whom the first is dependent on the man whom she married whilst the other endeavours to avoid just that, all the way to Živko Anočić, Janko Rakoš and Enes Vejzović, all of whom, each in his own way, are looking for their way out of the chain-like petit bourgeois mind-set, and way of life.” (Bojana Radović, Večernji list)


“Albeit the play does not directly refer itself to the current state of being Croatia is in, The Petty Bourgeois are without a doubt a topical piece because they very subtly manage to catch a collective feeling of our age. What happens when we uncover the cynicism of our age? Magelli, in his highly aestheticised, jocular, witty, cynical and oftentimes playful performance lets us know, not at all optimistically, that perhaps this is how things simply stand, but only up until the point when enough courage is gathered and pledged in defense of both personal and public interests.” (Nina Ožegović, T-portal)