Absurdity and/or Reality: Grotesque and Tragicomic Realism in Balkan Spy (1983)

This article explores the forms and functions of grotesque realism in the play Balkan Spy (1983) (Balkanski špijun) by Dušan Kovačević. The analysis is focused on the mechanisms of grotesque that the author uses in order to create a tragicomic version of reality, and on the effects of this aesthetic choice. The analytical approach to the dramatic text shows that Kovačević employs elements of both conventional and modern theatre. In other words, contemporary grotesque realism, caricature, irony, bitter/dry and subversive humour are the most dominant dramaturgical techniques that the author brings in order to create his characters as well as the absurd world caused by political paranoia.

Julija Pešić

Julija Pešić

Julija Pesic is a University of Toronto researcher focused on performance art, cultural anthropology, and cultural studies. Her doctoral dissertation project investigates cultural specificity and global dynamics in the performance art of Marina Abramovic. Julija’s doctoral project is awarded by Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship in 2019/20 and 2020/21. In 2018/19 and 2017/18, Julija received the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and the Metal-Trebbin-De Boni/Ontario Graduate Scholarship for the strong academic record. Before immigrating to Canada, Julija completed BA honours in South Slavic Literature and MA in Dramatic Literature at the University of Belgrade with expertise in subversive humour in contemporary European drama. Her research work comprises Yugoslavian performance art as well as interaction of literature, theatre, and film.


Southeastern Europe