"Exercises in Style", the longest theatrical run in the world with the same cast, marked 50 years of performance on Sunday.
“Exercises in Style” has changed the theatre scene not just in Croatia, but in the entire region, by removing the fourth wall and allowing communication with the audience. Without grand production and elaborate costumes, it depends on the actors’ (Lela Margitic and Pero Kvrgic) storytelling and virtuosity, said Marko Torjanac, the director and founder of the Planet Art Theatre, which produced the play.
Originally envisioned as a student project, the play was first staged in the Zagreb ITD Theatre in 1968, based on the original work “Exercices de style” (1947) by Raymond Queneau. The original consists of 99 retellings of the same story, each in a different style.
The Croatian adaptation covers about 20 retellings of an everyday situation in a Zagreb tram, where two men have an altercation after one had stepped on the other’s foot. Margitic and Kvrgic have been playing their characters, the unnamed male and female, since January 1970.
The play has been filmed for TV and radio, and the two actors hold the Guinness World Record for the Longest Theatrical Run with the Same Cast since 2009.
For this occasion, the play was performed in the Zagreb Gavella theatre, and attended by the Prime Minister Plenkovic, the Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic, and senior Culture Ministry official Ivica Poljicak.