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Josip Jurčič

The Famous Goat Trial of Višnja Gora

Kozlovska sodba v Višnji Gori

Director Luka Marcen

A fine tale from ancient history  
Play for children
World premiere  

Stage adaptation by Tatjana Doma and Luka Marcen
Lyrics by Saša Eržen
Opening September 2021


Josip Jurčič (1844-1881), a Slovenian writer, storyteller and journalist was born into a poor peasant family. His maternal grandfather, Jože Jankovič, roused his interest in literature and storytelling. He used to tell him fairy tales and fables of Slovenian folklore featuring witches and ghosts, stories from the time of the Turkish raids, about smugglers and contrabandists, and about the monks of the Stična Cistercian monastery, thus stirring his grandson's imagination and prompting his literary development.
One afternoon in a forest, Lukež Drnulja is secretly gathering leaves for his goat Lisec. Meanwhile, the goat escapes from the confines of his own home, and the dogs and children who are always pestering him, and hides behind the garden fence of Andraž Slamorezec. The goat’s alleged intrusion into the beautiful vegetable garden sparks a quarrel between Drnulja and Slamorezec, leading to the famous goal trial. The ensuing and complicated lawsuit instigates a conflict between the villagers and divides them into two camps – those for and against the goat. In the courtroom, the secrets of the townspeople are gradually uncovered, as well as many other resentments and feuds that affect their relations.
The satirical humorous tale of The Famous Goat Trial of Višnja Gora explores in a very witty way small community relations, bribery, feuds, conniving and self-interest. It penetrates to the very core of individual characters and the dynamics of a close-knit community. This makes it relevant even today, since human foolishness, narrow-mindedness and delusions have not changed to this day. Jurčič truly erected a monument to human stupidity, arrogance, narrow-mindedness and primal vindictiveness. Nonetheless, he managed to portray human flaws in an amusing and positive tone, so that the story of human shortcomings makes us laugh and feel good. Even today, in disputes, people are often too quick to seek justice in court. A frank conversation, good humour, a desire to maintain good relations with friends, relatives or neighbours would save them a lot of money, time and trouble if they could only listen to their fellow human beings. In arguments and misunderstandings, one should talk, not sue.
The new stage adaptation of this fine tale from ancient history deals with the reconstruction of memory and a story, being constantly changed and turned upside down, presenting the same event from different angles, as new scraps of information keep transpiring. What is a lie and what is a truth? Who is one to believe if everyone is lying? The courtroom thus becomes a theatre, a circus and a cabaret, in which the “wise men” of Višnja gora present their views. What if the goat himself stepped forward and told his side of the story?

Human foolishness, narrow-mindedness and delusions have not changed to this day.

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