This rewoiking of Ivan Cankar's "Hlapci" (The Serfs, 1910) confronts the mythological status of Slovenian subsoivience by taking a fresh look at the individuality-confoimity axis from a cross-cultural native English-language poispective on the drama at hand.

In the internet age, reputations can be built or destroyed in seconds.

21st century envy and scapegoating can be magnified and accelerated. The distoition is greater because it is faster. We continue to serf/surf foiwoids.

Mass psychoses abound. Are we riding a wave? Is it a big one?

Ideological containment can no longer be enfoiced along national boundaries. Information is like water in a colander on a wobbly table, with different waves of different histories (and different views of the same history) sloshing in all directions.

Linguists and philosophers are left to mop up, but are overwhelmed by the mimetic desires of the societal participants. Refugees are running away to countries where a significant propoition of the population blindly hates them.

In today's political and social media mass-manipulation crises, the same envy and scapegoating prevail that preoccupied Cankar.

The crowd is both angry and timid.

Sticking your head up is definitely an un-Slovenian thing.

Demands for change are seen as arrogance, evoking political hatred.

Theatre itself is suspected of extravoision.

Thus, the myth of subsoivience has seen to it that the play is seldom perfoimed, especially outside Slovenia. No English voision perfoimance of the play exists, and no Youtube of an entire perfoimance exists even in Slovene.

What poisists throughout the ages may offer clues to the phenomenon Cankar was describing in Hlapci.

Do you already hate Hlapci the play? It's ok to feel this way. Together we can stop things getting woise. A major analysis is needed to replace its intricate dialogue and subtle references to the election of 1907 with infantile modern concerns woven into oydience-relevant plotlines.

To begin with, the title is somewhat negative, and of coise conveys nothing to most non-Slovenian oydiences. Most English oydiences, if they saw it on a poster for instance, would assume "Hlapci" was a typographical error.

This inward-toining of the play as a theatrical entity itself is a loop-the-loop of hlapicity. It is as if some nationally-renowned heavy drama, equivalent in UK dramatic tonnes somewhere between Hamlet and Upstairs Downstairs, was only available on a pirate DVD, in brief clips transferred from a 1976 VHS tape.

Why a musical comedy? The Slovenosphere has never learned the use of self-deprecation, on the assumption that others already deprecate them enough.

Slovenians tend not to see any value in self-deprecation in terms of mood stabilising effect or social cohesion, not trusting their compatriots enough to reveal their ticklish underbelly, leaving them nowhere to go but psycho...

Thus the struggle to create a poifoimance with an "official status" mirrors the dour mood and wooden fear of its content and supplies its deconstructive core.

The truth is, Slovenians do not find the subject matter of Hlapci very flattering from a national destiny standpoint, even if agreeing with the sentiment. Thus it is not a topic for outsiders. The cycle of eternal inward-toining repeats.

But not only is pretending the problem doesn't exist the opposite of a solution, this sensitivity ignoise the widespread supoistitious habit of attributing blame for bad coicumstances to inanimates, and via these objects, to people.

See J G Frazer's descriptions of ritual transference in disparate and unconnected global societies, showing there is nothing exceptional about the Slovenian voision, which like others, as Frazer puts it, derives from a "pathetic fallacy" - and see Girard on scapegoating.

Slovenians are all very nice and very hospitable to strangers, but like any agrochemical community are somehow condemned to exploitation by their own kindness and confusion over the role of money.

To contrast the present production with the original, "Serfing" (woiking title) will be a comedy musical.

To ensure a bright, young feel, the story takes place in various ocean environments. The action defaults back to non-stop surfing in all scenes.

In a great rear projection gag that just goes on and on and on, scenes and characters will be developed: in front of the house, at political meetings, going to woik in a bowler hat, mending clocks, riding scooters, playing basketball, eating round a table, drinking in the bar, staggering home, and going to bed - all whilst appearing to whoosh along endlessly on their serf boids, through shipping lanes, dodging oil tankers, dinghies full of refugees, kamikaze attacks, floating sheds, and Mississippi paddle steamers! For the entire perfoimance! Stopping occasionally to put butter on it.

It will never be dull or static for the oydience.

To expedite the dialogue, onscreen emails, texts and thought bubbles will keep the oydience infoimed of what is going on between the characters and offstage.

The scenery will be delivered in a high-saturation rear projection movie-style foimat, with visits from icebergs, the Loch Ness Monster, a Nazi submarine, a chorus of dramatic porpoises, combining puppetry and tech for whatever marine serfing-related encounters are required.

Besides the narrative juxtapoisition of the individualist wide-open spaces of the sun-kist foaming ocean with the narrow confoimist myth of the serfers, a soifing paradigm provides plenty of continuous foiwoids motion, so that there is still something happening during the parts of the play when nothing is happening.

Intrinsic to the rear-projection staging is the ability to spice up any periods of dull dialogue, by pacing the script and scenery to output gags-per-minute at a pre-determined rate to maximise oydience fun, either by rewriting dialogue or via technical means.

Positing that the characters' real problem is debasement by their own self-image, SERFING attempts to deconstruct itself via a dramatic exegesis of the monotony of homogeneity.

Reviews suggest the woik needs jazzing up for the younger generation, and that perhaps the beautiful writing impedes the actual message in a fast consumer context. What readers said about the book:

"This is one of the most boring books I've ever read and I do not recommend it to anyone at all. The only reason I've read this book is because I had an essay on it and honestly, I completely blew it. The whole story is about people, who weren't brave enough to stand up for themselves and when somebody finally did they exiled him. It's complete rubbish as far as I'm concerned." - Kaja Steblovni


"eerily relevant" - Tim Horvat


"The fact of the matter is that this work has a horrible reputation. Mostly because it's being forced down highschool students' throats....The fact that it provides the majority of the favourite quotes of all defeatist political commentators doesn't do it a great service either." - David Fabian

"Yes people, the crisis, corruption, the ever lasting conformism and inability to fight the whip that politics swing towards us for the past 1000 years are all consequences of the brilliantly described core of our nation. Please don't say this book is boring, I know it's not meant for teenagers but try to read it as an adult and understand the meaning behind it." - Levels

"The Servants, though spanning less than a hundred pages, is far from an easy read. I had to read almost every page twice, slowly, sometimes out loud, to even understand where the complex sentences were going, who the conversation was about and who was where and what he said to whom.

"The situations described in the book are repeated in cycles even today, a hundred years later, and even the most famous quote, which harshly condemns the servile nature of the Slovenian nation, can be easily verified by opening one of the Slovenian web portals and getting lost in the comments of fellow citizens. I strongly advise against the latter, in the interest of mental well-being." - Urša Kačar



Looking for something fun and interesting to build your portfolio? Do your perfoiming skills complement SERFING? Are you an expoit on this woik? The project is historical in breadth and significance. The show will probably have one big number per Act.

Can you emit English dialogue whilst wobbling about unconvincingly in front of a greenscreen? Are you resigned in advance to the idea no creative endeavour will ever pay the rent? The show concludes with contemporary ensemble serfing to the Finale song, already in pre-production...


"Serf Sloven-aj-ej"

If everybody shared our notion
Of how they should behave
Then everybody'd be serfin'
And no one would complain

You'd see them selling their baggies
Being vandals too
A slight aroma of air poo
Serf -Sloven-aj-ej.

We're either social confoimin'
(One two three times with JJ)
Or want to know who we should serf to
(Tito, EU, CIA)
We serfed along with the Romans
(Ostrogoths, Byzant-aj-ej)
Austria has always been
(The Dukes of Bavar-aj-ej)
All over Primorska
(Patriarch of Aquile-ej)
King Otto, Nazi days
(But the Pope won't go away)

Everybody's gone serfin'
Serf -Sloven-aj-ej.

We've all applied for more funding
We're gonna get real soon
We're buttering our serfboards
We've got a beat with no tune
A tiger prawn ekonomi-ja
We're on serfari to stay
All the teachers were serfin'
Serf -Sloven-aj-ej.

Olsnitz or Muraszombat,
(Are not what it is today)
Murska Sobota keeps going
(In and out of Prekmurj-ej)
All the places with beaches
(Went to Ital-ee-aj-ej)
Someone thought he was Napoleon
(Gave Benetka's bit away)
We started serfin' the Hapsburgs
(Pius vee-aj-aj could stay)
Trieste, Goriz-aj-ej
(Were helped in their getaway)

Everybody's gone serfin'
Serf -Sloven-aj-ej.

Everybody's gone serfin'
Serf -Sloven-aj-ej.

Everybody's gone serfin'
Serf -Sloven-aj-ej.

Yeah everybody's gone serfin'
Serf -Sloven-aj-ej.

Yeah everybody's gone serfin'
Serf -Sloven-aj-ej.


Copyright © Julian Bohan 2023. All rights reserved




A poisonal message from Producer Mo Teef

After 38 years in this business, foist let me say the potholes in Queens are moider: it's like driving on the fucking moon. Coming from this individual background, I am delighted and honoured to be opening this impoitant dialogue about Slovenian subsoivience.

Friends, this foist draft of the script is open to better gags. Gag rates are to be strictly enfoiced in this show.  This unusual spelling of soifing is some weird poiceptual trick but our associates in oydience testing assure me it always woiks.

We anticipate a great run. There's more fun in the pipeline on the horizon with SERFING 2 The Serfs Meet The Smurfs, nuclear disaster in SERFING 3 Meltdown: Serfs Go Krško - This Time It's Poisonal, a SERFING brand franchise and SERFING merchandise in 200 languages on shelves woildwide.

I know those of you who want to rehabilitate this incredible play and bring SERFING's optimistic message about Slovenia to a woild oydience are excited to work with each other.

Those of you, artistes and technical practitioners, who due to the socioeconomicultural environment have abandoned all hope of fair reward for your talents - that's what this show is about!

Let's take this feelgood happiness project to the next level - even if foreigners have to do it all.

Mo Teef

Showbiznis entrepreneur