The institution of the Slovene theatre in Trieste was a fundamental cultural space of the Slovene minority in Italy, and represented a platform for cultural development and critical perception of social reality. When in the 70s, a group of young artists was dissatisfied by the theatre’s increasing willingness to subordinate itself to current political authorities, they decided to establish the Slovene amateur theatre SAG. The SAG involved a host of enthusiastic young thinkers and creators, while Sergej Verč, Boris Kobal, Bogomila Kravos and Ivan Verč represented its soul.
While the SAG collective mainly wished to hold a critical mirror to the Slovene conditions in the region of Trieste, their creativity that did not conform to ruling conventions was quickly recognized by the public across the border as well.
Their work was received with great acclaim and widespread enthusiasm among the audience, and made recurring successful appearances also in home Slovenia, then still a part of Yugoslavia.
In 1975 they wanted to stage provocative play, the satirical cabaret Pappenstory (or “the story of grubbing”), which they did in secret. The cabaret aimed to satirize the Slovene leftist political and cultural elites of the Trieste region. In October of 1975, the SAG was invited to a meeting with the umbrella organization of the Slovene minority in Italy. The young artists were expecting a friendly chat or perhaps financial support from the Slovene Cultural and Economic Association and its leaders, but reality was altogether unforeseen.
The story of the SAG is not only the story of some theatre collective and its age. First and foremost, it is a treatment of the conflict between politics and the arts, and a story of the “grubby” ways of authority, whether right-wing or left-wing, that time and again pursues its own interests as opposed to the interests of the national and social communities.