The Ugly Duckling


Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling“ is one of the most popular children’s tales of all time. The story of an unaccepted duckling who, due to his peculiar appearance, is avoided by his brothers, neighbours, the whole duck village and even his own mother, turns into a painful search for identity.

After leaving home, the duckling enters a world where he is laughed at by geese, attacked by hunters, dogs, a cat and a hen, and where he is almost adopted by farmers, until he comes upon some beautiful swans and is finally convinced that their bevy is where he belongs. Psychologists claim the obstacles faced by the Ugly Duckling on his way, serve to strengthen a child’s character and ease contact with the cruelties of the real world.

The young and successful Croatian playwright Ivor Matinić wrote a brand new text based on the Anderson story, staying true to the original, while bringing it closer to the contemporary viewer.

Robert Waltl is one the most awarded director of theatre pieces for the young audience, which he creates in Croatia, BiH, Belarus, Belgium, Montenegro and Slovenia. He is a particularly devoted interpreter of stories by Ivana Brlić Mažuranić, Svetlana Makarovič and Hans Christian Andersen. In the Puppet Theatre Mostar he has so far directed “The Puss in Jeans“ by Enes Kišević and “The Hedgehog’s House“ by Branko Ćopić. His pieces are distinguishable by music and dance dramaturgy, a dynamic rhythm and visual exuberance.

The wonderful songs for the performance are written by Olja Savičević Ivančević, and arranged by Nikša Mandalinić and Aleksandar Antić of the Split-based band TBF. The author of all the puppets and the stage set design is Robert Smolik from Prague. Starring in the role of the Ugly Duckling is the young Igor Vidačković, and alongside him an excellent team of actors and animators – Nedžad Maksumić, Diana Ondelj Maksumić, Sergio Radoš and Nermina Denjo.

The Andersen story of an ugly duckling, who was attacked by all – his brothers, geese, hunters, dogs and farmers – until they were left standing in awe, as he grew up to transform into a swan, has been reworked by the young writer Ivor Martinić into a contemporary text for the youngest audience. Directed by Robert Waltl, it becomes a dynamic performance of intense visual strength with a myriad of wonderful songs, and graced by excellent animation by experienced puppet masters from Mostar.

The performance was created as a co-production between Pozorište lutaka Mostar (Puppet Theatre Mostar) and the Mini teater Ljubljana, as part of the international European project Puppet Nomad Academy 3 which was co-financed by the European Commission, within the Culture programme (2007 – 2013).


Director: Robert Waltl
Director’s Assistant: Nedžad Maksumić
Text: Ivor Martinić (according to the fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen)
Song Lyrics: Olja Savi Čević, Ivan Čević
Puppets and Stage Set Design: Robert Smolik
Stage Technician: Kasim Prguda
Music: Nikša Mandalinić (TBF)
Sound and Lighting: Amer Ćatić
Stage Set Construction: Mirsad Bijedić


Igor Vidačković – Ugly Duckling
Diana Ondelj Maksumić – Mother Duck / Old Lady
Nermina Denjo – Chattering Duck / Duckling 1 / Hen
Nedžad Maksumić – Old Duck / Wild Gander 2 / Dog
Serđo Radoš – Duckling 2/ The Spanish Duck / Wild Gander 1 / Cat

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June 11, 2013