Tuesday, 6 April 2021
The Slavko Grum Award 2021: Maja Šorli
Maja Šorli: A Taste You Haven’t Tried Before
The play begins with a manifesto for modern (higher) education, which clearly demands accessibility of study for all and providing work for graduates. Likewise, it opposes private universities and the general commercialisation of education. The manifesto is enacted in the presentation of a confrontation of different forces at a university, whose top echelon and decision-makers essentially plan to sell their students to a newly-established private institute of higher education. Although it was written before the latest round of attempts to limit and devalue humanistic studies, A Taste You Haven’t Tried Before almost psychically predicted the level and the objective of the debate. In its debates, using the articulation particular to the academia, those advocating for public education fight those who’d like to join the devastating flow of privatisation. Written in a realistic language, the play’s characterisation shows familiarity with the problems and even social engagement. It champions the achievements that are a consequence of different initiatives and even student protests throughout the decades since the late 1960s. As such, the drama continues the tradition of particular politically-engaged and realistically-written plays from decades ago, for example, Primož Kozak’s The Affair. The characters, in front of the backdrop of transformation of the institutions, also experience personal and sentimental problems. They are subjected to the unclear accusations of overstepping the line between passionate teaching and harassing students. A Taste You Haven’t Tried Before uses education system to reveal numerous conflicting social forces; it is aware that each point can also be a breaking point and that a fragile and long strived-for balance in the time of unbridled neoliberal grabs is hard to maintain.