That Thing

Atelier on the human encounters with goblins, vampires, werewolves, evil fairies, wood-nymphs in the wild Balkan grasslands


The workshop at the Sfumato Theatre in Sofia from 23 February – 10 March 2016 united 50 young actors working with director Margarita Mladenova and Ivan Dobchev on this mythological subject. Until the end of the season 2015/16 the group presented the workshop's results regularly at the Sfumato Theatre.

Which sees you from top to toe

While you can see its eye only

– after Yordan Radichkov

The Atelier featured as models some quite odd phantasms – archetypical characters who have once shuffled off their mortal coil, have become ghosts, and then have gone through the metamorphosis of humanlike creatures. According to the author of the Analytical Psychology, Carl Jung, “archetypes are disseminated not only through tradition, language, and migration, but they can rearise spontaneously, at any time, at any place, and without any outside influence… The archetype itself is empty and purely formal, nothing but a facultas praeformandi, a possibility of representation which is given a priori. The representations themselves are not inherited, only the forms, and in that respect they correspond to the instincts. The existence of the instincts can no more be proved than the existence of the archetypes, so long as they do not manifest themselves concretely.”

A way to explain the psychological basis for the appearance of vampire tales is the Transcendent Function, which, according to Jung, is the relation between the real and the effigial spanning the abyss between the conscious and the unconscious. “The transcendent function arises from the union of conscious and unconscious contents… The tendencies of the conscious and the unconscious are the two factors that together make up the transcendent function. It is called ‘transcendent’ because it makes the transition from one attitude to another organically possible without the loss of the unconscious. The transcendent function is closely related to the active imagination.”

In point of fact, vampires, goblins, werewolves, etc. are the irregular deceased. They are characterised by a temporal – from midnight until first cock-crow, until they are annihilated and then buried according to all traditional culture’s and religious canon’s requirements – unity of soul and body. This is an unnatural, distorted, demoniacal version of co-existence between body and soul, undesired by both the living and the vampires themselves. Only when they become regular deceased they, like all departed, could travel the road to the Kingdom of Heaven, thus reaching resurrection, where “body and soul are irrevocably together.”


That Thing

Workshop for Actors

Directed by Margarita Mladenova, Ivan Dobchev

23 Feburary – 10 March 2016

at the Sfumato Theatre, Sofia, Bulgaria

Demonstrations of the workshop's results were shown throughout the second half of the season 2015/16 at the Sfumato Theatre Sofia:

On 12 March, 15 March and 2 April 2016.

Further performance-dates are in the planning stage.

All pictures © by Tsocho Bojadjiev

Workshop / Performance

Margarita Mladenova | Ivan Dobchev

23 février - 5 juillet, 2016