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Peter Michalovič

Abstract

Shortly before his death Hungarian writer and essayist Péter Esterházy (1950 – 2016) wrote the dramatic text of Mercedes Benz – Historical Revue in two parts for the Slovak National Theatre. In particular, it focuses on the famous noble family Esterházy’s influence in Slovakia. The author of the play had a very strong association with this matter. In his writing Péter Esterházy used a wide range of intertextualities: his literary texts are like the fabric spun from fibres of the autobiography of his own family history, but also fragments of Hungarian and Slovak history, legends, tales, as well as hearsay and myths. The interpreted dramatic text is remarkable because Esterházy, in addition to intertextual recycling of his own texts, also exploits the texts of the Hungarian classic author Imre Madách The Tragedy of Man. The author of the study has focused on clarifying the function, specification and effects of Esterházy’s intertextual writing.

Open access

Dagmar Podmaková

Abstract

The production of the play by Bulgarian playwright Yordan Radichkov An Attempt at Flying (premiered on 22 March 1980 at the Pavol Orzságh Hviezdoslav Theatre) is one of the most successful plays in the history of Slovak National Theatre Drama. The text-metaphor of the old age longing of mankind to fly and to recognize the unrecognizable, even for just a moment, offers on the axis of “magical realism” or grotesque realism”, in the words of the author, a humanistic picture of life and ideas in which the characters live their everyday life, they start a magical fantasy game and express many truths of the life. This article draws attention to the production of director Pavel Haspra through analysis of the play’s text, the production script and the TV recording of one of the last stage performances. Altogether over six years (from March 1980 to June 1987), 148 performances took place, both domestic and Czech critics writing about the extraordinary acting of all the participants. One cannot omit the significance and theatrical contribution of Vladimir Suchánek’s scenography vision with several symbolic and metaphorical dimensions (a hay cart hanging in the air, through which the villagers, who longed for just a moment of freedom, fulfilled their dreams).

Open access

Lucyna Spyrka

Abstract

The Polish and Slovak languages, as well as Polish and Slovak cultures, are considered very similar, so it would initially appear that there would be no obstacles limiting the possibilities of translating Slovak drama into Polish. It turns out however, that Slovak drama is not often translated into Polish. Older translations that were presented in Polish theatres were rarely followed in the press, and today they have been forgotten. On the contrary, current translations are published far more often than staged. The presented study evaluates this situation as a result of several limiting factors. In addition to the political conditions of cultural exchange and the manner in which publishers and theatres operate in Poland, there is also a linguistic closeness that negatively impacts on the quality of translations, as well as the stereotype of Polish and Slovak cultural proximity, which limits the interest of Polish audiences in Slovak drama.

Open access

Šárka Havlíčková Kysová

Abstract

The article examines the work of opera director Miloš Wasserbauer during the 50s and at the beginning of the 60s of the 20th century in the Slovak National Theatre. Focusing on the staging of new Slovak operas Ján Cikker’s Juro Jánošík and Beg Bajazid, and Eugen Suchoň’s Svätopluk. The author analyses Wasserbauer’s approach to the productions and Slovak staging tradition from the perspective of the Czech director and the critical reflection of the performances. Special attention is paid to the conceptualisation of Slovak national feeling in the corpus of archive materials.

Open access

Jana Laslavíková and Beatriz Gómez-Pablos Calvo

Abstract

This study looks at the work of Spanish playwright José Echegaray and the circumstances of his domestication on the European theatre stages at the turn of the 20th century. One of his most important works, El gran Galeoto 55, arrived in Bratislava in 1889, only one year after its premiere in Vienna and three years after the opening of the new building of the Bratislava City Theatre. The premiere of the work, translated into German and in a theatrical adaptation from Paul Lindau’s pen named Galeotto took place around the same time as the premiere of the work Ralph William from the domestic author Josef Julian, which thanks to a similar theme was perceived as «Bratislava’s Galeotto».

Open access

Michaela Mojžišová

Abstract

The ambition of the survey study, which maps the work of Slovak directors in Czech opera theatres after 1993, is to identify the number of Slovak creators in the opera-theatre discourse of the very closely connected countries in terms of culture and history while at the same time adding the professional biographies of Slovak artists – who are little known and reflected upon in their homeland – and parts of their works. The author concludes that the split of the Czechoslovak Republic and the subsequent creation of separate Czech and Slovak Republics did not have an adverse effect on the mutual contacts of our opera cultures. At present, we even enjoy intensified co-operation in both directions. The nonjudgmental attitude of Czech theatres towards the influence of Slovak film directors in the Czech Republic is clear: not only credible creators (Marián Chudovský), but also representatives of the younger generation of opera directors (Andrea Hlinková) and renowned drama directors with previous opera experience (Martin Huba, Roman Polák), as well as creators who had not yet worked on the opera scene at home (Martin Čičvák, Sláva Daubnerová) were presented with an opportunity to contribute. Despite the fact that their works represented the enrichment of the Czech opera-theatre, the Slovak director with the most significant contribution to the Czech opera theatre remains Jozef Bednárik, even two decades later.

Open access

Thomas Bronder

Abstract

The second part in the 1284 Book of Games of Alfonso X. contains the description of twelve medieval games of dice. Certain information on the amount and timing of bets of the players are only very briefly displayed and are completely missing in several games. The exact course of such games is therefore unknown. What did the players know about their chances of rolling dice and how they could use them when playing the dice? In order to imagine the process of betting for gain, the characteristics of these games of dice are examined and compared with contemporary games of chance.

Open access

Akane Okoshi and Alex de Voogt

Abstract

The American Museum of Natural History (amnh) has three mancala game boards in their collection that are connected with Suriname, formerly Dutch Guyana. One of these samples is exhibited in the amnh African Peoples Hall as part of a section on African Slavery and Diaspora. The games of Suriname were described by Melville J. Herskovits in an article dating to 1929, but the relation of these three boards with Herskovits has remained unclear. With the help of the Herskovits archives, the archival records of amnh and recent research on Surinamese Maroon communities, the history of these three boards is shown to be intimately linked with Herskovits’ broader intellectual project.

Open access

Amit S. Deshmukh

Abstract

Playing of sedentary games with dice and playing board games have had a major role in the Indian culture since at least 3000 BCE. This is shown by archaeological sites and early literary references in the Rig-Veda, Mahabharata and other texts. Some of these games have survived in the form of boards, game pieces, dice and cards. Apart from actual sets, the traces of board games can also be found in Hindu rock cut temples. These sculptures and paintings appear across the medieval period. The list is exhaustive. The game play also finds its presence on numerous temple floorings, carved or inscribed. Why would somebody carve these board games on these spaces? Interestingly, throughout history, some board games have increased its popularity, and some have disappeared from artistic expressional record. How did one board game overtake the other in terms of its popularity in the later phases of history? What made these games socially acceptable and popular? Where were these games played? What was the space context? The paintings dominantly show royal houses, court rooms as spaces. Were there special pavilions used for game playing by Indian royals? In India board games were traditionally played at ground level. With growing European influence in the subcontinent in the 18th century, local elites adopted the western custom of elevated furniture for board games. Did this change the space context?

The paper thus tries to evolve parameters to analyze the impact of board games on spaces and would throw light on the “space context” with reference to Indian board games tracing it to the contemporary time.

Open access

Thierry Depaulis

Abstract

Besides the ubiquitous patolli—a race game played on a cruciform gameboard—the Aztecs had obviously a few other board games. Unfortunately their names have not been recorded. We owe to Diego Durán, writing in the last quarter of the 16th century from local sources, some hints of what appears to be a “war game” and a second, different race game that he calls ‘fortuna’. A close examination of some Precolumbian codices shows a rectangular design with a chequered border, together with beans and gamepieces, which has correctly been interpreted as a board game. Many similar diagrams can be seen carved on stone in temples and public places, from Teotihuacan (c. 4th-7th century AD) to late Toltec times (9th-12th century AD). Of this game too we do not know the name. It has tentatively been called quauhpatolli (“eagle- or wooden-patolli”) by Christian Duverger (1978)—although this seems to have been the classic post-conquest Nahuatl name for the game of chess—or “proto-patolli”, and more concretely “rectángulo de cintas” (rectangle of bands) by William Swezey and Bente Bittman (1983).

The lack of any representation of this game in all Postcolumbian codices, as painted by Aztec artists commissioned by Spanish scholars interested in the Aztec culture, is clear indication that the game had disappeared before the Spanish conquest, at least in central Mexico. No Aztec site shows any such gameboard. Fortunately this game had survived until the 20th (and 21st!) century but located in the Tarascan country, now the state of Michoacán. It was discovered, unchanged, in a Tarascan (Purepecha) village by Ralph L. Beals and Pedro Carrasco, who published their find in 1944. At that time Beals and Carrasco had no idea the game was attested in early codices and Teotihuacan to Maya and Toltec archaeological sites. In Purepecha the game is called k’uillichi.

There is evidence of an evolution that led to a simplification of the game: less tracks, less gamesmen (in fact only one per player, while k’uillichi has four), and less ‘dice’. From a “complex” race game, the new debased version turned to be a simple single-track race game with no strategy at all. It is possible that this process took place in Michoacán. (A few examples of the simplified game were found in some Tarascan villages.) Also it seems the widespread use of the Nahua language, which the Spanish promoted, led to calling the game, and/or its dice, patol. As it was, patol proved to be very appealing and became very popular in the Mexican West, finally reaching the Noroeste, that is, the present North-West of Mexico and Southwest of the United States.

This seems to have been a recent trend, since its progress was observed with much detail by missionaries living in close contact with the Indians along what was called the ‘Camino Real’, the long highway that led from western Mexico to what is now New Mexico in the U.S. The Spanish themselves seem to have helped the game in its diffusion, unaware of its presence. It is clearly with the Spaniards that the patol game, sometimes also called quince (fifteen), reached the American Southwest and settled in the Pueblo and the Zuñi countries.

It is there that some newcomers, coming from the North or from the Great Plains, and getting in contact with the Pueblos in the 18th century, found the game and took it over. The Kiowas and Kiowa Apaches are noted for their zohn ahl (or tsoñä) game, while the Arapahos call it ne’bäku’thana. A careful examination of zohn ahl shows that it has kept the basic features of an ancient game that came—in Spanish times—from Mexico and may have been popular in Teotihuacan times. Its spread northward—through the Tarascan country—is, hopefully, well documented.