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Alexander Dubček Twice – An (Un)Known Side of Him

Selected Facts and Connections in Drama and Film Fiction Package

Dagmar Podmaková

Abstract

The authoress, using two visual works, i.e. theatre production #dubček and film Dubček (both 2018), compares two different approaches to and forms of the work with the personality of Alexander Dubček against the backdrop of the reforms and political upheaval in Czecho-Slovakia1, in 1968. Theatre production #dubček (Aréna Theatre, Bratislava, direction Michal Skočovský) has three levels. The first one is acting game having the form of a rehearsal of a new text about the politician Alexander Dubček; its component part is the projection of period archival film shots. The second level involves the actors stepping out of characters and commenting on Dubček’s attitude and on historical events. The third level entails monologue scenes, in which actors reveal their personal attitudes via narrated stories at the time of normalization2 which had a negative impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In the film Dubček (Slovak-Czech co-production, direction Ladislav Halama), through Dubček’s reminiscing the past, political events interweave with the scenes from the life of Dubček’s family. Although both the works employ period image documentary material and fiction, they fail to create a dramatic conflict and they are illustrative for the bigger part.

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Year 1948: Emancipation of Women and Slovak Theatre.

Contribution to the History of Gender Relations in Slovakia

Nadežda Lindovská

Abstract

From the cultural and art point of view, the year 1948 in Czechoslovakia was not just the so-called “Victorious February” of the working people. The remarkable phenomenon of this era, which was related to the post-war political and social movement, was the phenomenon of female emancipation and feminization of the stage production. During the two consecutive theatre seasons 1947/1948 and 1948/1949, at The New Scene Theatre of the National Theatre in Bratislava, several women, led by the director Magda Husaková-Lokvencová created several productions. For the first time, a sovereign feminine alliance had emerged in our performance art, proving that conceptual and thoughtful theatrical production may not be just the domain of men. These women contributed to deconstructing the beliefs of typically male and typically female professions as well as transforming traditional views of the role and position of both sexes in society and the arts. The attention of theatre historiography in the recapitalization of the impacts of the breakthrough events of the Czechoslovak post-war politics of the forty years on cultural events so far focused mainly on the issues of dramaturgy and poetics, the process of ideological transformation and the sovietisation of art in the spirit of socialist realism. The subject of socialist emancipation and theatre was at the edge of the interest of our theatrology. Ten years ago, a collective monograph, dedicated to the first lady of the Slovak theatre directors, Magda Husaková-Lokvencová, managing to free her forgotten personality and work and return her to the context of Slovak theatre history in the second half of the 20th century. There is still room for further research, complementing the knowledge and reflection of the advent of women in the sphere of theatre directory, dramaturgy and scenography artwork, as part of the history of gender relations in Slovakia. Increased interest in the history of women provokes a new reflection on the issue of emancipation and theatre.

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Lucia Mihálová

Abstract

The study deals with forms of the Slovak Republic (1939 – 1945) in Slovak theatre after the year 2000. We currently observe a strong dramaturgical tendency to bring to the stages the reflection of historical events from various historical periods, one of the most depicted being the period of World War II. Its thematics are found in the productions of the original theatrical plays as well as in the dramatisations of literary works. The first part of the study is devoted to delineation of the Slovak Republic (1939 – 1945) in the productions after 2000 (Tiso [Tiso], Stalo sa prvého septembra [It Happened on 1st September], Rabínka [The Female Rabbi], Holokaust [Holocaust], Povstanie [Uprising], Obchod na korze [The Shop on the Parade], Polnočná omša [Midnight Mass], Tichý bič [The Silent Whip], Kým kohút nezaspieva [Until the Cock Sings]). The second part is focused on the analysis of the selected thematic elements offered by the productions falling within this circle and which appear in the new optics of the so-called second generation.

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Zuzana Spodniaková

Abstract

The author focuses on selected productions of this year’s special program category of the Russian Theatre Festival Golden Mask 2018 – Russian Case in Moscow. The comparison of the latest productions of different genres and artistic aesthetics reveals the common interest of their creators in urgent socio-cultural and historical-political themes. The Russian Case category introduced Russian theatre this year as an increasingly active tool for social engagement, which is concerned with the present or the past of the nation or individual. With the vision of a better future, creators confront themselves with collective and individual memories and seek ways to cope with them in an artistic and human way.

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Vít Pokorný

Abstract

The study represents the life and artistic career of today’s almost forgotten theatre director Milan Svoboda (1883 – 1948). It is based on the extensive Svoboda estate, located in the Theatre Department of the National Museum. It follows the artist from his amateur beginnings in Roudnice nad Labem, through his career as a pedagogue at the Prague Conservatory, theatre director at the Slovak National Theatre, guest director at the National Theatre in Prague, to his post-war effort to create high-quality stage art in the border villages abandoned by the Germans. Thanks to the substantial and rich material found in his estate, the study demonstrates the conflict of creative ideals and the desire to seek an aesthetic beauty in a world within a regimented state, grand political scheming, critics and “progressive” theatrical colleagues.

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Jozef Cseres

Abstract

In his paper, the author reveals the poetical controversies of the Mai 68 opera (2008) by Petr Kofroň, Zdenek Plachý and Jiří Šimáček as well as its controversial reception by Czech opera critics. Comparing the poetical principles of the mentioned authors with those applied in stage works by Morton Feldman, Martin Burlas and John Zorn, and arguing with the philosophical concepts of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari and actual concepts of postmodern aesthetics, he outlines the poetical features of current opera production in the context of actual philosophical thought and intermedia aesthetics. In this broader framework, in spite of some defects in staging, he considers Mai 68 a very real and influential contribution to the opera world in Czech Republic and Slovakia, comparable with the contemporary opera works worldwide.

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Dagmar Kročanová

Abstract

The paper discusses three lesser known and less frequently staged plays written by Július Barč-Ivan (1909 – 1953), namely Diktátor (Dictator), Neznámy (The Unknown), and Veža (The Tower). Dictator was supposed to be premiered at the Slovak National Theatre in 1937, but it was removed from the repertoire due to censorship. The Unknown was staged and published as a book in Turčiansky Sv. Martin in 1944. The Tower was premiered at the National Theatre, Košice in 1947, and published a year later. All three plays deal with politics and power, as well as with changes of authority and leadership in different historical settings. In order to discuss Barč-Ivan’s perception of the changes of power in history, the paper analyzes motives of social upheavals, coups d’état, and changes of leadership, as well as the portrayal of authorities, leaders, and the masses as dramatis personae in these three plays. It also discusses repartees and dialogues in the respective plays, wishing to show changes in Barč-Ivan’s elaboration of the theme between 1937 and 1947. The paper argues that Barč-Ivan gradually abandons the idea of eternal peace that was a key concept in his play Dictator; and in his play The Tower, he states that “the principle of love” can be only preserved by its counterpart – violence. Whereas in The Unknown the power was shaken but preserved, in both Dictator and The Tower a paradoxical replacement of original contrasting principles happened; and the opponents of the power ended up using the methods they originally rejected. The paper also claims that all three Barč-Ivan’s plays were an alternative to ideologies and politics of the era. They expressed historical pessimism based on a religious concept of history. Barč-Ivan believes that noble ideas inevitably remain contradictory to historical development: if they were applied successfully in societies, they would actually mean the end of history.

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Eva Križková

Abstract

The text analyzes the distribution of three Slovak films created in 2017 (Piata loď (Little Harbour), Špina (Filthy), Nina to Slovak cinemas. This year new Slovak films reached 1,414,132 cinemagoers, which is a 21.13% share of total cinema admissions. This is the highest annual number recorded since the establishment of the Slovak Republic (1993). The study looks for an answer to the question, Why do some Slovak films achieve higher admissions then others? It also seeks to point out the variability of the criteria to measure the success of a film with the audience.

Open access

Peter Mazalán

Abstract

Since the beginning of the 20th century theatre has developed a completely different form of expression tools. The development of architectural methods has reached the point where it is continually moving apart from its archetype to newer and newer intellectual encryption. The method of its creation and perception have been radicalised by means of new media to offer a greater extent of its own representation. Architecture in the context of our study will be represented by the scenography. Architecture will be explored in relation to a space and its inherent characteristics by means of heterotopy and synaesthesia. Space with its specific role becomes a sphere of imagination for the audience. The study does not consider the classical term of architecture as the building and scenography as a staging of decorative mise-en-scéne.

Open access

Ján Sládeček

Abstract

William Shakespeare’s work has a very specific place in Miloš Pietor’s professional biography: it starts at the beginning of the artist’s creative period and then again at the end of his professional life. The study is devoted to this part of the director’s work. It analyzes the plays Merry Wives of Windsor (P. Jilemnický Theatre, 1963), Hamlet (Nová scéna Theatre 1974), comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost) (Nová scéna Theatre 1976) and presents the directorial and dramaturgical concept of Pietor’s first production after November 1989, The Merchant of Venice (1991). His planned premiere at the Slovak National Theatre (Slovenské národné divadlo) did not take place; the work was cancelled due to the director’s tragic death.