The article combines both philosophical and psychological approaches to argue that art and theatre performance especially can be grasped as a revelation of the universal and basic human concern, which is existential anxiety. The author presents an opinion, that via performative acts on stage, spectators and performers/actors are interconnected in hermeneutic situation (Hans-Georg Gadamer), in which they play their existential experience. Therefore, the universal death anxiety (Irvin D. Yalom) can be understood as a possible platform for interpersonal and intercultural dialogue (Martin Buber). The article concludes, that archetypes (Carl Gustav Jung) are such a place for mutual understanding, representing both mental and physical answers to the basic existential experience of humankind.
The study explores the art of performance and happening in Slovakia from the 1960s, and its influence on theatre. Given its interdisciplinarity, the first part is dedicated to the vantage points of performance in Slovakia: action art and related names. Action art had significant influence on later theatre performative forms. The second part focuses in detail on actions and performances by the company Temporary Society of Intense Experience, Balvan Theatre and on the artist Miloš Karásek.
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).
In the 1940s the Drama Company of the Slovak National Theatre introduced four poetry productions, which demonstrated the stage potential of the symbiosis of verse and a music-accompanied recitation in an original stage design solution. The single presentation of poetry of Poézia revolúcie a boja [The Poetry of Revolution and Fight, 1945] directed by Ján Jamnický and Pásmo poézie Janka Jesenského [The Show of Poetry by Janko Jesenský, 1946] directed by Jozef Budský were the first independent attempts at staging selected poetry. Besides recitation, they were dominated by the visual sign, powerful music sometimes accompanied by the singing of individuals and a voice band, and distinctive lighting design. Botto’s Smrť Jánošíkova [The Death of Jánošík] and Sládkovič’s Marína (both in 1948) directed by Jozef Budský displayed all features of synthetic theatre, combining recitation, voice band singing, scenic and visual solutions, metaphor, originally composed music inspired by the folk song, dance, film screening, and meaningful lighting. Jozef Budský indirectly built on Czech theatre, particularly on E. F. Burian. Both masterpieces by the authors of Štúr’s generation (Ján Botto, Andrej Sládkovič) aroused the interest of the expert public and the audience. It triggered arguments about excessive directorial intervention and insufficient ideological character, especially in the theatre form of Marína.
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.
This article is a comparative review of performances of Western European and American authors in Slovak and Slovenian theatres in the two decades after World War II. First, we present a short historical context, comparing the political systems and cultural policies of both states. We define the importance of the selection of works for the repertoire(s) and then parallel them to the main characteristics, authors, and dramatic texts prevalent in that period. Second, we highlight the particularities of staging of the Western European and American authors in both cultural spaces, evaluate their importance, and explicitly determine the fundamental differences between the two theatre spaces and performing arts in the socialist system in general. Third, we expose the similarities and differences in the quantity and diversity of authors. This is done on the basis of the performances by institutional theatres, recorded in the repertoire databases of the respective countries. Everything deviating from the norm is located in a separate chapter, as a phenomenon, where we are looking for the reasons for (not) performing certain authors or poetics. The article functions as a review of the period, and seeks to shed light on theatre production in the Central European cultural area during the undemocratic socialist regime, regardless of basic differences between the two political systems.
The presented article is a polemic with Alain Badiou’s concept of theatre-politics isomorphism. The author adapts the basic elements of Badiou’s philosophy (event, void Ø, truth etc.), provides an interpretation of his theory of theatre and presents crucial critical arguments to reveal the reductionism of Badiou’s philosophy. Subsequently, the author presents his alternative theory of theatre based on this ground. The article assumes that theatre performance is a live, truthful event, an encounter of humans experiencing an imagined Utopia based on their structural homology (shared materiality, phylogenetic archetypal memory, existentiality). The argument is supported by the recent research in neuroscience.
As the article argues, this Utopia has its social and political significance. The theatre is not political only if it constructs both a political body (crowd, public) and a discourse, as Badiou suggests. The author concludes that theatre is inherently political because its imaginative nature, which allows humans to experience the utopical attachment exceeding the subject-object boundaries. This imagined Utopia with its critical and anticipative power allows people to transcend their singularity to interpersonal and intercultural dialogue and universality, and it provokes their political imagination (in the sense of David Graeber). The author employs Erika Fischer-Lichte’s concept of performativity to present theatre performance as an event.
The paper focuses on the opera Brundibár. The authorial couple – composer Hans Krasa and librettist Adolf Hoffmeister – wrote it in the period of growing interest of artists in pedagogical aspects of the works of art. The changed social climate, however, meant for the work an unplanned journey – during the Second World War it was performed inside the Terezin ghetto by its inhabitants. The human message of the fairy tale story has thus been elevated into a higher symbolic frame – a resistance against the arrogance of power and violence. Especially the post-war era followed this symbolism. The author of the paper contemplates the innovative interpretative levels whose ambition is to cross the traditional performance frame of the work and to find connections with problems of contemporary society.
Contribution to the History of Gender Relations in Slovakia
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.