“Höfgen worked sixteen hours a day and had at least one nervous outburst a week. These fits were always of alarming violence and took different forms. Once he fell to the floor, shaken by silent convulsions. The next time, he remained standing, but gave blood-curdling shrieks for five minutes without a break. On the third attack, he announced during a rehearsal, to the horror of everyone present, that lockjaw had set and he could only murmur, which he proceeded to do.”
Klaus Mann, Mephisto
The centre of our new season is the artist, his passion and his pain, his elation when he touches the sky and his awe when he stares into hell. Doubt and conviction, light and darkness, truth and lie, courage and fear are twins that accompany an artist on her wheel of fortune. Artists believe that life with art and for art is the only life that actually has some meaning. Creating theatre, in particular, is vulnerable, because theatre is fragile, transient and ephemeral. Our new season will draw the portraits of three stage artists: the charismatic dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, the actor Hendrik Höfgen, and a fictional actress created by Maruša Geymayer-Oblak in her self-conceived project.
Directed by Marko Mlačnik, the performance Nijinsky's Last Dance based on the monodrama of the same name by the American author Norman Allen will show the decay of the identity of this superb dancer through the hero’s identification with the roles of the dance teacher, his sister Bronislava, his lover and producer Diaghilev, his ally Rodin and others. Just as Nijinsky deconstructed the classical ballet vocabulary, Nijinsky's Last Dance sketches the decay of an artist afflicted with schizophrenia.
Mephisto directed by Eduard Miler is the harbinger of the dark age of Nazism, and at the same time the story of the sickeningly ambitious actor Hendrik Höfgen, about his servility to Nazism, about his “pact with the devil”. Höfgen has the traits of Mann’s brother-in-law Gustav Gründens, who was the most famous German actor of the time. From a communist he transformed into a Nazi and then turned into a liberal after the war, until he took his own life in 1963.
Diva saint mother bitch is the name of Maruša Geymayer-Oblak’s project in which she will search for the four faces of an actress: “Are actresses who submit to directors and live dependent on the audience in fact prostitutes or are they politicians guided by divine inspiration, or are they simply pathological liars? Must an actress be a zealous worshipper of perfection, or quite the opposite – carnal, spontaneous and imperfect if she is to approach life?”
The other three performances of our new season also debate the phenomena of the artist and the theatre. According to Primož Kozak, the fundamental conflict of Ivan Cankar’s plays – the problem of power – also appears in Scandal in the Valley of St Florian that will be staged by Vito Taufer: “On one side there is ‘the nation’ – a group of people tied into a unified organism by an interest covered up with a phrase, on the other – an intellectual, a creative, sincerely human, internally liberated individual in conflict with ‘the nation’.”
The structure of creating theatre will also be revealed in the performance of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Matjaž Berger’s concept is based on the process of deconstructing Shakespeare’s text, on exposing and staging the structure on the “causal nexus”, on the study of the cause-consequence status of the symptom and phantasm in the negative principle of the dramatic writing in Lear: King Lear as a figure from Goya’s canvasses, and Artaudian character, Cordelia as a “pure desire of pure whiteness”....
And finally, in our new season the Mannian devil meets its antipode in the Dickensian angel: Oliver Twist, who remains unsullied by even the worst evil and pure in the midst of the dirtiest London streets, always wins our affection. We eagerly await the playful, cruel, and witty directorial decisions of Matjaž Pograjc when he stages this masterpiece adapted for stage by Blažka Müller Pograjc.
Our wish is that our theatre stories of this season become yours as well.
of the Mladinsko Theatre