Between poetry and pop-culture
21 May 2010

Tsvetaeva's poem was ahead of the poet's contemporaries: instead of the traditionally portrayed vampire who lives segregated from society and brings only death, her vampire has an added component: Eros. And these Eros–Thanatos vampires are the kind that has so radically entered pop culture (for example, the Twilight series). […]

Since the characters are not built in a traditional way, the actors also had a difficult task: they didn't develop their roles as complex psychological units, but moved on the edge between poetry and drama. Their acting contributions were superbly realised despite demanding conditions; especially, Primož Bezjak excelled as the Swain and his presence controlled the “character” and the space. With his looks (and we should mention here his unique hairdo) and acting technique he seemed a natural vampire. […]

The director conceived the performance in two parts. The first one was imbued with a folkloric hue, the second one was more modernist. In the first part, Tanja Zgonc's choreography and Mitja Vrhovnik Smrekar's music particularly shone. The elements of dance were physically rather demanding and the actors rose to the challenge with their coordinated and good execution. Considering that the Swain (Primož Bezjak) won the heart of young Marusja (Janja Majzelj) with his dancing, this emphasis on movement and physicality was the right touch.

Although the performance was conceived as something folkloric, almost ritual, the director managed to use this element to achieve strong suspense and horror with sporadic comical moments. […]

The creativity of the costume designer Ana Savić Gecan was particularly expressive and obvious in the second, non-folkloric part. In both parts, however, it established the contrast between the opposing groups of people on which the entire performance was fundamentally based.

[…] Beside the already mentioned oppositional characters (vampire–people, innocent couple–guests), there are other antagonisms also present, for example antagonisms between love and death, between lust and fear, between pleasure and pain. This is particularly obvious in the character of Marusja, for whom pain and pleasure are the only possible choices. To prolong her pleasure with the vampire, she even concedes to death. Even after death her story repeats: when the priest tries to save her, she hears another voice through his mouth: the voice of the vampire with whom she happily enters damnation in the end. Again she chooses pain to ensure longer pleasure. Fortunately, the performance brought mostly pleasure through horror.

Kaja Pregrat


25 May 2010

If I wrote that everyone at the Mladinsko who worked on the performance Vampire […] suffered (as they are sometimes called) “Christ’s pains”, I certainly wouldn’t exaggerate. You can ask the collaborating artists. Demanding rehearsals, a difficult translation from Russian (and French) and two distinctly different parts of the performance have left traces and consequences in the cast. And also in the audience: the audience, however, felt only enthusiasm.

Vito Tofaj

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