News

SNT Drama Ljubljana productions to be presented at the 55th Maribor Theatre Festival

At the upcoming 55th edition of the Maribor Theatre Festival held from 12 to 25 October at several festival venues in Maribor, two of our productions that opened in the 2019/20 season will be presented. The competition programme will include Alice in Bed, directed by Dorian Šilec Petek, while this apple, made of gold, directed by Primož Ekart (co-produced by the SNT Drama Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom and the City Theatre of Ljubljana) will feature in the accompanying festival programme. Female Outcasts, directed by Mirjana Medojević, was also selected for the competition programme but since it has not been a part of our active repertoire for a while, it can not be performed at the festival.

Programme keynotes of the 2020/21 season: Ten new productions on the Main Stage and the Small Stage, including three world premieres and five first Slovenian productions that will be celebrated also by the 100th year of Theatre Programme series published by the SNT Drama Ljubljana

The repertoire of the 2020/21 season, entitled Flotation, presents a colourful mosaic of meticulously chosen plays that will come to life on stage in a mix of diverse poetics and approaches by carefully chosen directors, authors and outstanding resident ensemble members of the Drama. It is our profound wish that despite, or precisely because of, changed social conditions, we can present a creatively exciting upcoming season that will revolve around the individual and society in a time of uncertainty, change and anticipation of a new horizon. The upcoming season will also mark a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the SNT Drama Ljubljana Theatre Programme series, a prestigious publication that accompanies each production in our repertoire. Occasionally, the series also features monographs as well as almanac-like and special edition volumes.  
Current subscribers of the Drama will be able to renew their subscriptions by phone from 17 to 25 August 2020. The autumn subscription signing-up is expected to begin in September and will continue in October for students.

 The opening premiere of the 2020/21 repertoire on the Main Stage will present the first Slovenian production of Scorched, a play by Wajdi Mouawad, a Canadian playwright of Lebanese descent living in France, directed by Nina Rajić Kranjac. Scorched explores war, a generation that starts it and a generation born during its rampage, as well as a generation that is changed drastically due to the war crisis. According to the director, the production, originally planned to open as the final premiere of the 2019/20 before the outbreak of the pandemic, is a portrayal of a person who wants to influence the world, make it meaningful and give it an identity so that s/he can find him/herself as an individual.
In October, a stage adaptation of the book My Husband by Rumena Bužarovska, one of the most praised and internationally acclaimed Macedonian writers, directed by Ivana Djilas, who is also the author of the stage adaptation together with dramaturg Ana Duša, will open on the Main Stage. As they put it, this will be an intimate production featuring a cast of strong women and outstanding actresses, inspired by the author’s confrontation with a culture of passivity, inaction and acceptance of almost unbearable relationships and living conditions.
In December, the famous one-act play Endgame by the Irish playwright and versatile author Samuel Beckett, directed by Diego de Brea, will open on the Main Stage. It is an absurd story about four marred and physically disabled antiheroes staying in a shelter in the middle of a devastated nothingness.
In January 2021, one of the greatest love stories of the world drama, Cement by Heiner Müller, directed by Sebastijan Horvat, will open on the Main Stage. This will be the second part of an international trilogy, created by director Horvat and dramaturg Milan Marković Matthis after Müller’s Cement. Each production focuses on different aspects of the play. As Horvat and Marković Matthis put it, the play is a love letter to a certain breaking point, a rupture between the existing and the radically new. The first premiere has already taken place in Zagreb, Croatia, while the opening in Ljubljana will be followed by a production in Belgrade, Serbia.
In February 2021, a world premiere of a stage adaptation of The Fig Tree, the award-winning novel by Goran Vojnović, adapted by Simona Hamer and directed by Luka Martin Škof will open on the Main Stage. The Fig Tree addresses a number of important topics, including the disintegration of the former state of Yugoslavia, the war, the erased, and the issue of foreignness in the broadest sense of the word. In its core, it also touches upon the eternally universal theme, love.
In April 2021, the season 2020/21 will be concluded on the Main Satge with the first Slovenian production of the distinctly multi-layered play The Mother by a Polish avant-garde playwright Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz. A family drama about a complicated relationship between an elderly widowed mother who is an impoverished aristocrat and her son Leon, a young, ambitious intellectual who realizes that humanity has found itself in an extremely unenviable position, will be directed by Juš A. Zidar.

The new season in our Small Stage venue will be opened by the world premiere of A New Race, a dark satirical comedy, written and directed by Matjaž Zupančič. It was scheduled to open in April 2020 but was postponed due to the corona virus epidemic. Two young painters, Adolf Hitler and Viktor Karlstein, wish to enrol at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, but fail. Much later, in 1944, both are in Berlin. In the meantime, Hitler has become the Führer, and Karlstein has become his personal scientist who now constructs two new monstrous beings, a man and a woman, for the needs of the Wehrmacht. Using a satirical slant on Nazism, Zupančič wanted »to present a quilting point of the idea of ​​pure race and the notion of degenerate art«.
In October 2020, the first Slovenian staging of Every Brilliant Thing  by British playwright Duncan Macmillan, directed by Nataša Barbara Gračner, will open on the Small Stage. This mono- and psychodrama with a touch of stand-up comedy that explores depression and suicide in a non-invasive and subtle way, will try to strike a delicate balance between a sobering loss and cathartic laughter, in the process of rehearsals and with each show to create »a list of things« worth living for. According to Nataša Barbara Gračner, who will make a debut as a director at the Drama, Every Brilliant Thing is »one of those plays that make it possible to question taboos«.  
In January 2021, the opening of the first Slovenian production of The Effect, a play by British playwright Lucy Prebble, directed by Eva Nina Lampič, will follow on the Small Stage. This intimate story of emotions and relationships can be appreciated as a freshly informative investigative thriller, examining human behaviour and beliefs, while testing conflicting views and constantly establishing a critical attitude.
The 2020/21 season on the Small Stage will be concluded in April 2021 with the first Slovenian production of The Scorpion, a play by French author Véronique Olmi, directed by Nina Šorak. Portraying family intimacy and relationships that are laid bare by the visit of a daughter living in the city at her parents’ house in the countryside, the author unravels many current and burning contemporary topics, such as xenophobia, narrow-mindedness, rejection of otherness, while skilfully combining its main ideas with a touch of humour.

At the end of the 2019/20 season, a one-hour film was made featuring the SNT Drama Ljubljana resident ensemble members, guest directors and authors to present the upcoming season repertoire, while also documenting and showing the Drama building as we eagerly anticipate the beginning of its wide-ranging revamp and makeover. Watch the actors making short addresses from a variety of previously unknown, never-seen-before locations in the Drama backstage, and the directors speaking from their homes and from other venues outside the Drama. Sadly, we were hit and utterly surprised by the onset of the pandemic in the most intense period of our extremely successful 2019/20 season, according to all indicators. Suddenly we found ourselves in a kind of vacuum and uncertainty at almost every step. Nonetheless, we wish to stay focused on the future and strive to carry out the upcoming season according to the plans we had set before the summer as much as possible. Unfortunately, no one can predict what the situation will be like in the autumn 2020 and later. As Igor Samobor, the managing and artistic director of the Drama stated in the film, »following a series of uncertain and unpredictable events that disrupted all our established rituals, the creators of the Drama programme will try to look at the world with as much optimism as possible and seek those good things that make life worth living«. You can watch the film at the following link and on the Drama’s official website.

We wish you a lovely summer and hope we stay close in the upcoming season.

 

At this year’s Bitef Theatre Festival two of our productions will compete for awards: 2020 and Lungs

In 2019, our production of Ali: Fear Eats Your Soul won all three awards at the Bitef Theatre Festival in Belgrade, Serbia. As the artistic director of the Bitef, Ivan Medenica, put it at a press conference on Tuesday, 16 June, at the Nemška Hiša venue, 'it does not happen often that a single production wins all the prizes, awarded by the jury and the audience'. Last year, our production, directed by Sebastijan Horvat won the Mira Trailović Grand Prix, the Newspaper Politika Award for best director as well as the audience award.

The upcoming 54th edition of the Bitef Festival will include two of our productions in its competition line-up: 2020, directed by Ivica Buljan, a co-production of the SNT Drama Ljubljana, the City Theatre Ljubljana and Cankarjev dom, and Lungs, directed by Žiga Divjak.

Invitation to a special press conference at the presentation of the 54th Bitef Festival programme and festival awards on 16 June at 12.00

It gives us great pleasure to welcome you again at the Drama after a long time. We kindly invite you jointly with the Belgrade International Theatre Festival Bitef to a special press conference on Tuesday, 16 June at 12.00 in the adjacent Nemška hiša building.

On this occasion, the visiting delegation from Serbia will solemnly present the “Mira Trailović” Grand Prix for the best production and the Newspaper Politika Award for best direction of the 53rd Bitef Festival to our production of Ali: Fear Eats Your Soul.  

Afterwards, the artistic director of the festival, Dr Ivan Medenica will together with the guests (their names should remain a secret until Tuesday), exclusively present the programme of the upcoming 54th Bitef which will take place in the first half of September in Belgrade. As stated by the Bitef, »in the upcoming festival main programme, the audience will as always be able to enjoy theatre productions of the highest quality from Serbia and the wider region, as well as touring performances by many leading European theatres. One of the countries that is traditionally presented at the Bitef is also Slovenia. During recent festival editions, it was observed that Slovenian productions were praised as the most remarkable ones by the audiences and professional community alike. «

The Lives of Others – world premiere of a play by Jan Krmelj (31 January)

On Friday, 31 January at 20.00 The Lives of Others, a play by Jan Krmelj based on the acclaimed film by German screenwriter and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck will open on the Small Stage. The multi-awarded film The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007. The author of the stage adaptation and director Jan Krmelj is also the stage designer for the play The Lives of Others. The cast includes Janez Škof,  Uroš Fürst and Saša Mihelčič. Other members of the creative team are Diana Koloini (dramaturg), composers Silence (Primož Hladnik and Boris Benko), Špela Ema Veble (costume designer) Jan Krmelj and Vlado Glavan (lighting designers), Kristina Anželj (language consultant), Nika Prusnik Kardum (assistant to the director) and Mila Peršin (assistant to the stage designer). In February, you can see the play on 1, 3, 4, 5, 27, 28, 29 at 20.00 on the Small Stage. 

In the film and in the play, we follow the story of Gerd H. Wiesler (Janez Škof), an agent of the infamous Stasi secret service, acting repressively in the German Democratic Republic until the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Wiesler constantly surveilles two artists – a playwright George Dreyman (Uroš Fürst) and actress and theatre star Christa-Maria Sieland (Saša Mihelčič).Through constant and close undercover surveillance of their entire life events and decisions, the agent’s worldview changes, until he gradually feels uncertain about his own role in the world and the repressive state system in which he lives and operates.

World premiere: 2020, science cabaret after Yuval Noah Harari’s texts (25 January)

Thirteen billion and a half years ago, a massive big bang explosion happened ... Two million and a half years ago, human-like creatures evolved ... Seventy thousand years ago, Australopithecus, Neanderthals, Homo erectus, Homo sapiens and other human species roamed the Earth. ... Now, the premiere of the co-production 2020 is about to happen. Conceived and directed by Ivica Buljan, the production translates into theatre language popular science books Sapiens (A Brief History of Humankind), Homo Deus (A Brief History of Tomorrow) and 21 Lessons for the 21st century by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari.

The actors will appear in a variety of different roles, from an illiterate Neanderthal to a cow on a modern industrial meat farm; scientific discoveries and predictions will be commented upon by their own reflections on the world; they will express themselves with live musical accompaniment, rhythmic choreography and singing, in a sort of a reality show, resulting in an unusual theatre production with elements of performance theatre. The creators will take full advantage of the grand setting and technical resources of the Gallus Hall stage. The cast  – Iva Babić, Mojca Funkl, Jure Henigman, Nina Ivanišin, Benjamin Krnetić, Nika Korenjak, Marko Mandić, Zvezdana Mlakar, Jette Ostan Vejrup, Matej Puc, Timon Šturbej, Matej Zemljič and  Jurij Zrnec  – will certainly be up to this ambitious task.  

Nina Ivanišin wins the Prešeren Fund Award

Nina Ivanišin is a recipient of the national Prešeren Fund Award for her roles created over the last three years.

According to Primož Jesenko, a jury panel member, »Nina Ivanišin has for the past three years left an indelible impression with her numerous outstanding roles on her resident stage of the SNT Drama Ljubljana, appearing as Antigone, Francka, Nežka and Agata Schwarzkobler, as well as a protagonist in several original independent theatre projects. Her interpretations can be synonymous with infuriated rage, but also with subdued endurance. Minimalistic and using sparse means of expression, her acting always speaks volumes of the inner torment of her character: her sceptical, congenially passive body, and alert, bright eyes are able to see what is happening from within, and her stamina emerges from an idiosyncratic inner calm. In Lungs, a contemporary play, she confers her lines with a sophisticated sense of pace, rendering them eruptively, while her presence constantly and boldly intertwines different levels of reality.

Resembling a deeply absorbed caryatide, Ivanišin invariably manages to involve the viewers subtly in her interpretation. In the same breath, she manages with remarkable sensitivity and intuition to impart her personal co-author-like gesture into the performance. The expressive quality of her acting backs up an unspoken subtext that goes beyond what is seen and said. This distinctive touch makes her unique and at the same time incomprehensible, as well as »untamed«.

The first Slovenian production of Maria, a new and highly topical play by the acclaimed British playwright Simon Stephens, to open on the Main Stage directed by Janusz Kica

On Saturday, 11 January at 20.00 Maria, a contemporary play by one of Britain’s most prolific playwrights Simon Stephens, will premiere on the Main Stage. In his play, Stephens deftly identifies many issues, problems and existential distress of contemporary precarious world and, through the eyes of the main character Ria, also delivers his optimistic and upbeat comment on them.

The director of the first Slovenian production of Maria is Janusz Kica who also selected the music in the production. The play was translated into Slovenian by Tina Mahkota, dramaturg was Darja Dominkuš. The international creative team consists of set designer Karin Fritz, costume designer and recipient of the Prešeren Award Bjanka Adžić Ursulov, video designer Sandi Skok, lighting designer Aleš Vrhovec, language consultant Tatjana Stanič, assistant to the director (student) Aljoša Živadinov, assistant to the dramaturg Zala Norčič, and assistant to the language consultant Jože Volk. The cast includes fifteen actors, some of them appearing in multiple roles: Eva Jesenovec, Saša Tabaković, Vanja Plut, Sabina Kogovšek, Silva Čušin, Valter Dragan, Barbara Žefran, Rok Vihar, Matic Valič, Gorazd Logar, Boris Mihalj, Eva Stražar, Branko Jordan, Klemen Janežič and Matija Rozman. Previewing on 10 January at 19.30, the first repeat performances of Maria will be presented on 23, 24, 28 and 29 January at 19.30.

In his second to last play Maria which premiered in January 2019 at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, Stephens insightfully and wittily explores the hopelessness and soullessness of the neoliberal system, while also shedding light on the rare remnants of humanity in it. In Maria, many features of Stephens’s writing and worldview are reflected. These include his sympathy for the young generation, as well as his propensity to depict a world that is desperate, alienated and sad. Stephens calls himself an »aggressive optimist«, but he resists to simplify topical issues with his optimism. On the contrary, he presents them in their complexity, and in order to portray them, he uses humour as well as a touch of irony.

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