Ivan Cankar (1876-1918) is considered the founder of contemporary Slovene drama and his works are regularly included in the Slovene National Theatre Drama Ljubljana's repertory. Written in 1897, Romantic Souls is Cankar's first dramatic text. It has long been regarded “a young author’s attempt” and, as such, not suitable for the stage or for publishing. The play was not published for the first time until 1922, after the author's death. That same year, it was produced at Drama for the first time. Despite the fact that it includes several motifs which the author continued to develop in his later works, Romantic Souls is still considered “juvenilia.” So far, it has been produced only twice: in Celje in 1972 and in Trieste (Italy) in 1992. Due to its dramaturgical and technical imperfections, Cankar's play is quite open to a contemporary approach, which might show the author from a completely new angle.
The plot of Romantic Souls is rich and complex. It tells the story of the idealized love of the main characters, Dr. Mlakar and Pavla Zarnikova, whose world views are original and extraordinary. Both are aware that they are somehow incompatible with the world, and they see a solution in the idea of longing, or yearning. Along with these characters, Cankar presents the social and political reality of Slovenia – Dr. Mlakar turns away from the public and politics, but the political mills continue grinding and the people behind the scenes keep scheming. The motifs of betrayal and escape are at the core of the kinds of conflicts that Cankar wrote about in his later plays. These two motifs serve as a kind of matrix for and source of his entire dramatic opus.
The Preformance has no Interval.