Linhart’s comedy The Merry Day or Matiček’s Wedding (1790) managed to inaugurate Slovenian playwriting from its very start as an autonomous, linguistically sovereign, shrewdly clever and witty genre, characterized by, in addition to its literary merits, the qualities that are stage specific: compelling characters, energetic dialogue, dramatic plot and numerous situations involving the use of space, set design and other elements of classic theatre.
A leading expert on Slovenian drama, the late Taras Kermauner, argued that there was no other Slovenian play that was as free-thinking in dealing with the body, sexuality, truth, justice and ethics as Matiček, which makes it a paradigmatic representative of a socio-political libertarianism. »Matiček is a play of radical derision; it is a mockery of everything, including itself.«
Mladen Dolar, a distinguished Slovenian philosopher, claims that Linhart demonstrated his immense spiritual liberty by modelling his play on The Wedding of Figaro (1781) by Beaumarchais: »It is hard to imagine the amount of freedom that preconditioned a selection of such a model, as well as what it took to get ripped out of the parochial Slovenian conditions, as well as of local power and subordination structures. Linhart’s freedom consisted in his acknowledgment that the model of his play, i.e. the French model, charged with subversive social ideas indicating different times altogether, was relevant here too, in the petty-minded circumstances of the crownland Carniola. Matiček tells your story, a story set in a given historical moment of our own history. The mottos of the play are our mottos, this time is ours, and the tasks it sets are ours. In terms of its universal validity, the model is as Slovenian as it is French, and this is exactly as much a Slovenian identity can participate in the universal alliance during the historical moment of its time.«
A new staging of the well-liked Slovenian classic comedy will be staged by Janusz Kica, noted for his meticulous and insightful readings of the classics as well as contemporary texts.
MATIČEK: This is the truth! She’s a maiden that has no equal! Round as a toy, fitting and affable! So full of life is she, so full of love and fire! ̶ And shrewd to boot! Rubbing his hands. ̶ Ha, ha, my dearest Baron, do we have a deal? It’s just dawned on me why Your Grace wishes to promote me. I would serve him, while he would serve my wife; I would punch his head, and he would punch mine; I would labour for his in-laws, while he would toil for mine. Matiček, you shan’t get lost so far from here.