About the director
”I have named Persona a chamber work. Also because of music – music in which with an utmost limited number of voices and characters I explore the meaning of numerous motives. The background is research wrapped in a mist. All else is distillation … “ Bergman once wrote about his work that researches the relationship between two women: a successful actress Elizabeth that became mute during a performance of Elektra and Alma, a nurse that takes care of her.
Sensitive and deep about the space of different masks
June 8, Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO, by Nika Arhar
The theatre MINI TEATER closed the season with the staging of Persona directed by Janez Pipan and performed by an excellent acting cast – a performance where the space is enriched with plunging into a person's intimacy and his/her external expressions.
A delicate psychological research of mostly female characters, an exceptionally piercing approach, a disclosure of spaces with questions on human nature – these are the characteristics marking Ingmar Bergman's works in film and theatre. In Persona, these features develop through questions on identity, through passages between true or false identity, the intimate and the external image, the taking over of different roles and masks. All these features were upgraded by the director Janez Pipan - along with a strong acting cast and a creative team – by establishing a wider frame of duality between the play and the truth, between artistic creativity and life, between fiction and reality.
… The relation between the two main characters catches the atmosphere of Bergman's works through a perfectionist psychological staging of individuals and relations. The staging is completed by thoughtfully measured, non-intrusive yet not imperceptible set, light, music and costume elements. Venetian blinds (set design by Ana Rahela Klopčič) along with the lighting create a veiled space with subtle markings of something behind, something hidden yet not without impact, while the opening and the closing of blinds creates additional nuances in meaning. The costumes (Rosana Knavs) are psychologically defining, yet still open in signs, supporting individual characters, yet still granting them their own expressivity. The music (Aldo Kumar) co-creates a delicate space of intimate psychological disclosures and concealments.
Not only for its reference to Bergman's work the performance – with excellent acting and its complex staging – represents a compact, sensitive and suggestive theatrical piece making the spectator leave the theatre filled with intellectual and emotional interest nesting in his thoughts for quite some time in the night.
To be a persona
SiGledal, June 7, 2010, by Nika Jurov
... means to be infantile? A psychological drama uncovering the veils of human subconscious and questioning it through thrillingly.
Yesterday the premiere of the psychological drama Persona took place at MINI TEATER, a staging created after the text and the film of the legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. This time the director is Janez Pipan; Persona is the second Bergman's work directed by Pipan this year (The Autumn Sonata, premiere at SLG Celje in February 2010). Plaudits from red seats in the Bernard-Marie Koltès hall just would not stop. The psychologically loaded two-hour staging kept threading question after question since it was offered not merely as an evening event but also as an exceptionally strong theatrical staging that is transferred from the theatre into the spectator's reflexion.
Janja Majzelj performs an extremely a complicated yet also a very life-true psychological portrait of a medical nurse turning from a sobbing and supplicating to an aggressive and later again humiliated and controlled person.
Polona Juh on the other hand is trying to retain throughout an incredibly ice-still face; even while laughing she is lacking true warmth, every smile that seemed compassionate before becomes fake and unfeeling after the betrayal with the letter. Elisabet is presented as a person of a strong and senseless character; even at Alma's sexual intercourse with her husband coming to visit her in great devotion, she remains cold and unaffected.
Fascinating co-acting of Polona Juh and Janja Majzelj
Večer, June 10, 2010, by Anja Golob
Janja Majzelj as Alma's sister and Polona Juh in the role of Elisabet Vogler are brilliant – their exceptional acting talent is once again confirmed in Persona.
Contrary to some other actual cases within the Slovenian theatrical space, Janez Pipan is not at all naive in his directing the Bergman's Persona; already at entering the hall it is absolutely obvious from the set-up of the stage space that the theatrical staging will undoubtedly address 'the elephant in the room'; even better: not only through tiny references (Strindberg, Rilke, etc.) yet through the entire concept of the performance, Pipan reckons upon an educated spectator being enough acquainted with Bergman's film as well as with at least some of the most important references from Bergman's life and work. The performance is definitely open also to a film unlettered person but for such a person it might be powerful mostly in the strongest acting scenes, otherwise it appears rather disunited, which in my opinion is the result of a great number of topic units being opened one after another; the topics however are not dealt with equally measured depth and thoroughness, not all are analysed in detail or given sense – the question is whether this is possible at all…
In the space of an image
Dnevnik, June 9, 2010, byAna Perne
Janez Pipan the director and the author of the text adaptation does not create upon the theatrical transfer of Bergman's film poetics of images but he prefers to move within the very image shaping which is theatrical; however, in incorporating the proces of creation or in staging his directing interventions, there are places where he decided to express also Bergman's film questionings. Persona is being created in front of the audience; the main characters are joined by Him, by Bergman (later as husband/lover); the actors enter the space where they will shape the director's script – which however, in its theatrical form, does not embrace some of the (introductory) film images but is rather enriched with some passages from three literary and topic-wise similar works. If Considering that with his title idea Bergman marks also his derivation from Jung's psychologically analytic concept of a persona (a social role of an individual), and he is focused upon the duality reflecting the question of power, these same aspects are emphasised in a similar way by literary supplements (Cendrars, Strindberg, Rilke) which find their sesible place within the complex of this wide range of topics.
Facing the other, through your intimacy and authenticity, as it is presented (by questioning the roles) in the meeting of the two women, in communication (through words or through silence, through the speaking of one for both of them), is given its coloured athmosphere in this theatrical staging by sound interventions created by Aldo Kumar. It is happening all in one unified scene created by the set designer Ana Rahela Klopčič, who in her concept seems to include several longer lasting periods (slow opening of blinds), otherwise marking the spaces with smaller changes. The relation between the medical nurse and the patient/actress in the phases of their getting closer and reaching unification is emphasised by costumes created by Rosana Knavs, yet it isconstructed bythe acting itself. The staging of Persona – although introducing the dimension of image-shaping, of breaks and questions – is based on acting skills offering the central line of a drama.
Hunting the slipping
Delo, June 5, 2010, by Andrej Jaklič
… The drama weight such as lain upon the two main actresses is not the same as upon Him (Branko Završan), He however creates the crucial dilemma: in the role of a director, he put the entire story under a question mark – is the actress's and the sister's world merely their fruit, or is a combination of different layers covering one another; a fable of a man, his artistic creation, a fiction developed from his own true fragments… The answer within the directing of Janez Pipan remains deliberately open; and this very openess is the confirmation: the existence (and the creativity) is an interlacement of a number of layers – some of them clear yet most of them remain inexplicable if not undiscovered.
Convincing and susceptible
Opinions of connaisseurs
Mladina, June 20, 2010
Milica Antić - Gaber, Profesor at the Ljubljana University, Philosophic Faculty: “Bergman's Persona, directed by Janez Pipan is an exceptional performance from every point of view: carefully selected acting team, perfect acting, topic tuned music. The silence of the un spoken words stimulate the spectators to reflect about the relation between the word and the silence, between fiction and reality, between a play and true life, yet also about the pressures they are living in, about distresses the women in our modern society have to deal with when facing cross-fire expectations and possibilities in realisation of different social roles.”
Mladina, June 20, 2010
Tina Košir, Knjiga mene briga (=educative TV talk show): “I have to admit, I am a Bergman fan. Bergman's aesthetics, lucidity, psychological piercing approach, his visual and verbal mastership – this is all very dear to me. His 'obscurity' - he is reproached with by some -does not bother me. Also Persona under Pipan's conductor's baton enchanted me. Definitely, a performance that is going to follow me for a long and which is going to revolve in my mind for quite some time. Caps off for the excellent actors, Polona Juh is simply brilliant.”