Niko Goršič according to E. Ionescu
Directed by Nick Upper
Starring: Niko Goršič and Amadeus Mozart
Dramaturge: Ivica Buljan
Movement: Rosana Hribar
Set design: Nina Goršič
Costumes: Rosana Knavs
Light design: son:DA
Music selection: Niko Goršič
Citations according by translation by Alja Tkačev
Head of technicians: Tilen Vipotnik
Technical crew: Tilen Vipotnik and David Cerar
Lecture of materials: Mateja Dermelj
Photos: Miha Fras
Ironical requiem for adults, students and pupils
Durations: 75 minutes
Premiere: 8th January 2013 at 8pm
First replays: 10th and 11th January 2013 at 8pm
Location: Mini teater, Križevniška 1, Ljubljana
“In the new post-drama production of Mini teater that derives from Ionesco’s Chairs and moderates them into meaningfully shaded Chair(s), chairs that fill the acting space of the original Ionesco’s play are not in abundance. To be exact there is only one chair on stage with footstool next to it; chair for invited “giants” (for eminent guests physically unattended escorted by Ionesco’s Elders) for those that have in the past perhaps sat on some chair and footstool for the host, the actor and director in one person with two names /…/ Nevertheless Goršič, once fully occupied actor and nowadays such viewer exploits the staging opportunity to look into the past of his own creativity and theater in previous and actual country. As a long term actor of the Slovenian youth theater focuses on this exact institution – there he for example starred in known Freyer’s adaptation of Chairs (Prihajajo, 1992) and strolls with a certain dose of self-irony through the personal selection of important, spicy and similar moments in its history. Therefore it is not completely inadequate to ask why this performance with such content involvement of a certain theater was created under a different producer. However Goršič’s requiem that follows the structure of Ionesco’s text after beginning’s strong attachment to it (actor forst appears in a role of old woman) with many transformations continues more and more with his author’s approaches. In a certain moment he stages a clown fest which in Goršič’s terms supports itself to Ionesco’s closeness of diversities, his fear from death and the feeling of the mortality of human life and inserts to the performance something sad. But the emphasis is not at last on comedian entity; and if Goršič’s intent is to entertain he has to be given the acknowledgement that in certain derivations he is truly successful.” Ana Perne, Stoli, stolčki, nato še pručka (Chair, chairs and then footstool); Dnevnik, 11.01.2013
»Uncontrolled gathering of Ionesco’s invisible guests is this time very locally marked: at the scene phantom silhouettes of former and actual directors and actors are gathering; principals, theorists and critics are moving in from all Yugoslavia, largely and without a pause, theater scene is vast and the host welcomes them in heat enthusiasm and also principal consideration from which sooner or later a raw comment is forced on surface. /…/ Chair(s) that are not merely in content but also a visual-multimedia conglomerate (Uršula Berlot, son:DA) are ironic but an intimate commemoration for the actor in his own interpretation that is surrounded by an undiplomatic and brutal open-hearted view of home theater scene. They are a symbolic divorce and at the same time a new wedding. «Zala Dobovšek, Izživeti in izživljati se (To live and to take pleasure in), Delo, 12.01.2013
»If Ionesco’s Chairs are an attempt to beat death Goršič’s Chair(s) in which he offers a subjective view on history of Slovenian youth theater and its meaning for Slovenian culture space, the confrontation with Slovenian theatrical scene, and with himself in which the laughter from the audience is not drawn from large shoes or clown hat but from the detils from anecdotes in which star to premiere audience’s very well-known names of Slovenian there giants. So, in which case do Chair(s) represent and overachievement of an internal event meant for theatrical art? Maybe in the fact that the Chair(s) are not just a story of Slovenian youth theater, of Jovanović, Taufer, Sever … They are in theatrical micro cosmos trapped story of complex, human relations, story of power, desire, loneliness, desire for self-realization, the awareness of own insignificance, self-denial and persistence. And when the shining confetti falls, when with playful persistence under a clown hat the audience is provoked to laughter, through the cracks of comic enters a thought about the transience of the moment. When large things suddenly appear small and small things for a moment appear large. And personally told show continues. A show that is not only a story of Niko Goršič and of Slovenian Youth Theater. It is also a story about questions we all ask ourselves, that rise when finality and eternity coexists. It is a settlement with life.« Saška Rakef RA Slovenija 1, 09.01.2013
About his author performance Niko Goršič before the premiere talked to Nika Arhar for theweb portal RTV SLO: Goršič starts the performance as an Old lady following the Ionesco’s text, of course shortened and only with her words. Afterwards he relocates to the role of the Old man that rapidly turns into a clown, court jester and as an actor himself in plurality of aspects probably even someone else. Chair(s) are an author performance that derives from the drama text of Eugѐne Ionesco. In the dramaturge Goršič completely followed Ionesco, kept the main theme lines but changed and adapted the context to the modern times – connected it to Slovenian youth theater in which he played for over 40 years and with the story from his own career – and built the performance in post-modern style of stylish conglomerate.
»The ending in Ionesco’s Chairs is complex for staging and many creators have a problem with it. I have chosen a co-actor that most beautifully concludes Ionesco as well as my requiem. I did not want to make up the Speaker – there have been too many. I think I have with Mozart as the Speaker at human’s death, with his requiem instead of stuttering Speaker intended a great homage for Ionesco. Today’s attitude towards absurd, mine at least, is no longer tragic. We live this absurd; we are aware of it and sometimes make fun of. It is a completely different aspect on absurd and the world is different as well.« More from the interview Chairs and Char(s): Šaljiva učna ura "človeka s pručko" oz. sodobni komentar na Ionesca za MMC, January 10th 2013
Chair(s) also on the portal of Slovenian Theater Personal overlook into the past of (Yugo)Slovenian theater, Sigledal, January 8th 2013.
CITATIONS FROM THE ESSAY "STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS OF THE LANGUAGE" BY TARAS KERMAUNER
“For today’s wider Slovenian public Eugene Ionesco is a classic … Battle spears have fought around Ionesco (and Beckett, Sartre, Camus etc) … With Ionescu Stage 57 gained legitimation of the avant-garde, non-conformistic, critical and ideologically problematic theater. But besides the resisantce of the official cultural politics it sustained: Ionesco can therefore be seen as a grandfather or emblem in the name of who the restructure of the Slovene after war drama was fought … Ionesco is a radical critic of the idealism and logo centrism … Rotten meat of the Novo Mesto’s metaphysical tradition is falling off piece by piece, we are faced with the brutal reality of some fake world. World based upon a lie, fiction, nothing … But what is what it is? What is it like? To this Ionesco, that is even more eminently philosophical dramatic in CHAIR(S), gives a single answer: The only solid reality is human’s desire, recognition, dreaming … subconscious-conscious yet in majority subconscious practice of desires, constructions of the world. The goal is only one – to be God. Meaning: to know of the Truth, to be in a position (role), when everyone depends on you, when you are the absolute Father, identical to the Idea (Logos). That is the desire of every single one of us, it is the law under which we are constructed, it is the old man’s life tendency … of a human’s self-deceit, reality, desires, dreams, imagination, of the Message that people are waiting for but resists to come (the parallel to the Beckett’s text Waiting for Godot)”
ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE
Niko Goršič is in public life of Slovenia and ex-Yugoslavia an original figure. Actor, director, dance and art critic, passionate theater and exhibition visitor, film lover, reader, satire … He is a part of urban legends known by salons of the 18th century. His interest precedes artistic and social events. He is a passionate analyst that offers suggestions, definitions, categorizations and constant changes to the cultural scene. And it is of most importance that he has dedicated all of his time to the promotion of (post)modernism in all his forms. Innovativeness is for Goršič conditio sine qua non of artistic creativity and avant-garde the mother of all practices. Therefore it is not unusual that the stage is as topos of avant-garde his main fortress. All from the beginning of Mini teater Niko Goršič is its actor, friend and critic. Chair(s) are his personal view of the past (Yugo)Slovenian theater and intimate retrospective of grand career which was never preceded by narcissism, acknowledgement or café anecdotes but is deeply integrated into the consciousness of the meaning of merged, joined (first Slovenian Youth Theater, then Slovenian theater and art in general).
The inspiration for him were this time Ionesco’s Chairs – its cleverness is integrated into dialect of modern Slovenian theater which was already analyzed by one of Goršič’s predecessors Taras Kermauner. Older man and woman live in isolated house surrounded by the sea. To kill boredom they are repeating the same stories and moves. The man has a message he would like to send to humanity. So he calls for the Speaker that he/she would know how to carry the message to the people better than him. He gathers the most important people of his time. He predicts a char for each and every one of them but no one will sit in them for these people do not exist – they are just phantoms. Goršič’s effort not to forget “the historical truth” of the greatness of Youth Theater and its world mission if enormous, tragi-comical in certain moments. Niko Goršič, actor will/has kindly invited all the directors, CEO’s and actors he has ever worked with throughout history to hear his message. At the end Ionesco’s old man and woman throw themselves out the window, the Speaker remains on his own to turn to the invisible crowd. Message will not be delivered.
The potential of the story reminds us of the meta-physics of Kafka and Borghes, laughter of old people, Fellini’s heroes, unbeatable pathos of Mozart … It is a comical and tragic side of human existence that begins to lose it sense. When an old man is a child in him the nostalgia for childhood, lost happiness appears and he moves from play to regression. Actor behaves as a child, a child and clown are creatures that are surprised by all that goes on in the world. Ivica Buljan, dramaturge
ABOUT THE ACTOR – DIRECTOR
NIKO GORŠIČ – NICK UPPER (directorial pseudonym)
Actor, director, performer and writer.
Niko Goršič also known as director Nick Upper graduated from acting in 1970 at Faculty for Theatre, Film, Radio and Television Ljubljana. He spent his fruitful career contributing to international reputation of SMG - Slovensko Mladinsko Theatre (over the years he toured more than 300 festival in 28 countries). He was one of the frontmen of theatre postmodernism in the former Yugoslavia appearing in around 150 roles and directing around 20 productions. In the seventies he also appeared as performer in visual arts related projects and innovated acting with puzzle technique. In 1999 he established Global Theatre that had been dedicated to research of classical theatre and performance theatre interaction (productions featured at over 70 festivals). Up to date he collaborated with 35 theatre institutions. He currently dedicates most of his time to the shaping of Balkan's cultural parallel (he is directing in Slovenia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia). He received 28 prizes and awards (mostly in theatre). He also studied art history and music. He had been active as an editor, journalist, dance and visual arts critic. He founded several awards, Zlata ptica (Golden Bird) award for young artists is still being awarded annually.
Performance was created in terms of the European project »Puppet Nomad Academy 3« that is co-financed by the European commission program Culture (2007-2013).
The program and realization of Mini teater is being co-financed by the Ministry for education, science, culture and sport of the Republic of Slovenia and Municipality of Ljubljana, Department of Culture.