Silvana Orel Kos

Director and dramaturge:
Ivica Buljan

Pia Zemljič and Gregor Gruden

Set and costume design:
Ana Savić Gecan

Mitja Vrhovnik Smrekar

Opening performance:
February  2009

Performance for children and youth

Story of a mermaid who decides to sacrifice her adorable fin for human image according to Andersen's fairy tale. Story about forceful and unspoken love and desire.

About the performance

The performance Little Mermaid represents an original experiment trying to join three different theatre genres: story-telling, performance for children with a special dramaturgy, and performance as a hybrid form at the edge of visual art. Since the very beginning, Mini theatre has nursed this researching approach to the theatre for children. We always try to invent ways that are not following the traditional forms (e.g. a special text treatment in Hansel and Gretchen written by Andrej Rozman Roza; the theatre-puppet performance Mojca and the Animals; The Story of Tsar Saltan staged as an artistic cabaret, Thumbelina created as the first virtual puppet performance in the world). The goal in the performance Little Mermaid is to make a step towards the post-drama theatre for children.

First, two actors will represent two story tellers, then they will interpret different roles, and in the end, they will act as creators of stage action, energy and space shaping.

In her essay The Silence of Female Pleasure, Renata Salecl wrote that the mermaid-siren's codified signal is a warning for danger. The sound of the sirens calls for immobility of time; it freezes up the moment; for a moment it turns the listeners to stone. The classical mythology explains the birth of sirens in various tales. Ovid calls them 'maids who wanted wings from the gods' so it would be easier for them to find their abducted friend Persephone. Others ascribe their metamorphosis into sea creatures with women heads and breasts and fish-like lower part to Demetrio’s rage. If we compare life to a journey, then sirens represent traps that rise from desires and passions in which we are entangled and which later we bitterly regret. Sirens represent the unconscious, the magic and horrible dreams happening to us so that we can never forget how close we are to fish and birds in the darkness of time. In these dreams all our primal instincts come to surface. Tzvetan Todorov claims that the siren song represents a self-reference statement about the existence of a song to which death is always connected. And not only the listeners of the siren chant will die while listening; if the sirens fail in alluring their prey they will kill themselves.

Andersen's fairytale about a little mermaid represents a basic situation placed in inversion. She herself is Odysseus whom the sirens are trying to allure although they have no true interest in him. The siren is not the object of Prince's desire. Someone else's desire drives the subject into horror and causes fear.

Within the logics of the sea world, the Prince is this Someone, while the Little Mermaid finds pleasure in the rituals of transformation and in planning her escape from the depth of the sea. So, here is the danger for her: she wants to become the object of Prince's desire and not the object in which the Prince could find his own special pleasure. And when she has no more the thing that fills her up more than her own being – her voice – the Little Mermaid becomes a symbol upon which the whole industry of emotions is based.

The goal of the performance is to offer the young audience the widest possible reference frame – from pleasure in the story to complex execution structures used to play with the possibilities of pairs (actress/actor as story tellers, husband/wife as owners of a travelling theatre; Little Mermaid/Prince as roles). An important role in the performance goes also to the visual component alluding to modern theatre practice, and also to the music performed live on the stage.

About the author

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was a Danish author who wrote plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, but is is best known for his fairy tales. His works number in the 3000s and have been translated to more than 125 languages. His stories are considered timeless and are enjoyable no matter the age.