Robert Waltl

Silvana Orel Kos

Nika Roznam, Peter Harl and Anže Zevnik

Tamara Obrovac

Andrej Rozman Roza

Natalija Manojlović

Visual design:
Ben Cain and Tina Gverovič

Costume design:
Ana Savić - Gecan

Opening performance:
April 2008

Emotional story of an ugly duck, that no one cared about ... with a happy ending with him turning into a lovely, beautiful swan.

About the performance

The performance The Ugly Duckling was created after the original story of the great fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen. The well known story – about the ugly duckling who nobody likes because he is so ugly – is reconstructed and placed into a nowadays theatre world of narration, a world of physical performance and visual art. Three actors play several roles and create a multi-layer and colourful performance where mutual relations are cross-examined. They play roles of animals representing personifications of different types of people with different relations among one another. The performance is actually dedicated to the youngest audience yet it will attract adults, too. It exposes questions about beauty, where the inside beauty is much more important than the appearance; it discusses the importance of the family and alliance; it brings a strong and nowadays very important message: the real family is the one that helps you grow up and not the natural one where the contacts are totally cut. This will help all adopted children to accept the truth about their origin in the moment when they are facing it. The performance crushes the fear about being different, about being isolated. It helps them to grow more self-confident. It deals also with issues of control and ruling on one side, and true love and friendship on the other. The Ugly Duckling is Andersen's autobiographic transposition into the medium of a fairytale for children. Due to his simplicity, a sincere, innocent and small creature causes a crucial change in the hearts of other wavering characters. He changes into a beautiful and mature personality, actually into an artist.

The director of the performance is Robert Waltl excelling in directing Andersen's texts for his subtle and original approach. He gathered around himself an international team of well acknowledged artists. The translation was performed by Silvana Orel Kos, a professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts, Department for Translations. The music was created by Tamara Obrovac, a modern ethnic singer and flute player, a composer and song writer, one of the most recognisable and creative personalities in the Croatian music scene. Using Histrian folk music and dialect in creating her own musical expression, reaching from pop to jazz, she became very popular in Croatia and abroad. She worked with Robert Waltl several times before – their first co-operation in Slovenia was in the performance The Mish-Mash Bakery on the stage of the Ljubljana Youth Theatre. The English artist Ben Cain and the Croatian artist Tina Gverović are the authors of the visual concept and the extremely attractive set design. They both live in London. Not long ago, they worked in Slovenia in creating the performance The Quartet directed by Ivica Buljan. With Robert Waltl they worked in several his projects abroad. The costume designer Ana Savić-Gecan is a regular co-worker at Mini teater. She designed costumes for most of the performances directed by Robert Waltl in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. She was born in 1969 in Zagreb. For her heterogeneous work in film art and theatre she was awarded a number of awards and acknowledgements – among others also the golden arena for the best costume design in 2001 and in 2004. The young and promising Croatian choreographer and dancer Natalija Manojlović created the choreography in this performance. The songs were written by Andrej Rozman Roza, a well known Slovenian theatre playwright and writer of poems for children, who also creates his own theatre performances and writes satirical poetry for adults. He used to be the leading character and an actor in the Theatre of Ana Monro, as an actor he played many roles in films and on television. The language supervisor Mateja Dermelj is the recipient of the Ivy Garland 2008, the award of the Slovenian Drama Artists Association for art achievements in other, off-stage fields, in her case in the filed of stage language culture and language supervision. Light design was created by Gregor Plantan.

This performance presents Nika Rozman, Peter Harl and Anže Zevnik, three 3rd grade students of the Ljubljana Academy of Performing Arts, the AGRFT, in their first appearance on a professional 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.


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