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Feelings are theatre's strongest weapon - season 2017/2018

Aesthetics of Impression is the key-thought that defines the Mini teater’s repertoire for children and youth. We are thinking about how our attitude about the “child” (what Nietzsche called “the essence”, and Deleuze the “childhood block”) is building a world that, interweaving the epic and the dramatic, plants some aesthetic and ethical views into the toddlers and youngsters. The Mini teater’s approach is to form the voice of the narrator, the stories, symbolic images, elements of reality, through tender decelerations and by incorporating a feeling of parabola. With our performances, we want to open with the series of diverse educational engagements with which we can adopt the spirit of the tolerance, the equality, and above all – of the joy, which is a precondition for the creation. We have searched in the treasury of fairytales in order to guide our youngest spectators and readers to become the future the audience of public theatres.

Ulrich Hub, a German author of texts for youth, offers a special adaptation of the Lessing classic Nathan the Wise to a play for youth Nathan’s Children. An 18th-century drama is transformed into a contemporary story of the 21st century that truly needs courage to –overcome the prejudice and to be open for the real dialogue. The directors Robert Waltl and Alen Prošić have gathered a strong team that will treat this youth play with a great responsibility for the contemporary artists who have to free themselves form didactics in order to be close to the young audience..

All Here, All Togetheris the tile of the performance that takes inspiration form two contemporary German picture books. The play, written by the young Croatian author Mirna Rustemović with the songs by Olja Savičević Ivančević, is leading us into the world of our own prejudices towards others, and in a humorous way, it unveils human warmth under the rough intolerance. The magical world of puppets gives a special charm to this multicultural and multicolour patchwork.

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl is perhaps one of his less known works in Slovenia, although it is a classic and it has a well-deserved spot next to the Gremlins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; all three works inspire over and over again with their lucid genius. The direction of Fantastic Mr. Fox will be trusted to Steve Tiplady, one of the best English puppet directors, who will direct in Slovenia for the first time and who is known for his precise mise-en-scène and a passionate devotion to the puppet art. 

Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol is a wonderful text that cuts into the set of order and unconditional moral that rule the world, by disturbing the uniformity of the traditional patriarchal society with demonic outpours. Oscar Wilde is an emancipating hero provoking the false moral of the public life, challenging the system and speaking in the name of those without a complete status. The performance Ballad of Reading Gaolwill be directed by Ivan Peternelj, who has already proven himself as a perfect advocate of the Wilde’s writing.

Today’s democracy is in a crisis of representation and legitimation. The fragile progress in conquering social and individual freedoms is crushed by the raging of the liberal market. Greed for money and power has pushed a high percentage of the population to the edge of survival, and the percentage is getting higher every day. Those are the people without work and without prospects to find it, and the people who have lost their work for ever. We have to look at the very roots of our western civilization. We have inherited the theatre from the era of antiquity. The theatre was formed as a product of democracy, as a critical spirit developed form the idea of the common good. To work on oneself and to work for the community were the conditions for the need to know how to understand the world, how to satisfy the wish of the subliminal. Mini teater as a contemporary theatre transcends the antique Greek principle and brings it back to the modern world by searching our allies and our audiences in the schools among the works of old and new type, among the unemployed, among the retired people and among the refugees. According to the opinion of existentialists, the new and unknown time is better managed with hope than with fear. We need vigour, courage, and we also need some joy. The contemporary man is afraid of close contact with others, but he is also afraid to be alone, without contact with the others. Mini teater suggests to do anything but closing in and pushing other away (which has become alarmingly common in the today’s world). In a little community as our own, the wish for the other, the different, for new horizons, for new people, cultures has to find a way to defy hatred and building walls. We fight against the strong feeling encouraged by populists with our own strong feeling that can be the theatre’s weapon. Populists change our cultural matrix in front our very eyes, they say things that were only yesterday completely unthinkable and beyond and decency, and they say it is all freedom of speech and expressing one’s opinion. A high tolerance to what can be said is dangerous, as well as ideological encouragement of saying whatever one wants. “I dare say it out loud” can only belong to theatre. Theatre satisfies a human need to talk about ourselves and to be heard. Beside social questions in our performances, we also ask questions about the place and nature of the text in the contemporary theatre.

Dramatic text A Beautiful Ending by Mohamed el Khatib (a contemporary and particular French author with Maghrebi roots), has inspired the director Ivica Buljan to make a stage performance from the base of the text that then opens to new sequences, from intimate notes, medical records, to the analysis of the artist’s own position in the public sphere. It is a heterogeneous work composed from various dialogues, fragments from a diary, documentary materials … Death of a mother is an intimate point where life gets a new form. We also come across descriptions of the life rituals and the passing away in the Islamic culture which is almost unknown to us. But this is not ethnographic exploration, our goal is to show an original theatre script that opens up for the understanding of the Other; something that our closed-up society desperately needs.

The novel Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo, and a complex cycle My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, both open up political and personal dimensions of current performatives. The director Alen Prošić will stage the scene adaptations of both texts.

Adaptations of such strong and narratively broad texts into theatre performances is not only an attempt to express their power through theatre, it is also an inclination to penetrate into the dark zone of exciting phantasms. Classical world literature works are still relevant today, if we treat them by looking to the future.

The author Saša Pavček and the director Barbara Zemljič are preparing a special, almost “Hanke-like” poetic post-drama Under the Snow that questions our powerlessness when dealing with lack of solidarity.  The text is searching for a justification for the fears we cannot control – therefore the analysis goes beyond the judging and digs to the very reasons for the “look-away” position that many people are showing today. Mini teater has always nurtured the poetic chamber theatre and is proud to introduce this local pearl among the newest plays.

Our Class by Tadeusz Słobodzianek alludes to the classic work by Tadeusz Kantor Dead Class. There is a reference to the Kantor’s text in the Slobodzianek’s play since both texts are dealing with the Polish culture as a historical memento and an artistic testimony of the most horrible periods of European history. Slobodzianek’s text not only breaks the documentarist fiction but also strengthens it on a higher level with its morals message. Our Class that has been staged several times troughout Europe. Mini teater has invited the young and talented director Nina Rajić Kranjac, to stage this play in Ljubljana. This will be the first cooperation between the Mini teater and Nina Rajić Kranjac.

Our time is marked with the panic and worrying about what the audiences like to watch. But the audiences like to watch what is already known to them. That position prevents the theatre creators away from making the effect of surprise and the possibility to create a dialogue. Moreover, many times the mass media introduces the artistic point of view as a useless one. That mass media position shows/proves the unconscious fear (the fear of the governing elites) of the people that are thinking, listening and making their own minds after having the constant contacts with the art. The artists around the Mini teater are strongly rejecting that role of “art” that delivers only the things that are already known. On the contrary, we are standing in the front of the active questioning about “the obvious”, we want to surprise and provoke the spectators, we want to make them think deep and long after they have already leave the theatre arena and we want them to apply their renewed thinking in their day-to-day work and life. The Mini teater’s artistic and social role is to evoke the spirit of its time.

Robert Waltl and Ivica Buljan