The Country Remembers
Jiří Havelka, Róbert Mankovecký
AboutAutobiographic, documentary, but also entertaining or even spectacular, such is the new performance directed by Jiří Havelka at the Slovak Chamber Theatre in Martin. Karol Duchoň was a Slovak singer whose life was fast, short and symptomatic, in many ways aptly reflecting the situation of ordinary people in Czechoslovakia in the period of communist “Normalisation”. An “average” boy with a prodigious voice and a single wish – to sing – gets crushed in a treadmill driven by two forces: the fame, which he craves and which comes early and uncontrollably, on one hand, and the communist power, which domineers over and eventually consumes him completely, on the other hand. The main character is dragged by his fate, rather than shaping it himself. The cast readily and happily embraced Havelka’s poetic approach to directing and joined in his playful style, balancing on the edge of irony and endless entertainment. In Slovak (without English translation) Approximate running time: 2 hours, no intermission SLOVAK CHAMBER THEATRE IN MARTIN Slovak Chamber Theatre in Martin was established in 1944 as the second professional theatre in Slovakia. Unlike the first one – The Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava –, the Chamber Theatre was not founded by a decree but rather created to satisfy the intrinsic needs of the town and Slovak amateur actors. It passed through various phases during its history, changing its name numerous times (in 1951, its name changed to The Slovak National Uprising Theatre, then it became the Army Theatre before changing back to the SNU Theatre and finally, in 2003, restoring its original name). The theatre’s ensemble included numerous leading Slovak actors (for example Štefan Kvietik, Vlado Müller, Eva Krížiková, Emil Horváth Sr. and Jr., Milan Kňažko, Marián Geišberg), as well as well-known directors (Peter Scherhaufer, Ľubomír Vajdička, Roman Polák). The theatre – currently headed by the artistic director Lukáš Brutovský – consistently explores progressive artistic forms and participates at many festivals abroad.