Week of Slovenian Drama celebrates diversity of theatre

Kranj – The 52nd Week of Slovenian Drama will celebrate the diversity of Slovenian theatre with the productions featured exploring a variety of themes in a variety of styles, produced by institutional and independent ensembles and recognising gender and geographical diversity.

The festival, opening on Sunday at Prešeren Theatre in Kranj, will see a total of 13 productions, eight of which will be in the running for awards, to be presented at a ceremony on 8 April.

The productions were selected among 68 by dramaturge Rok Andres, who noted the potency of independent producers, including those who have failed to get any state funding in the latest open call.

A large majority of the theatre production in the country over the past year was based on modern texts. “These are exceptional fresh creations,” he said in presenting the programme.

Author projects represent more than half of what is being produced for the stage where the authors are mostly young playwrights and teams. A increasing number of authors and directors are women.

Forms of narration are also diverse, involving classic dramatic procedures as well as new takes with elements of performative, documentary and narrative theatre.

Thematically, the productions selected for the festival focus on topical issues such as political divisions, lack of solidarity, psychotic conditions, climate emergency, addictions and the sense of an end of history, while questioning what we dare talk about.

The competition programme includes And the Century Will Blush. The Kocbek Case, a co-production by Anton Podbevšek Teater and SNG Nova Gorica, based on Andrej Inkret’s monograph focusing on a period (1928-1952) in the life of author Edvard Kocbek (1904-1081), a Christian socialist who fell in disfavour with the Communist authorities after World War II.

That section will also feature I Saw Her That Night, a co-production of Drama SNG Maribor, Burgtheater from Vienna, Yugoslav Drama Theatre from Belgrade and Cankarjev Dom based on Drago Jančar’s award-winning novel.

Also vying for the awards will be two productions based on award-winning author Simona Semenič, Rowan, Strudel, Dance and More, a co-production of SNG Nova Gorica and Mladinsko theatres, and Beautiful Vidas Burn Beautifully by Prešeren theatre.

The latter also made it to the competition section with a production based on poems by avant-garde poet Srečko Kosovel (1904-1926), Cons: To the New Age.

Black Cumin Seed Oil, a project by Barbara Zemljič produced MGL theatre, and Nina Rajić Kranjac’s Solo in co-production of Mladinsko and Maska Ljubljana, are two author projects in the running for awards, along with a group effort Under Construction, authored by Počemučka and produced by Glej theatre.

Three of the productions could not be brought to Kranj so the audience will be taken by the festival shuttle service to see them at their home theatres in Maribor and Ljubljana. One production will be staged at Khislstein Castle and one in the streets of Kranj.

The festival will conclude with an awards ceremony, where the Grum Prize for best new, not-yet-staged play and best up-an-coming playwright will also presented.