Kette, Murn, Cankar, Župančič. The surnames of four Slovenian poets from the early 1900s could just as well be listed without commas, since this is how Slovenians have been taught in school to regurgitate them, the leading representatives of a movement called Slovenian Moderna (i.e. Modernism). And yet, one hardly remembers much about them except the upsetting details of their early tuberculosis-related demise in Cukrarna, the old sugar factory in Ljubljana. What we remember is dismal and dreary, although their lives and art were anything but dismal and dreary. The four poets were imbued by a playful vigour of the youth determined to push its way in the sectarian society marked by fierce antagonism between Slovenian Catholic Conservatives and Liberals.
Poet, do you know what you owe? takes as its point of departure the biographies of Dragotin Kette and Josip Murn whose short lives (they both died in their twenties) were impregnated by Ivan Cankar and Oton Župančič, two key figures of Slovenian literature. The text is a fusion and interplay of biographic episodes and the poets attempts to write plays and poems, set against the social and metaphysical context of their generation. The audience will experience a resurrected quartet: Kette with his political and romantic activism, a quirky Murn reaching for the unattainable, the irate and perspicacious Cankar, and Župančič, the whinger. Side by side in their struggle for freedom, especially their individual poetic freedom, they are confronted with the uptight petit bourgeois social reality. Idealism collides with reality, and survives in spite of its corporal death.
An original interpretation of Slovenian Modernism, an interplay of biographical episodes, social events and literary creativity of four poets united in their struggle for individual and poetic freedom.
Director Luka Martin Škof
Dramaturg Urška Brodar
Set Designer Petra Veber
Costume Designer Sandra Dekanić
Composer Matej Končan
Language Consultant Jože Volk
Muse, Alma Souvan, Kette's Soul Liza Marija Grašič
Dragotin Kette, Kette's Body Branko Završan
Josip Murn Aljoša Koltak
Ivan Cankar Andrej Murenc
Oton Župančič David Čeh
Vehovec, Anton Aškerc Renato Jenček
Modrian, Theatre General Administrator, Bamberg the Publisher Damjan M. Trbovc
Dermota, Bishop Bonaventura Jeglič Igor Žužek
Farmer, Ferdinand Souvan Mario Šelih
Janko Polak Rastko Krošl
Mrs Tavčar Jagoda
Opening 20 February 2015
Performance duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes. One interval.