HAPPY END
2024/2025 — Season 69
Tjaša Črnigoj, Lina Akif, Sendi Bakotić, Nika Rozman, Vanda Velagić, Tijana Todorović, Barbara Kapelj, Tea Vidmar, Lene Lekše
The New Post Office

Sex Education II

Directed by: Tjaša Črnigoj
A series of lecture-performances on the sexual pleasure of women*
Co-production: Mladinsko Theatre, Maska Ljubljana and City of Women
Première: 7. 10. 2023
Performances
Thursday / 5 Sep / 17:00 / The New Post Office / Buy ticket
Cast
  • Performer
  • Sendi Bakotić
    Performer
  • Nika Rozman
    Performer
  • Vanda Velagić
    Performer
  • Tea Vidmar
    Sound Performer
Credits
  • Set design: Barbara Kapelj, Tijana Todorović, Lene Lekše
  • Visuals and costume design: Tijana Todorović
  • Music: Tea Vidmar
  • Music selection: Tjaša Črnigoj, Lina Akif, Tijana Todorović, Barbara Kapelj
  • Experts from the field: dr. Gabrijela Simetinger, dr. Maja Vehar, Alja Lobnik
  • Speech advisor: Mateja Dermelj
  • Editing audio tapes and sound design: Klara Otorepec, Marijan Sajovic, Jure Vlahovič, Silvo Zupančič
  • Lighting design: Tjaša Črnigoj, Barbara Kapelj, Tijana Todorović, Lene Lekše, Manca Vukelič, Igor Remeta
  • Make-up and hair artist: Nathalie Horvat
  • Make-up and hair assistant: Maja Miklavčič
  • Translation: Urška Brodar, Tina Malič, Barbara Skubic
  • Producer: Tina Dobnik/Nastja Kotnik Minik
  • Stage manager: Demijan Pintarič

Also performing: Tjaša Črnigoj, Barbara Kapelj, Tijana Todorović

Description

In the 2022/2023 season, a series of five lecture-performances entitled Sex Education II which use various angles and performing practices to shed a light on the right to sexual pleasure as a fundamental part of sexual rights as a matter of human rights, were created at The New Post Office. The lecture-performances are based on conversations with women who shared their personal stories, experiences and problems, as well as interviews with experts from various fields.

Diagnosis addresses vaginismus** and painful sexual intercourse, which, according to some studies, are experienced by 40 percent of women. Consentire opens up a space for reflection on what consensual sex actually means and what consensus practices look like. Ability is based on the stories of four women with disabilities recounting their sexual maturation, attitude towards their bodies, sex and relationships. Play is about unconventional sexual practices, also known as “kink”. In Fight, the artists reconstruct the efforts to improve reproductive rights in Yugoslavia, which only implicitly included sexual rights, but paved the way towards the discourse that we are having today about the right to sexual pleasure.

In autumn 2023, the creators will perform all five lecture-performances one after another as part of a full-day event.

*By women we mean all women (trans, intersex and cis).
**Vaginismus is considered the most severe sexual disorder in women. It is a spasm of the pelvic floor muscles, which makes vaginal penetration completely impossible, even if the woman desires it.

In the media

Sex Education II demonstrates the importance of a conceptual idea that conceives a certain problem (and its variations) as an ongoing series of events or as a permanent performing platform that ‘persists in persistence’, not simply for the sake of the persistence alone but because it will be a long time before the material to explore the power of patriarchal control over (historical and contemporary) female bodies runs out. The cycle of lecture-performances Sex Education II has, without a doubt, changed the view of the theatre representation of female sexuality and the historicization of the female body, which cannot be easily found in the productions of other repertoire theatres in Slovenia. Sex Education II has thus realised at least two valuable and important gestures: one is therapeutical, the other, educational. Although, for example, a certain part of the audience might already be acquainted with the documentary materials about the sexual practices explored, this doesn’t reduce the “therapeutic” effect that such public representation can have on an individual when they attend an event that is accessible to the public, takes place within a certain community and is entered into the record of the language of the public space or theatre. At the same time, such events also serve as necessary reminders in connection with self-obviousness of the rights acquired that we use carelessly without really being aware of their evolutional processes.

What needs to be emphasised here is that the authors carried out not only important research but also production work because this is an extensive two-year project, whose integral version is six hours long (with two short and one longer intervals). Additionally, it is equally important to emphasise that every single space at The New Post Office has been utilised so that Sex Education II as well as its audience are constantly in motion. The piece itself includes several educational accents […] however, it is never dry and didactic, but rather a series of documentary presentations that testify about how very much sexuality is a spectrum in which there are no rules, and about how all our sexual practices are limited by different societal forces. From vaginismus to consent to the sexuality of people with disabilities through kink and fetishes to the regulation of abortion in Yugoslavia, Sex Education II fills in the blind spot of our society, which instead of an inclusive, informative and empathetic story about sexuality, only offers a vast emptiness. […] The performative elements of the entire cycle are minimal and well thought out, their individual aspects subtly travel through all five parts that can function independently, but when we add them up they get added value because of synergy. From simply sliding on lubricant, dripping on the dance floor, or unloading and preparing 50 litres of gardening soil over a clothesline, full of sheets or bloody knickers, to patches of moss or creepers positioned throughout the space and the already mentioned overhead projectors which, just like the voice of one of the performers, pop up sporadically and, in addition to building a specific atmosphere, remind us that all the stories we’re witnessing, albeit particular, are in fact indelibly connected. What connects them is the silence with which such narratives have been covered with until now, their invisibility in public space and consequently a stigma – stigma and silence that Sex Education II removes in a beautiful way and offers us, instead, a possibility to learn, recognise, open, connect in all its broadness of the female sexual experience.

A rainy afternoon in the courtyard of The New Post Office, the space of the Mladinsko Theatre and Maska Institute in Ljubljana. The audience has gathered and is waiting for the beginning of Sex Education II, the marathon of five lecture-performances about female sexual pleasure, which the two institutions produced, together with the City of Women. In different parts of the yard, there are yellow signs, not unlike traffic signs, with names and descriptions, so that each performing space gets a particular associative name. […] To begin with, the yard of The New Post Office is a School playground where the female team of authors wishes us a welcome […]. They explain why the first stop on this hours-long happening is a schoolyard – a schoolyard was their starting point for the project. In a school, the authors met, talked, shared personal experiences and then researched what female pleasure means for each one of them. Each lecture also includes documentary recordings of interviews the authors conducted with experts in the field, and with the women who were – congruent with the theme of the performances – willing to speak about their experiences. […] The entire series of lectures shows the effort of the authors to succinctly and effectively introduce the woman question to the audience, and the selected topics are incredibly precious for the social tableau in which we currently find ourselves. True, this Sex Education has II in its title, but for some, it undoubtedly meant their first encounter with these important topics and questions.

Guest performances

  • Week of Slovenian Drama, Kranj, 28 March 2024
  • Maribor Theatre Festival, Maribor, Slovenia, 8 June 2024
Awards

  • Special Borštnik award of the jury to the creative team of Sex Education II (2024)
  • Award of the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia for the Best Production (2024)
  • Župančič award to Tjaša Črnigoj for (co)creation and direction of the project Sex Education II (2024)
  • Audience Award at the 54th Week of Slovenian Drama (2024)
  • Special Award of the jury at the 54th Week of Slovenian Drama for an innovative performative approach to a sensitive topic (2024)
  • Women on Women Award to Tjaša Črnigoj, among others for raising awareness on neglected topics with the project Sex Education II (2024)
Sponsors

Testni poligon: Reparativne prakse za nov kulturni ekosistem je projekt, ki ga s podporo EU programa Kreativna Evropa razvijajo in izvajajo Kurziv – Platforma za vprašnja kulture, medijev in družbe, Združenje Stanisława Brzozowskega/Krytyka Polityczna in Maska Ljubljana. / The project Testing Ground: Reparative Practices for New Cultural Ecosystem is conceived and carried out by Kurziv – Platformfor Matters of Culture, Media and Society, Stanisław Brzozowski Association / Krytyka Polityczna and Maska Ljubljana, with the support of the EU programme Creative Europe.

THANK YOU

Abandoned Plants Sanctuary, Archive of Yugoslavia (Belgrade), archive of the Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG), Beata Absalon, Lana Akif, Lina Akif, Sendi Bakotić, Boštjan Bebar, Dr Ivan Bernik, Pia Brezavšček, Urška Brodar, Ana Marija Brđanović, Croatian National Archive, CNT Ivan pl. Zajc Rijeka, Dr Tea Dakić, Mateja Dermelj, Daša Doberšek, Tina Dobnik, Mojca Dobnikar, Boris Dragan, Andreja Dugandžić – Association for Culture and Art RED and Archive of Antifascist Struggle of Women of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Yugoslavia, ES Osram, Ceci Ferox, Florist Regina, Gabriele Fuso, German Hygiene Museum Dresden, Dr Jasenka Grujić, Jernej Hazimali, Urška Henigman, Nathalie Horvat, Sara Horžen, Žiga Hren, Goran Injac, Interdisciplinary research team About feminist pleasure, Vlasta Jalušič, Urška Jež, Tjaša Juhart, Katarina Jurjavčič, Juta, Ana and Breda Kapelj, Barbara Kapelj, Dušan Kohek, Dr Roman Kuhar, Boris Kuselj, Marcella Lagalante, Borut Laznik, Lene Lekše, Leonišče, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, Alja Lobnik, Maca Maček, Shiler Mahmoudi, Janja Majzelj, Tina Malič, Tina Merica, Jovana Mihajlović Trbovc, Tibor Mihelič Syed, Ministry of Justice, Museum of Women of Montenegro, Anja Novak, Tajda Novšak, Vitomir Obal, Borut Opetnik, Klara Otorepec, Miloš Pavlović, Elena Pečarič, Dr Bojana Pinter, Draga Potočnjak, Tim Prezelj, Janez Prohinar, Matej Recer, Tanja Rener, Katarina Rižnar, Nika Rozman, Anja Sabol, Žiga Sedevčič, Dr Gabrijela Simetinger, Dr Jelena Simić – Museum of Science and Technology (Museum of Serbian Medicine of the Serbian Medical Association), Nina Skrbinšek, Rafaella Smith Fiallo, SNT Drama Ljubljana, Kres Snyder, Jaka Sotlar, Katarina Stegnar, Mojca Stegnar, SVŠGUGL, Blaž Šef, Nina Škvarč,  Dr Iztok Šori, Dr Aleksandar Štulhofer, Dr Alenka Švab, The Sisterhood of the Proud Dolphin, Prof. Laze Tripkov, Darja Urbanc, Dr Maja Vehar, Vanda Velagić, Aleksandra Vujović, Steven De Weirdt, Jaka Žilavec, Tery Žeželj