The Republic of Slovenia
This is a performance The Republic of Slovenia. It has been running for twenty-five years and it has been produced with your money. And all this time you have been – as an extra or as a big player – its part. In it, a retired intelligence officer tells a story about counting millions, then six important men ponder the fate of Slovenia which is turning into a mafia state, and play with arms and human destinies around the round table, and finally a group of soldiers takes on a spy. Our citizen duty is to look at the post-independence period; at the time when dreams were no longer sufficient or allowed.
First, The Republic of Slovenia is not political theatre, it is a concentrate of pure politics on stage, a postdramatic and post-political theatre. It reconstructs certain fundamental political and criminal events from the embryonic phase of constituting the state that don’t fit into the glorious chapters of national history, but rather onto the crime pages. [...]
There’s no moralising in the performance, it simply pushes the spectator to ridicule and silent laughter inside. And to anger, the powerless rage. How deep did The Republic of Slovenia go on the stage? Deeper than many others before it. If media discoveries and court epilogues weren’t enough to clear things up, let alone the catharsis regarding the horrifying events, perhaps the stage is the (only) right place [for this]?
Playwrights, eat your hearts out – what a fantastic study of characters, currents of thoughts, transparency of politics, unexpected frankness, almost philosophical delving into the question of truth, public, politics, the general humanity. Surrounded by their narrowest circle, politicians can drop the fences of the wooden language they use otherwise. Frankness is at times downright touching, incomparably more present in those who would want to lie less than in those who are used to lying. [...] Here, the versions, the complete documentation, objectivity from every aspect cannot actually explain anything and it is in fact necessary to have a play, a rich, professional, engaged and experienced, theatre in its essence of glory, as a performance of something else. Only then, at the pinnacle of its performative cogency, theatre achieves that 'serving the nation' we’ve not been expecting from it in decades, perhaps longer.
The foundation of every country is a crime, we learnt when we were young. Fine, but does that mean that the Slovenian state is thus founded on criminal acts, that we’re all citizens of a mafia state as the performance suggests? This is that punch in the gut, and this question is the reason that you have to see the performance. In order to remember all this once again, in order to (like Oedipus) perhaps know ourselves and notice the context which creates filthy history from our present. Not only would we see (for a moment), and then sacrifice our blank stares to new blindings, but, perhaps, some time in future, also take action. As citizens.
A theatre performance has done – together with former state operatives and journalists – what in more than twenty years neither official politics nor the judicature have managed to do. Isn’t this the proof how badly Slovenia needs civil society and its culture? Not only it does the politics’ job, it also establishes an alternative binding position. So that Slovenia now doesn’t only have one and only position. The one of Cain.
THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA
It’s quite important to convey that you leave this piece have seen a fucking good show. And really pumped. A kind of sense of injustice; adrenalised. […] But, Jesus, yes! This! This is how you do political theatre. This is how you make a MASSIVE GESTURE as a state theatre.
- Malta Festival, Poznań, Poland, 17 and 18 June 2017
- Week of Slovenian Drama, Kranj, 30 March 2017 (performed in Ljubljana)
- Maribor Theatre Festival, 15 November 2016, Maribor
- Special Borštnik award of the jury for politically engaged gesture, 2016
- Šeligo award for best performance at the Week of Slovenian Drama 2017