Writer: Samuel Beckett
Director: By Ajda Valcl
Venue: Mala DRAMA
Those familiar with Samuel Beckett’s work, can be forgiven for feeling nervous about seeing a production in a foreign language. Samuel Beckett plays with the tedious, constraining most of his characters some way or another. The two short Plays in “Rough For Theater II” stay true to this very unique Beckett trait. However I decided to venture “Rough For Theater II” with the thought if foreign language theater works with Beckett, it will work with anyone.
The first short play explores two detectives investigating a potential suicide haytheatre victim, whose character stands motionless for the performance standing on a window ledge. The detectives, through the bureaucratic process of details, procedure and monotones routines, try to reconstruct the suicide victim. In the process through both comic and tragic situations the audiences are shown a life rooted in order and the benign search to know every detail lead to misery.
Beckett’s plays can be also daunting for actors, many of whose nature is to entertain a audience. The important thing In Beckett tedious universes is to resist the natural temptation to “hamp” it up by making what dramatic action bigger. Sasa Tabakovia although obviously a talented actor lamentable at times couldn’t resist this urge making the Benign so Benign it became interesting.
Bojan Emersia however handled the play intelligently and honestly, entrusting the plays ability to translate its own drama. Emersia created a three dimensional character one could believe in. Udir obviously drew the short straw for parts playing the suicide victim of standing still with his back to us.
The second act of the play brings with it a different short play by Beckett entitled “play”. Three characters that while alive where involved in a love triangle, now dead the character compete to reminisce on the same story from beyond the grave, from their three different perspectives. The character heads appear from their own urns and as such the audiences are left with only words and there faces. For those of us who don’t speak Slovene however we are left only with the character faces to produce something of interest.
By being only left we faces to express drama a audience member begins looking at the different expression a face can produce with far more scrutiny then usual. Through this reliance on the face a audience may and the amount our facial expressions can communicate. How the characters use their eyes, eyebrows, mouth, and facial muscles communicates many different emotions, and thoughts of the different characters. For the purposes then of the foreign audience member a expressional face is imperative.
Silva, a seasoned performer at DRAMA takes the challenge in her stride, he face becomes mesmerizing, with her ability to communicate so much through her eyes, and tone of voice. Sasa Miheliaia didn’t however provide this range. Perhaps due to her age and face being smooth and tight skinned her performance seemed stuck in a ability to only communicate with her eyebrows, which became a repetitive stock communication; not as interesting as her follow actors on stage. The Night however seemed to Belong too Bojan who after a intelligent first act performance was able to create a truly unique comedy character that as able to entertain an audience with his mannerism and impressions of the other characters. His face like Auesan worked hard to provide a wide range of emotions and facial expressions that enabled him to overcome the constraints of just a head to act with.
Overall the night was a brave step for DRAMA with Rough for theater II having never before been performed in Slovenia. The audience seemed to warm to the Beckett style with ease. For those that follow the True Universal Theater Experience that I write in other articles about Rough for Theater II and DRAMA’s work in this proved that even the most difficult plays in a foreign strange language can provide a useful and unique insight, not experienced by watching plays in an understood language
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