Caligari (Opus Necromanticus)

GUnaGU, Bratislava, 1993
Author: Vladimír Balek, Viliam Klimáček
Directors: Viliam Klimáček, Karol Vosátko

about the production

“... minute and dynamic interactions of images; „quotative” acting and misanscenes as if cut out from the masterpieces of film expressionism, outstanding music..., exact semiotic costumes, simply, the purity of form despite the eclecticism of its contents along with the compactness of individual ideas (the asexual angel epitomizing one of the wittiest and most perverse images I´ve ever seen in theatre) elevate this collection of rustic clichés to a spontaneous evocative mystery which is, soon to be imprinted in the confusion of our souls”, are the words of praise of M. Krénová (Cultural Life, 24/1993) of the last première of GUnaGu which is still an amateur theatre. Over the past seven years it has staged fifteen titles and its performances are noted (or their steady quality. The heart of it is Viliam Klimáček, poet, the editor-in-chief of Medzičas (The Intervening Period), anaesthesiologist, and the mathematician Ivan Mizera, the author of music. Aside from them the theatre is a meeting place of other interesting personalities, among them the talented versatile actresses Zuzana Benešová and Oľga Belešová, the stage designer and director in one Aleš Votava, and the physicist Vladimír Balek, the theatre's Grey Eminence with all-round abilities.

The GUnaGU's dramatic expression changes and matures from production to production, each of them introduces a new theme, a new enchantment with Voskovec and Werich (The Western Paperback, 1985), the world of old Bratislava (The Snares of a Young Man, 1986), books by J. Verne (Five Minutes in a Balloon, 1988), a real family drama with a curtain (Tallow, 1992), the absurdity as perceived by a local (Piesa compusa..., 1993). So far, the most successful has been the production of The Gulp (1991), a kind and sad-and-jolly tackling of the snares of life by intellectuals.

Caligari has all the vital attributes of the aforementioned productions. This time, enchantment has to do with magic struggling with reason and body that fight for, freedom in the 18th century France. As usual, the theme is approached in an

easy-going manner, play fully and it is alleviated by humour. Of course, there is also music and one will hear the harmonium playing. What makes Caligari distinct from the older productions? Though the intellectual dimension is retained, an effort to use purely theatrical means seems to prevail. Just like running the risk of entrapment in the cobwebs hanging over the Black Raven's basement in Bratislava during a performance the viewer may get easily entangled in the bold and impressive stage scenes, he may let himself be enchanted by a well thought stage design as well as the breathtakingly fresh appearance of the play' s authoress who plays and sings, or indulge himself in a scientiflc-erotic puppet theatre (or adults).

Anna Grusková


directors: Viliam Klimáček and Karol Vosátko
masks and costumes: Petra Langerová
music: Ivan Mizera
cast: Petra Langerová, Martin Vanek, Vladimír Balek, Beáta Hileková, Igor Adamec, Viliam Klimáček, Peter Nuhlíček