The 10th anniversary of the professional (although non-government theatre ensemble STOKA come at a time, when the existence crisis of the ensemble is culminating. In the current theatre structure, STOKA cannot be included anywhere, yet this important protagonist of the Slovak experimental theatre has to fight continuously for its survival. And at the same time he artistic results of STOKA have been regarded highly for more than three years by local and foreign critique.
Stage production EO IPSO is, after the previous provocative and expressive variations on existentialist themes based mainly on the impressive stage pictures and spectacular visual elements, already far the second time shifting gravity towards the word. And one more change has occurred – at the performances of STOKA we laugh more, we are less shocked and that much more emotionally involved.
The order of scenes in Eo ipso consists of thirteen conversational pieces from the life of bizarre people; dubious intellectuals, alcoholics, and deserted women and men. Everything in this production is somehow imperfect, grubby and common. Few pieces of furniture, park bench on the stage. Precise period costumes, often in an endearing mixture of old fashion and bad taste. And word. Word, not only as a tool of expression, but directly as a theme. STOKA is exploring its weight, power, its truthfulness and communicativeness. Totally banal conversations with the threat of existence subtext, stylized conversations of two sisters, speech as a veil behind a bride, speaking as if dreaming, fragments of sentences… And what if one of the sisters died? Well, someone would help… And then there is a deformed speech of phrases as a waterfall which nails down to the ground and deepens one's own loneliness. Intellectual slang which is through the love – paradoxically – able to communicate with argot.
Performance in civil poetry of a new wave of the 1960 's of a contemporary famous “independent” Jim Jarmusch as well, is not a usual comment on the impossibility to communicate. It is good news. STOKA ensemble, led by director Blaho Uhlár discovered language not only for themselves but also for us. People try to establish communication, clumsily, impertinently and shabbily. Nevertheless, these efforts are very human and dignified, and that is perhaps why, the Moyzes Quartet accompanies them and the result of it is a message of belief, love and hope.
Your theatre performances reveal anticipation in hints. How will you hint your anticipation for the future?
“The worst thing is, that I do not anticipate. I would like to anticipate, that our theatre ensemble will continue to want to say and express as much as possible and to continue enjoying it. Currently, we are running through survival problems, because from the legal point of view the STOKA theatre is not a theatre, and therefore, it cannot be subsidized from the state budget. Donations and grants, which we succeeded to acquire, are not sufficient for a smooth, uninterrupted running of the theatre. So, I would like to anticipate that we won´t have to face the economic, legal and therefor existential problems. l would like to anticipate that we won´t lose our theatre house.
Andrea Puková Source: An Interview with Blaho Uhlár
Mosty issue 23, 1994
direction: Blaho Uhlár
costumes: Zuzana Piussi
music: Peter Zagar
cast: Peter Batthányi, Ingrid Hrubaničová, Jozef Chmel, Ladislav Kerata, Erika Lásková, Lucia Piussi, Vlado Zboroň, Moyzesovo kvarteto (Moyzes Quartet)