Honey and Dust, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2019
directed by Andrej Kalinka
about the production
Andrej Kalinka’s free artist group Honey and Dust joins actors, authors and performers from the fields of fine art, theatre and music. They create interdisciplinary works on the boundary of performance, theatre, concert and installation. The presentation of their work is not tied exclusively to the theatre hall, as it uncovers and makes use of the genius loci of galleries, industrial spaces, concert halls and so forth.
“The closest you’ll get is probably calling it ‘complementary art’. It’s not the case that we avoid purely theatrical means, it’s more about the fact that our works cannot be labelled purely theatrical. It is equally autonomously visual art or music. ‘Good Lineage’ involves a number of different axes, both thematic and formal. But overall, from beginning to end, we try to deal with the interesting, difficult and probably unanswerable question – who is the human being?”
Examining the human being outside the context he or she inhabits is almost unimaginable. At present, when the idea of priming has gained traction – according to which our behaviour, impressions and social judgements are influenced and manipulated by outside stimuli – we should once again ask: What forms us? Upbringing, genetics or the social setting? In eu.genus, genetics and biology are transformed into theatre through the authors’ and creators’ family trees. The director and dramaturge Milan Kozánek explore the theme of the influence of genes on our present constitution impartially and with a subtle dose of humour. They present the author’s introspections, where each oversteps the limits of his familiar field, in order to become part of impressive philosophical installations and live scenes. For instance, artist Juraj Poliak does not just create a work of sculpture in the theatre hall, he is also the present curator of a very personal exhibition held on stage under the title Finding the Face of Karol Šmehyl, joins the performance physically and with his voice, and so on.
The experience is deepened by the actors’ communicating with the audience by means of addresses and unforced interaction. During the introduction and at the end of the performance, the audience can freely walk around the space and talk to the creators. They find themselves at an open rehearsal between the process of an idea, an encounter with the material and presence in a space. Process and transformation. In apparent chaos, each has his particular role. Andrej Kalinka, who is the director of the production and also authored the libretto, addresses the audience at the beginning of the performance. Ján Morávek works with a visual‑musical installation of tape recordings. Daniel Raček performs a physical etude with a roll of linoleum and establishes connections with the other characters through movement. The whole cast try out some of Tchaikovsky’s compositions, we hear the music of Tomás Luis de Victoria and Georgian folk songs. Dancers Zebastián Mente Maligna and Lívia Balážová create interactive physical parables on the limits of bodily capacity.
The authors of this unusual piece subscribe to neo‑Classicism, which emphasises intellect, highly balanced form, and all this contributes to the peculiar shape of the artwork. It is precisely retrospective – in terms of musical dramaturgy or in an intimate return to one’s own past – that discloses the basic features of human being in the world. With their free approach to creation, they uncover the various phases and stages of an artwork’s creation. By openly admitting to the rules of space or trial and error, they offer us a new spectatorial optic. The play’s overall structure is that of a musical rehearsal – the creation, birth of a new artwork. “And ultimately, of course, death. It is the movement between all these. Between science and poetry. Information and symbol or apparent chaos and unexpected beauty. This is the way to the sculpture. Continuous transformation, continuous decisions. This is our question – what is good lineage?” says Andrej Kalinka.
libretto, direction: Andrej Kalinka
dramaturgy, director’s assistant: Milan Kozánek
sculptures, paintings, installations: Juraj Poliak, Andrej Kalinka
music: T. L. de Victoria, J. Arcadelt, P. I. Čajkovskij, J. Dowland, A. Kalinka, gruzínske ľudové piesne / Georgian folk songs
performers, co‑creators: Zebastián Mente Maligna, Lívia Balážová, Daniel Raček, Ján Morávek, Juraj Poliak, Andrej Kalinka
Andrej Kalinka (1978) began his career in 1993 as an underground and jazz musician. Studied classical music at the Žilina Conservatory, specializing in conducting and composition. In 1996, he began collaborating with various theatre and music collectives, first as a composer, later as a librettist and finally as a director. Together with Juraj Poliak, Ivan Martinka and Michal Mikuláš, they form the artists group Med a prach (Honey and Dust), combining fine art, theatre and music in productions that move on the boundary of performance, theatre, concert and installation. He has collaborated with numerous theatre and dance collectives in Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Several works by Med a prach have earned awards: Epos (Bratislava Audience Prize at New Drama 2012, shortlisted for Dosky 2011 for Best Music), Bartimaeus Passion (Hašterica Prize at the Žilina Puppeteering Festival 2013 for creative achievement in puppet theatre), Really or A Boy Who Drew (Best Original Puppet Performance at the Harmony World Puppet Carnival in Thailand), Home Eros Faith (shortlisted for Dosky 2014 for Best Music, staged at Divadelná Nitra 2015).
Video of the production: yes
Scripts of the production: EN
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