James and His Lord

Studio L+S (before Studio S), Bratislava, 1993
Author: Milan Kundera
Director: Martin Porubjak

about the production


If Studio S as a theatre without a permanent ensemble from its very beginning tries to cover the maximum number of acts marked by humour, ironic view of the world and tragicomical feeling of absurdity, then activities of Milan Lasica and Július Satinský are the catalyst unifying various aesthetic and generation ideas into an integrated poetics. Kundera's James seems to represent a climax of one stage of this process: it synthetizes all parallel functioning trends with the creative credo of both protagonists.

There are fine threads that have related the authors of this staging with this “honour to Diderot” from the past. Lasica's translation was done in the period when Martin Porubjak, its today's director, put it on the stage in Martin in the 1982/83 season as its repertory adviser under the name of Ewald Schorm. Above all the staging represents a fortunate meeting of both kindred poetics. An almost identical composition principle of Our Friend René is the most expressive proof It was created in 1979 and Lasica and Satinský, in the same way as Kundera, make a very free paraphrase of the basic novel model; the final form in both cases is more a free improvisation than dramatization in the best sense of the word.

Kundera before the first wave of the dull normalization (1971) found an asylum in the brilliance of Diderot´s Enlightenment, that (although with a hidden tear) flies over the absurdity of the period as well as over his own defeats. Thanks to the sceptical sarcasm a man refuses the role of a powerless toy of absurdities of the life – he wins over them only by being able to laugh at them (but also at himself). In defiance of the killing times what came out was a seemingly light and easy-going history of a sempiternal human chase of happiness, love and understanding, but somewhere under the surface also of self-realization.

The story of Kundera´s James and his Lord has a plot of a typical Enlighentment-style pilgrimage. Yet, the both pilgrims do not experience, exciting adventures and interesting stories, except for the final killing conflict all they do is recalling, reconstructing and improving them. We witness: having lost his chastity the imprudent young James finds himself in the army, his dreamy Lord is bitterly disappointed in love and in his false friend, the ale-house keeper presents a story of a cunning intrigue by which the spurned marquise wants to avenge herself upon her unfaithful lover, but James' good heart puts a spoke in her wheel. Face to face to our continuous rushing somewhere, where we do not belong at all, and it is even beyond our powers to get there, this erratic nomadism confront us with the „sempiternal trick of the mankind: Forwards it is everywhere."

Kornel Földváry


director: Martin Porubjak
translation: Milan Lasica
music: Jaroslav Filip
costumes: Milan Čorba
cast: Július Satinský, Milan Lasica, Zuzana Krónerová, Jaroslav Filip, Viera Topinková, Braňo Bystriansky / Boris Pavlovský, Sáva Popovič, Dagmar Bajnoková