M. H. L.

P.A.T. and Studio 12, Bratislava, 2010
Author: Sláva Daubnerová
Directed by Sláva Daubnerová

about the production

She was a woman-director in the environment which tolerated it but considered it a bizarre exception. She was a promising and progressively thinking artist, but married to a man who was, for some period, a high political official, then a political prisoner and after her dead even the president of the normalised Czechoslovakia – Gustáv Husák. She was a progressively thinking intellectual, and later a quieted theatre artist, during the period when politics started to press the neck of art and made their relationship a “comrade-like”, mutually profitable co- existence. The first lady of Slovak theatre directing – Magda Husáková-Lokvencová.

Based on the impulses from the publication by Nadežda Lindovská: Magda Husáková-Lokvencová First Lady of Slovak Theatre Directing and on the archive materials about the complicated and tragic life of this until recently almost forgotten theatre artist, the notable Slovak artist and performer Sláva Daubnerová sews for herself a made to measure new story of this documentary drama. As in her previous works, she starts with facts, or recorded thoughts of the person depicted, which she models and shapes by her original acting sensibility and unique director’s intellect into a quite contemporary and acute confession. By the production of M.H.L. she may indirectly make present the development of the political events in the post-war Czechoslovakia, as well as the life of the then cultural circles or Bratislava’s artistic elite, but she tries to find in it timelessness, universality without it being pamphleted or slipping into descriptiveness or moralizing. By the minimum of means, a balanced coordination of words, movement, sound and visual artistic ambitions she lets us plunge into the intimate tragedy of unsatisfied desire for love and the crash of artistic ambitions influenced by unfavourable circumstances. On the other side, she mediates us the feeling of the intimate victory of the spirit and its unbeatable endeavour to keep the richness of life and freedom, despite the pressure of the fate or deserted life in loneliness.

Not for a moment does Daubnerová lose the control over temperance of the chosen acting means. She makes an impression as if she perceived Husáková-Lokvencová from some distance. She analyses her, listens to her and at the same time feels with her. She tries to get closer to her, but not to merge. She stays natural, and by this as if from every movement of her muscles, slightly raised eyebrow, shape of the nose, vigorous step emerges Husáková-Lokvencová herself. Or does she only want that by the help of Husáková-Lokvencová Daubnerová would emerge like a butterfly? Be as it is, this beautiful butterfly flies around and playfully decides when and how many of us will she let into her valuable inner world and intimacy. Without any redundant stage stylization, only by the adequacy of the chosen stage means and the frankness of the testimony.
Maja Hriešik

“Only rarely does it happen that the author of text is equally a good director, let alone an actor. However, Daubnerová copes fantastically in the production of M.H.L. It is even hard to say in which of the roles is she the strongest mover in the production. Whether as the author of the script, director or actor. (…) All the components of the production, from the directing to the movement, are on a maximally balanced level. It is for sure that during the material collecting Daubnerová had already had certain visions about how each fragment would be connected to another, to the satisfaction of Daubnerová – the director and Daubnerová – the actor. She as a creator and her collaborators made a good use of the connection between a documentary drama and drama with cathartic effect, between the drama of distance and drama directly attacking emotions, between personal drama and drama of the general expressive value. In the result the viewer is given a production which is full-blooded, emotional, didactic, classical and modern at the same time.”
Soňa Smolková, Kød – konkrétne o divadle, 4/2010


script, stage koncept, direction & cast: Sláva Daubnerová
dramaturgy and sound design: Pavel Graus
video-art: Lukaš Kodoň
choreography: Emil Píš
voices in the performance: Emil Píš, PhDr. Oleg Dlouhý, prof. Vladimír Štefko, Miroslav Dacho


The independent actor and director Sláva Daubnerová (1980) graduated in culturology at the Faculty of Philosophy of Comenius University in Bratislava. In 2006 she founded the professional independent theatre P. A.T. as a platform for contemporary theatre, dance and new media. Under this label she creates monodrama compositions intermingling theatre and performance, on many projects she co-operates with guest actors, dancers, chorographers, musicians and visual artists. In 2006 she presented her first solo project based on the diaries of Louise Bourgeois named Cells, in 2007 she used Müller’s text Hamletmacihne after which she created a space multi-media installation, in 2008 it was her scenic concept called Polylogue based on the novel Melancholy by Jon Fosse. The last piece (co-produced by the Studio 12, Bratislava) is the documentary monodrama entitled M.H.L., nominated in BOARD Award 2010 as The Best Production and Newcomer of the Season 2009 / 2010.