about the production
The visit of an alien civilisation left a number of sites across the Earth marked. Thus were born the Zones, which work in their own, to us inexplicable ways. Here, there are neither physical laws nor life as we know it. Quarantined, armed-guarded areas and objects fascinate, frighten and entice at the same time – they attract anxious scientists and greedy profiteers alike. They are best known to the stalkers, who smuggle these mysterious items out and carry the Zone’s secrets with them at all times. The cult novel, which inspired a famous film version as well as a series of videogames, the Strugatsky brothers’ sci-fi classic Roadside Picnic (also known as Stalker) paints a portrait of life at the limits of one of the Zones. It reveals a world of disillusionment ruled by one the ablest local stalkers Redrick ‘Red’ Schuhart.
Teatro Tatro is a company known for being fond of leadings its audiences through caravans, tents and exteriors. In their newest production directed by Ondrej Spišák, whose visual concept was authored by Karel Czech, they rely on a space that is quite distant from the traditional blackbox. They brought their Stalker into the spaces of the former Nitra barracks – the unusual experience already starts by the gate to the barracks area and continues with a walk through the raw exterior of an unkempt grove. Moving across the Zone is, of course, regulated an only permitted with the company of an escort. Whoever looks for a comfortable viewing experience of a detached fiction incompatible with the pre- sent will likely miss their mark. A visit to the local paralysed community, where there is properly no living or dying, just hibernation, is hopeless and devouring. At the end of the journey, do not expect the familiar big top but a rather more constricted military tent. The enticing atmosphere of the Zone penetrates its every thread all the more that the local inhabitants are at all times literally within reach of the audience. The two camps close each other off in a powerfully magnetic theatrical trap, which, however, does not lack in humour as an inseparable element of the style of Teatro Tatro. Spišák, as playwright and director, does not offer a theatrical version of Tarkovsky’s film or a mechanical rewriting of brothers Strugatskys’ prose, although he plainly follows in its footsteps. It offers a unique immersion in a world where humanity’s current knowledge has run fatally ashore and, fa- ced with the inexplicable, almost every day is a punishment of forced imperatives or changes of rules. In a world that leaves those who are too close to it marked, and in which the struggle for survival – existential and real – is only invested by purpose by something as senseless as love.
With Stalker, the creators slightly tune down the company’s typical, richly spectacular style so as to achieve a concentrated atmosphere of thrilling mystery, a suffocating air in which each step can mean death or another momentary victory. The most dominant element here is the authenticity and liveliness with which the perfectly coordinated actors’ ensemble (along with the performing director) portray the freak show of characters who live in touch with the Zone. Naturally, the one who stands out most of these is the central character and narrator Red, played by Milan Ondrík, whose performance ranks among the most extraordinary in the recent seasons. The story is framed by Red’s ‘swan song’ – his allegedly final journey to the Zone. On it, he sets off for the most precious object in the Zone, acquiring which, however, requires no small sacrifice.
MLOKi Culture Society
“Powerful atmosphere is what comes to mind when one attempts to describe in a few of words the impression of the theatrical Stalker. The audience in this case partake directly in a strange event on the fringe of the law (…) The degree of the actors’ concentration (not only Ondrík’s, but also his colleagues’), directorial ingenuity and effects, the genius loci and the characteristic theatricality of Teatro Tatro make Stalker into a theatrical adventure worth experiencing.”
(Martina Mašlárová, .týždeň, 13 May 2018)
according to the novel Roofside Picnic
authors: Boris a Arkady Strugacky
adapted and directed by Ondrej Spišák
set and puppet design: Karel Czech
costumes: Katarína Hollá
technical co-operation: Radoslav Šabík
production: Jana Suraová, Mana s.r.o. Banská Bystrica
cast: Milan Ondrík, Agáta Spišáková, Zuzana Konečná, Vít Bednárik, Peter Oszlík, Milan Vojtela, Šimon Spišák, Ondrej Spišák
Ondrej Spišák (1964) graduated in directing and dramaturgy from the Faculty of Alternative and Puppet Theatre – The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He collaborated intensively with many puppet theatres and drama companies in Slovakia (Puppet Theatre in Žilina, State Puppet Theatre in Bratislava), the Czech Republic (Petr Bezruč Theatre in Ostrava, National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, Těšín Theatre) and Poland (Puppet Theatre in Warsaw, Białystok Puppet Theatre, New Theatre in Łódź, National Theatre in Warsaw). He gained renown in Poland through his work for puppet as well as traditional theatres – Our Class, Merlin, Different His- tory and Prophet Ilya. In 1990, he co-founded the travelling theatre company Teatro Tatro, which is active to this day as a free association of directors, scenographers and actors. From 1992, he worked as a director at what is currently the Karol Spišák Old Theatre in Nitra, in years 2007 – 2016 was its managing director. His production The Magical Theatre Machine earned Teatro Tatro the Gold Medal at the Cultural Olympics during the Winter Olympic Games 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. His Master and Margarita won the GRAND PRIX at the Spotkania festival 2015 in Toruń, the Tatra Banka Foundation Art Award in 2015 and two awards at the New Drama festival 2015. At the International Theatre Festival Divadelná Nitra, Ondrej Spišák‘s productions were successfully presented several times.
Video of the production: no
Script of the production: SK, EN
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