Strange Johnny (Apocalypse according Janko Kráľ)

The Slovak National Uprising Theatre (now The Slovak Chamber Theatre) Martin, 1994
Author: Karol Horák
Directed by Roman Polák

about production

The Slovak National Uprising Theatre (DSNP) of Martin is one of the most significant drama ensembles in Slovakia, thanks to its artistic performances for many years. This can be proved by the fact, that the Theatre of Martin represented our country at the festivals in Moscow, Belgrade, Wroclaw, Edinburgh and Torun.

Stage production of Strange Johnny represents not only a comeback of the playwright Horák to the stage, where he made his debut, but also after few years, a comeback of Roman Polák, who, in a decisive way built an image for the Martin Theatre in the second half of the 1980, and it was just here where he, being a director, achieved an international recognition and acknowledgement.

The leitmotif of the play became the life of one of the greatest poets of Romanticism, Janko Kráľ. His work was ranked by many literature experts and scientists of this century, e. g. R. Jakobson, on the level of poetry by the greatest authors of European Romanticism, even despite the fact that an extensive part of his work was discovered and recognized long after his death.

It is evident, that Horák chooses dramatic life stories of the personalities of the 19th century Slovak history for the subject matter of his plays. Although these are not “historical” plays in the meaning of a substitute for boring scholar lectures. They are exciting plays by their form and ambition to appeal to emotional, but first of all to the world of thoughts of today audience, to work with historic facts like with a starting point for creative work of a more general metaphor and theatre fiction.

Dramatic life of Janko Kráľ reflected a real drama of the world indeed and we may say that not only of the Slovak world, even though, history of Slovakia plays a substantial role in it. It is a dramatic fresco about the life of an above average individual, who fought as well as he could, for a gorgeous and luring idea of freedom, until they broke him, until he was broken, until the darkness swallowed him...            '

Problems of revolutions, which are not fought to the end, of the permanent search for the meaning of personal, national and social existence, hopes for principal turnaround towards morally better world, constantly reappearing and vanishing in the same way, the issues of personal and political decisions in the limes of change sound with a never-ending insistence even today. And it is more pressing today, as the play about Janko Kráľ is obviously aimed at the present times, because of its dynamic, if not almost film poetry, as well as great urgency of thoughts. And it is this, by what the play would like to address the contemporaries for a dialogue about the motion of the spirit in history which we experience now, or again and again all the time.

Peter Kováč


directed by Roman Polák
scriot editing: Peter Kováč
stage set: Jozef Ciller
costumes: Mária Cillerová
music: Peter Mankovecký
assistant director: Štefan Halás
cast: Ľubomír Kostelný, Andrej Štermenský, Martin Horňák, Štefan Mišovic, Eliška Nosálová, Renáta Rundová, Ján Peťka, Štefan Halás, Ján Kožuch, František Výrostko, Viliam Hriadel, Michal Gazdík, Ivan Folkman, Ivan Giač, Peter Gábor, Elena Sudická, Dana Kuffelová, Jozef Kramár, Emília Čížová, Nela Valentová, Tibor Bogdan, Anton Januš, Ján Barto, Ivan Kollár, Branislav Bača, Ivan Kovalský, Ján Gabala, Silvia Gragorová, Darina Mázorová