The Ignoramus and the Madman

Slovak National Theatre – Drama, Bratislava, 2005
Author: Thomas Bernhard
Directed by Jan Antonín Pitínský

about the production

“Director Jan Antonín Pitínský... mired in passionately whirling theatrical and political waters (editor's note: in Slovakia) amazingly accurately. He speaks - as in every Bernhard's plays – of the greatness and smallness of theatre, of actor's curses and restrictions, dullness of the spectator and of indigence of social affairs. In beautiful, pure lines of the abstract stage by Tomáš Rusín, Pitínský serves us with sophisticated lightness and discreetness of waiter Winter the Doctor's frenetic monologues such as a minute description of a brain autopsy or panegyric praises of coloratura mastery of the Queen of Night. The director leaves Bernhard's text to stand out, he measures exactly the pace and rhythm of the play by unexposed way, he masterly leads every part of the play to the pianissimo end. The play, which glorifies and rejects opera, is under Pitínský's direction composed as a chamber music work, as intimate opera in two acts.”
Zora Jaurová, Týždeň

“Pitínský knows what he speaks of when theatre, particularly opera, is discussed. His musical directions were usually terrific, complex aesthetical experience. He was successful also in this dramatic miniature in expressing his fine feeling for rhythm of theatrical action and word.  In spite of a current of words uttered by the Doctor, who is played by Ľuboš Kostelný, we do not loose for one second the thread of his ardently ignorant talk. The silent Father, played by Dušan Jamrich, is able to express all his sottish madness by minimum of gestures. Ingrid Timková plays a hysterical and irresponsible diva, coolly passionate. By sensitive usage of word and music, Pitínský transformed the play into a small dramatic opera. Yet the well-thought-out form did not overcome the emotional charge.”
Zuzana Uličianska, Sme

“The play was translated into Slovak by dramaturgist Martin Porubjak. It is by any means the first translation and therefore the first introduction of Bernhard's play not only in Slovakia but also in the former Czechoslovakia... The atmosphere is tensed up. In it, the machine for coloraturas wheedles out the purest trill... The actress introduces all of the shades of acting affect: from cold reservation and pose through domineering and hysteria to resignation, desperation and self-pity.”
Mária Jenčíková, Pravda




directed by Jan Antonín Pitínský
translation, dramaturgy: Martin Porubjak
set design: Tomáš Rusín
costume design: Zuzana Štefunková
music co-operation: Richard Dvorák
characters and cast:
Queen of the Night: Ingrid Timková; Father: Dušan Jamrich; Doctor: Ľuboš Kostelný; Mrs Vargová: Mária Kráľovičová; Waiter Winter: Vladimír Obšil


Jan Antonín Pitínský (1956)
One of the most notable personalities of contemporary Czech drama. An author and co-author of theatre plays, adaptations and screenplays, also ballet libretto, author of poetry and prose. He is extremely active theatre director in studio or stone theatres and opera stages. A many-times holder of the Alfréd Radok Prize (the most significant Czech prize for theatre direction) and the Prize of the Critics of the Divadelné noviny for Best Production of the year. So far, he has staged more than fifty productions directed in many Czech, Moravian and Slovak theatres. The play The Ignoramus and the Madman is his third meeting with Thomas Bernhard; the first one was Ritter, Denne, Voss, and the second The Theatrist. Both of them were staged in the On the Balustrade Theatre (Prague). His most successful  productions staged in the Czech Republic or Slovakia were introduced also at the Divadelná Nitra Festival (1995 – The Sister Anxiety; 1996 – Ritter, Denne, Voss; The Chamber; 1997 – Job; Dinner above the City; 2002 – Thirteen Songs).

Materials available

Script of the production: DE

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