The Reunification of Two Koreas

State Theatre Košice, 2018
Author: Joël Pommerat
Directed by Júlia Rázusová

about the production

Based on the title The Reunification of the Two Koreas, the audience might have easily thought they were dealing with a piece of social-political drama that either directly addressed the difficult relationship between North and South Korea or at the very least offered some commentary on the current state of politics. However, the conversational play by French playwright Joël Pommerat focuses above all on the conflict between two different worlds – the male and the female. This perennial and artistically perhaps most frequently interrogated theme is approached by Pommerat in a rather distinctive way, by means of more than thirty short albeit skilfully written and terse dialogues with surprising conclusions. The author himself admits to the theme’s ‘unoriginality’ by using characters and motifs he borrows from the works of Arthur Schnitzler, Edward Albee or Ingmar Bergman.

The selection of this dramatic text reflects certain progressive tendencies that have gained purchase in the dramaturgy of the State Theatre Kosice over the past couple of seasons. All such titles are connected with the name of dramaturge Miriam Kičiňová and with stylistically distinctive directors. Among these is Júlia Rázusová, who is already staging here second piece at this theatre, and once again – just as was the case with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – it is a drama that portrays the perpetual struggles of partnership, warns of the differences between the male and female worlds and of the search for methods that aim to unite them. Subliminally, however, a certain form of politics and criticism of contemporary society is present in The Reunification of the Two Koreas. The conflict of the male-female world can be read as a metaphor for any other conflict that is based on two opposing sides, their discord, struggle for power or even the most basic struggle – the struggle for survival. Rázusová’s concept is now more than ever connected with the visual aspect of the production, created by Markéta Plachá. Plachá here complements Rázusová’s natural scenic inventiveness and playfulness with inspirations and impulses from puppet theatre. The scenography and costumes also incorporate the metaphor present in the title of Pommerat’s play. Besides military-like costumes, the play makes use of different variations on the coloured ribbons that resemble those tied on the Freedom Bridge, the only bridge that connects the two Koreas.

The ‘peace ring’ of sorts that is located at the centre of the stage is entered by new characters again and again, who paint a mosaic of banal and bizarre, humorous and serious situations shortly before, during or after their crisis of relationship. The six actors, who portray more than 50 characters, synchronise perfectly and on the back of the specific poetics of Júlia Rázusová create always different, original and theatrically rich mise-en-scènes, above which hovers an atmosphere of naïve playfulness and simultaneously one of fierce combat. A perfect harmony and collective dynamic are present on stage, although the four in-house actors Alena Ďuránová, Tatiana Poláková, Andrej Palko and Peter Čižmár were joined by two guest actors, Veronika Husovská and Braňo Mosný. They not only brilliantly fit with the team of actors from Košice but also bring the right dose of humorous detachment to their colleagues.

Despite a certain scepticism about the decline of interpersonal relationships and perhaps even of the social system, which seeps through the play at times, somewhere, far away, there flutters a ribbon of hope that says: For love!
MLOKi Culture Society

“It is a play where 3 actresses portray 28 and 3 actors portray 24 funny, bizarre, tragic and sentimental characters involved in situations of relationships of man to woman, but also of man to man and woman to woman. Rapid changes of costume, a constant presence on stage even while not per- forming, transitions from character to character and rigorous work with stage props is precise with perhaps each of the actors.“
(Hana Rodová,, 27. 2. 2018)

“The very arrangement of the audience into two opposing blocks serves as a metaphor that elaborates on Pommerat’s central idea of division. The audience members on both filled stands can always gaze into each other’s faces, into each other’s eyes, the same way it is between the actors throughout the entire performance. (…) The audience witness a succession of fragmentary situations that balances its looming monotony by a diversity of genres from grotesque to tragic to absurd. The unifying motif is human nature and the hundred different shapes interpersonal relationships take.”
(Matúš Marcinčin,, 29. 5. 2018)





directed by Júlia Rázusová
translation: Elena Flašková
dramaturgy: Miriam Kičiňová
set and costume design Markéta Plachá
music: Marián Lejava
vocals: Katarína Máliková
cast: Alena Ďuránová, Tatiana Poláková, Andrej Palko, Peter Čižmár, Veronika Husovská, Braňo Mosný


Júlia Rázusová (1982) graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Prešov in aesthetics, Slovak and literature, and from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava in directing and dramaturgy. While still a student, she already directed several productions (Living Corpse, Victor or The Rule of Children), which were staged at local and foreign theatre festivals (Czech Republic, Russia, France, Portugal). In 2009, she completed a study visit focusing on physical theatre at Rose Bruford College in London. Upon completing her studies, she directed productions at several professional theatres in Slovakia (Theatre Astorka Korzo '90, Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra, Alexander Dukhnovich Theatre in Prešov, Slovak National Theatre, Jozef Gregor Tajovský Theatre in Zvolen). Since 2013, she is art director at the Prešov National Theatre (PND), which she co-founded with dramaturge Michaela Zakuťanská. Slovak theatre criticism acknowledged the concept of PND by a nomination for the DOSKY Award in the category Discovery of the Season 2014.

Materials available

Video of the production: yes
Script of the production: SK

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