The Woman before

The Žilina Town Theatre, 2009
Author: Roland Schimmelpfennig
Directed by Eduard Kudláč

about the production

The Slovak theatre has been only slowly and with difficulties accepting new drama. Not every repertoire theatre is willing to leave the territory of well-established dramatic works. It has to be said that the repertoires before 1989 were built according ideological standards. The trends were decided upon by the ruling power and the majority of the played authors came from socialist countries. It seems though, that even twenty years of freedom have not changed the thinking and aesthetic needs.

Roland Schimmelpfennig is certainly not an Avant-garde playwright but nevertheless in the Slovak conditions he is more than a significant author – by themes and the form of their presentation. His play The Woman Before appealingly suggests that there is nobody who can escape the past, that even the things rooted deeply in the past or completed a long ago are still around us as well as inside of us. And in an unexpected moment they confront us with the present. In this, the message of the play is almost metaphorical.

Schimmelpfennig composes his play into a long series of short scenes. As if he were watching photographs or shots in a film strip. He does not follow a time sequence; he skips certain moments in order to return to some of them later. By such scene succession he changes a seemingly banal story of a love triangle into a psychological examination of the three main characters. Furthermore, he easily leaves, or even conceals, a number of important facts of the story. By covering up the secondary motifs, he increases the mysteriousness and anxiety and makes this banal story a kind of a psycho-thriller.

Director Eduard Kudláč belongs to the minimalist theatre enthusiasts. He does not need any decoration; he submits everything to one intention: having the actor in a laboratory clean space to be concentrated on the details of the action and the thinking of the character. And the protagonists fill the stage with their modern acting, based on the changing intensity of dynamism and economical movements but, at the same time, on psychologically exact motifs of their acts.

Stage design by Eva Rácová works with three not exactly defined spaces which receive their meaning by actors´ playing. The final stage transformation adds to the strong emotional experience of catharsis. Another powerful element here is music by Martin Burlas. It plays, following the spirit of the author, with a familiar musical motif which, however, broadens its meaning by the effect of the story and action on the stage.

The Woman Before is a signal of interesting goings-on in the recent seasons at the Žilina Theatre, which is to be presented at the Divadelná Nitra after quite a long time.
Oleg Dlouhý


directed by Eduard Kudláč
translation: Peter Lomnický
dramaturgy: Zuzana Palenčíková
set design, costumes: Eva Rácová
music: Martin Burlas, Radiohead
movement co-operation: Peter Maťo
assistant to director: Anna Hulmanová
Characters and cast: Frank: Boris Zachar, Claudia: Lucia Jašková, Romy Vogtländer: Jana Oľhová, Andy, Frank´s and Claudia´s son: Norman Šáro / Ján Dobrík, Tina, Andy´s girlfriend: Iveta Pagáčová / Kristína Sihelská


Eduard Kudláč (1972) studied theatre directing at the Academy of Performing Arts Bratislava and the Summer Academy for Performing Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 1997 he was awarded the DOSKY Prize as Discovery of the Season for his production of L. Klíma´s play I Have the Absolute Will (VŠMU). His production of H. Müller´s play Description of a Picture (1999, The Žilina Town Theatre) and production named The Correction (2000, J. A. V. Theatre & Palác Akropolis, Prague) were presented at various international fringe theatre festivals. He fully developed his intention to search for new possibilities of theatre through movement, fragmentariness, non-verbal expression and action in his phenomenontheatre, established in 2000 as an independent platform for contemporary theatre. For his interpretations of contemporary plays he received a few prestigious prizes at the Nová drama/New Drama Festival: Rodrigo García: I Bought a Spade at Ikea to Dig My Own Grave (2005, phenomenontheatre), R. Schimmelpfennig: Before/After (2007, Slovak Chamber Theatre), first part from the trilogy entitled Feed the Viper in Your Bosom, Part I: Stamina Report (2007 phenomenontheatre & Stanica Žilina-Zárečie) and S. Belbel: Cell Phone (2008, The Žilina Town Theatre).

Materials available

Script of the production: SK, EN

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