Jozef Tiso is without any dispute the most tragic personality of the modern Slovak history... After the Munich betrayal and Hitler's rigged break up of Czechoslovakia, he, as a prominent politician and later president of the first Slovak Republic, collaborated in creating a totalitarian regime which enterprisingly and systematically acted against a group of the citizens, inhabitants of his own country, mainly the Jews… 72 thousand Slovak Jews were brutally transported outside the state borders. Their journey ended up in extermination concentration camps in which many of them were killed... His personal tragedy was that in the time of his live, he was... mainly as a catholic priest, moral and natural authority for the majority of the Slovaks. Considering the horrible consequences, Tiso's public acting in 1939 – 1945 cannot be called otherwise but a moral and human failure. On political trial in 1947, Tiso refused his responsibility and guilt in all charges. The Retribution National Court found him guilty and sentenced him to death. The execution took place on 18 April 1947. The tragedy of Jozef Tiso is a tragedy of a politician who refused his responsibility and it is also a tragedy of a priest who did not expressed any compassion and regret.
a bulletin to the production
In the time when the synonym of the word theatre is mostly entertaining or recreation, the production with a laconic name Tiso arouses some kind of discomfort. Probably the most delicate chapter of the modern Slovak history has not been sufficiently reflected on by historians yet and there is perhaps no significant artistic depiction of this topic at all.
... Exclusively authentic Tiso's sermons, speeches, articles and statements in traditionally masterly interpretation by Marián Labuda map Tiso's clerical and political career... every single coloured piece gradually fits into the other and they all create a horrific jigsaw puzzle on which there is a picture of a man who, struggling for his ideals, made a fatal mistake and never admitted it. It cost tens of thousands lives and a curse of apologizing the lesser of two evils, which has been hanging above us until today.
… a virtuoso composition which comments the theme in pure theatrical way – by thorough and well-though-out selection of texts, minimal stage means where every detail becomes a powerful sign, by an ingenious musical composition with the usage of a live choir, or by suitably used film projection.
Zora Jaurová, Týždeň
Screenwriter Rastislav Ballek... created the space for understanding the paradoxes, which accompanied this clergyman through all his life. Ballek does not reconstruct the period or all details from Tiso's life. He just put miscellaneous material or harmless themes side by side to facts, which had a tragic impact. From those important and fatal ones there are some that resonate in the production - many of us are horrified by them even today...
Marián Labuda in Tiso ... skilfully handles expressive parts of the play, he accents marvellously and his declamations of archaic texts are terrific. Yet in every moment he indicates that he is "only accompanying" the hero of the play, that he is just lending him his voice and body having his own opinion about it.
Oleg Dlouhý, Domino Fórum
script & directed by Rastislav Ballek
dramaturgist: Martin Kubran
set design: Jozef Ciller
costumes: Anna Cigánová
music: Peter Groll
musical rehearsal: Branislav Kostka
characters and cast:
Tiso: Marián Labuda,voice: Elo Romančík, Monk: Martin Hronský, Bethlehemites, jew, Guardsman: šStudents of third and fourth grade of the State Conservatoire in Bratislava, The Technik vocal choir under the leadership of Branislav Kostka
Rastislav Ballek (1971)
He graduated in theatre directory at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Bratislava in 1997. His work has been based mostly on Slovak classical literature but by means of irony and parody he decanonizes the co-called national themes. In the cooperation with dramaturgist Martin Kubran, he created a series of productions inspired by controversial, rejected or forgotten Slovak literary texts. He collaborated with several theatres throughout Slovakia as well as in Brno and Prague (the Czech Republic). He first appeared at the Divadelná Nitra Festival with his student production of Mikuláš Dohnány's Departure from Bratislava which had been awarded a prize at the Setkání/Encounter '96 Festival of Student Theatres in Brno. He repeated his visit at the Divadelná Nitra in 1997 (Desolate Flover) and in 1998 when he introduced his production The Atoms of God which was awarded the DOSKY '98 Prize for Discovery of the Season.