Wind in the Tree Tops of Sassafras

Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra, 1994
Author: René de Obaldia
Directed by Ondrej Spišák

about production

We are in America, the State of Kentucky, at the beginning of the 19th century.

Everything is real, the way it should be, within the intentions of a genre which became one of the most popular above all thanks to the film. And at the same time, everything is different. In this western, which is from the beginning to the end a proclamation of victory of the good over the evil through religion, justice and courage, but mainly through family harmony, we cannot be certain of anything – behind marital faithfulness is hidden infidelity, siblings flirt with the idea of incest, on the reverse of sentimentality we are discovering cruelty in the name of faith in God even the most proper Christian becomes a murderer. And “my house – my castle” turns into a fortress against the pressures from the outside world, making the viewer both witness and hostage of not historic, but very topical plots.

To undermine the rules of a western and also categories of the good and the evil in classical fairy-tale sense already leads the preface from the author – both Indians are to be played by one actor. Was the author's intention to suggest the ambiguity of the human substance? Or to emphasize the fact that in certain situations the good and the evil are interchangeable? Or to express a belief that good and bad Indians don't exist, that there is only one real Indian, who – anticipating the destiny of his race – finally dies? This interpretation considering the ethic views of Obaldia, French play wright, writer, journalist, but also a man quite possible. Although his work doesn't lack play fullness, airiness, imagination, despite inclinations to the paradoxical (or because of that) it is serious even tragic with its effect.

These qualities have found an ideal partner in the director Ondrej Spišák, who is a young member of the Nitra Puppet Theatre ensemble and a founder of Teatro Tatro Theatre, which has staged Obaldia's play in the neighbouring Andrej Bagar Theatre. And at the same time they are referring us to his previous stage productions, to the world of demons and gnomes, beings playful and obsessed with passion from “Bloody Magic” (the Trnava Theatre) or from “Lord of Rings” (Minas Tirith Minas Morgul – Teatro Tatro theatre).

The cruelty of Obaldia's characters driven to the limit of absurdity, expressed in words and acts, undermining of all values up to the comical degradation, seemingly light conversational dialogue, which {rom time to time turns bitter with black humour, mysticism, magic, and intentionally exaggerated share of silly coincidence - all of that drags this parody to the waters of grotesque, one moment full of Chaplin-like kindness, but more often Jarry-like cruelty.

Darina Kárová


directed by Ondrej Spišák
translation: Blahoslav  Hečko
script editing and adaptation:: Darina  Kárová
kyrics: Ján Štrasser
stage set and costumes: František Lipták
music: Róbert Mankovecký
assistant director: Ján Greššo
cast: Jozef Dóczy, Adela Gáborová, Elena Podzámska, Ivo Hlaváček, Milan Kiš, Ján Greššo, Eva Pavlíková, Anton Živčic