Donnerstag, 28.10.2021 01:47 Uhr

Pantoffelhelden

Verantwortlicher Autor: Nadejda Komendantova Theater Center Forum, 21.09.2021, 08:55 Uhr
Nachricht/Bericht: +++ Kunst, Kultur und Musik +++ Bericht 1576x gelesen

Theater Center Forum [ENA] In September and October 2021 the Viennese spectators have an opportunity to enjoy the theater performance of the famous Croatian write Miro Gavran with the title “Pantoffelhelden” which takes places in the Theater Center Forum. The title speaks already for itself and can be translated as “Henpecked Heroes”. This is a comedy but also a deep psychological and philosophical work at the same time.

While watching the play the spectator can follow the story at different levels while giving him or herself critical questions about relationships between man and woman, between individual and society, between private life, aspirations, desires, and reality shaped by social institutions such as justice system or economic reality including availability of housing and job perspectives. The theater play leaves the spectator with several open questions to stimulate critical thinking. Did Anna make a good choice while selecting Ivo and not Marko at the end? Apparently, Ivo knew her better while also accepting dark sides of her character while Marko was more focused on himself.

Will the public reputation of Ivo become better one day? Interesting are his words about the social stigma on someone being in prison. And there is no difference if the person was put into prison by a mistake in the justice system or not. This is the fact of being in prison which counts. Would the relationship between three protagonists develop differently if they would not be put into such circumstances by the lack of option for Ivo to live in another place? What is the journalistic ethic and how much can be reported about private life in public?

But despite of being put into difficult circumstances such as injustice in the legal system, the lack of economic perspectives or the lack of private life protection against the attention of mass media, the heroes of the play keep surprisingly optimistic attitudes. And even despite small quarrels and disputes of everyday life they keep human and empathic relationship to each other. Miro Gavran is a contemporary Croatian write those works were translated into forty languages making him the most translated Croatian writer. His books were published in 250 different editions and his theater plays were visited by more than four million spectators.

He even had the entire festival dedicated solely to his dramas and comedies in five different countries, including Slovakia, Poland, Czeck Republic, Germany and Serbia. He received over 30 literary awards in Croatia and abroad. His works are included into several anthologies and are studies at humanity courses at university of various countries. In the year 2017 he received the award from the President of the Republic of Austria for the contribution to the promotion of the European ideas of community and European values. Miro Gavran is the author of the cycle of plays where he is focusing on male-female relations and portrays various fascinating historical persons. He also wrote several books for children.

European News Agency and GAMUEKL Büro received an exclusive interview with Miro Gavran and responses for questions which appeared after the theater performance. 1. How did the idea of "Pantoffelhelden" appear? Ideas come by themselves when they want to, not when I want them to. That's what happened with this comedy. Since I am extraordinarily fond of the subject of relationships between men and women, 15 years ago I came up with the idea of a man who ended up in prison without guilt, after which his wife left him, assuming that he was actually guilty, and therefore married another man.

However, it turns out that her husband is innocent and suddenly shows up at the apartment where his ex-wife lives with the new man to move back into this apartment by himself. This initial situation offered me a variety of humorous and true-to-life possibilities; I found that I could surprise the protagonists from scene to scene and confuse them with new life situations that forced them to make quick and important decisions. From the beginning, I saw the heroes of the plot as ordinary little recognizable people who are not up to the situation that has befallen them. I enjoyed writing this text.

2. Are these real people? Do they have some connection to your life or to lives of your friends? I hope they are recognizable characters, close to today's viewers. They have no connection to my life nor to that of my friends, but there are points of contact with people I have met in my life.... I knew about some people who were innocently convicted and subsequently acquitted, I know cases where a woman's old husband and her new husband became friends after some time.

At the beginning of my drama, the two husbands of one and the same woman have all the conditions to become enemies, but because of their positive characters they become friends. This irritates the woman they are both so much connected that she does not know where to put her emotions. 3. Theater plays touches upon various social problems such as housing availability, fairness of the court procedures or ethics of journalistic reporting. Do you think they are still actual? Unfortunately, today we can see for ourselves almost daily that the media are neither objective nor independent. Likewise, situations in which innocent people were convicted are uncovered again and again....

Through DNA analyses it was subsequently determined that in the USA 30% of those sentenced to death were innocent. I am deeply convinced that an author can express himself through comedies about the most existential social issues, but as a comedy writer he must be aware that the audience expects humor from him. With a touch of humor, it is easier to bear even bitter issues. In my opinion, it is no coincidence that this text has had ten premieres in several countries so far. For example, in 2013 the comedy was filmed in Vilnius, Lithuania, under the title "How to Steal a Woman," which was attended by 100,000 viewers in the first month. In a country with a population of only 3 million.

4. Was the preparation of theater play influenced by the current covid pandemic? This question has to be asked of director Hubsi Kramar and his actors. I did not attend the Vienna rehearsals, but I was told that the entire team had a lot of joy in the rehearsal work. This joy managed to overcome the problems caused by the pandemic, and this joy obviously contributed to the success of the premiere, and also to the joy of the Viennese audience, which received the play so positively.

5. This is a multicultural play where protagonists are coming from various cultural backgrounds such as Spain, Croatia or Hungary. Why these countries? And does cultural background reflect in attitudes and behaviour of protagonists? In the text that I wrote, all the protagonists come from Croatia.... Hubsi Kramar, as the director, has decided to label the heroes linguistically, thus bringing in the one multicultural approach.... Since I didn't see the performance, I can't know if it won or lost because of that, in any case I learned that the Viennese audience reacted enthusiastically to the play and the direction.

I am happy that it is now the third premiere that has taken place in this wonderful Theater Center Forum, directed by Mr. Stefan Mras, and by Hubsi Kramar, respectively with Carmen Wagner as producer.... I attended the first two premieres and was supposed to be present at this one, but unfortunately I was unable to attend. I hope, however, that one day I can experience the performance live. And we are also happy that this premier took place and are looking very much forwards to the new theater plays and literature works of Miro Gavran.

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