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Ivan Cankar

The Serfs

Original title: Hlapci
Play in five acts

Director

Janez Pipan

Opening night

23 September 2017
Main Stage

Duration:

175 minutes inc. interval

The Serfs is considered one of those canonical texts that continue to provoke, raise essential questions and require a constant in-depth reflection. Working on his new play in 1909, Cankar was initially determined to write a political satire. In the third act, however, his satirical play suddenly turned into »a tragedy«, as he himself described it. However, the play is ultimately not a tragedy according to classic criteria, despite the tormenting struggle of the main protagonist, the progressive school teacher Jerman, a decent intellectual of high moral standards, forced to retreat in the face of political pragmatism, self-centred pretension, abuses of power and manipulations. Nonetheless, The Serfs has established a long-lasting template for dealing with political scheming and manipulations that has not changed much in Slovenia since the play was first written 110 years ago.
Published in 1910, The Serfs caused an immediate scandal and gave rise to indignation and outrage, resulting in the censor’s ban on staging the play. Thus it was first produced after Cankar’ death, in 1919, in Trieste, and later in Zagreb, and finally, on 11 December 1919, on the premises of the present-day SNT Drama Ljubljana.
With its ambiguous and evocative title, The Serfs has remained a paradigmatic text repeatedly used to describe Slovenian political situation and a collective attitude to the authorities. Frequently analysed and quoted, its selected passages have acquired various meanings, ranging from a devastating critique of Slovenian national character to the slogans of emancipation and patriotism. Several characters from The Serfs have become synonyms for people of principle, decency and high moral standards, or, conversely, for the absence thereof and laxity. Cankar’s unforgiving diagnosis of the nation continues to provoke, which makes each new staging of The Serfs a singular response to the play.

GENI: Indeed, I’m genuinely blessed, carrying out this holy job, for otherwise I’d be bored to hell. Do you remember when we were set a written task to elaborate on the holiness and superiority of the teaching profession? I was applauded for I had lied the most … not a single word about the hills and the hillbillies or the patched blouses, the run-down heels, the potatoes in their jackets, the unbridled tongues, or the uncouth superintendent … oh, the usefulness of the task, as now its purpose has been proven: whoever has not learned to lie early, will struggle hard to become a definitive liar.

Creators

Creative team

ADAPTED BY

Janez Pipan

Drama Igralec: Janez Pipan | odpri ustvarjalca

DRAMATURG

Mojca Kranjc

Drama Igralec: Mojca Kranjc | odpri ustvarjalca

SET DESIGNER

Sanja Jurca Avcı

Drama Igralec: Sanja Jurca Avcı | odpri ustvarjalca

COSTUME DESIGNER

Leo Kulaš

Drama Igralec: Leo Kulaš | odpri ustvarjalca

COMPOSER

Aldo Kumar

Drama Igralec: Aldo Kumar | odpri ustvarjalca

LIGHTING DESIGNER

Andrej Hajdinjak

Drama Igralec: Andrej Hajdinjak | odpri ustvarjalca

LANGUAGE CONSULTANT

Jože Faganel

Drama Igralec: Jože Faganel | odpri ustvarjalca

CHOREOGRAPHER

Sebastjan Starič

Drama Igralec: Sebastjan Starič | odpri ustvarjalca

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Luka Marcen

Drama Igralec: Luka Marcen | odpri ustvarjalca

ASSISTANT SET DESIGNER

Tomaž Budkovič

Drama Igralec: Tomaž Budkovič | odpri ustvarjalca

ASSISTANT COSTUME DESIGNER

Lara Kulaš

Drama Igralec: Lara Kulaš | odpri ustvarjalca

ASSISTANT DRAMATURG (STUDENT)

Jasna Pintarič

Drama Igralec: Jasna Pintarič | odpri ustvarjalca

Cast

Klemen Slakonja

Parish priest

Tadej Toš

Head teacher

Marko MandićDrama Igralec: Marko Mandić | odpri igralca

Jerman, teacher

Bojan EmeršičDrama Igralec: Bojan Emeršič | odpri igralca

Komar, teacher

Jurij ZrnecDrama Igralec: Jurij Zrnec | odpri igralca

Hvastja, teacher

Nina IvanišinDrama Igralec: Nina Ivanišin | odpri igralca

Lojzka, teacher

Pia ZemljičDrama Igralec: Pia Zemljič | odpri igralca

Geni, teacher

Urban Kuntarič

Postman

Doroteja Nadrah

Anka, Mayor's daughter

Petra GovcDrama Igralec: Petra Govc | odpri igralca

Jerman's mother

Aljaž Jovanović

Kalander, blacksmith

Iva BabićDrama Igralec: Iva Babić | odpri igralca

Kalander's wife

Urban Kuntarič

First worker

Gregor Podričnik

Second worker

Rok ViharDrama Igralec: Rok Vihar | odpri igralca

Pisek, drunk

Vanja PlutDrama Igralec: Vanja Plut | odpri igralca

Young woman

Matic Valič

Innkeeper

Sara Dirnbek

Katarina, waitress

Timon ŠturbejDrama Igralec: Timon Šturbej | odpri igralca/Timotej Novaković

Young man

Blaž Popovski

Second young man

Awards

2020

Nina Ivanišin Prešeren Fund Award

2019

Nina IvanišinStane Sever Fund Award

Sponsors

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