35th / 14th International Festival of Alternative and New Theatre
35 / 14. интернационални фестивал алтернативног и новог театра

Novi Sad, 25th June - 3rd July 2008

Sat, 28th June
Miroslav Benka
Madlenianum Opera and Theatre and The Art Center “Bread and Plays” (Serbia)
| 21:30, The Youth Theatre, Evening Stage

Theatre of dreams in twelve images

Screenplay, directing, selection of music and sound editing: Miroslav Benka
He – The Painter – Miroslav Benka
His Shadow – Zdenko Kožik
Shadow of his Shadow – Miroslav Kožik
Their People from Shadows – Zlatko Gašpar, Vladimir Lakatoš

The Painter’s Model, Muse and Saint – Anna Šagova
The Painter’s Mother – Marija Truman
Woman with red cape – Marija Vujović-Prodanović
The Boy – Ivan Kožik

CHOIR OF HUNGRY OLD MEN: Woman with a bundle on her back – Ana Kuljhavi; Woman with a toque - Marija Hljeban; Woman with a black umbrella – Marija Truman; A man with an orthopedic shoe – Jan Veres; A man with an accordion – Stefan Kiš

Custume designer: Jelena Zlatković
Light design: Miroslav Benka i Srđan Jovanović

The duration of the play is 90 minutes.

Even as a boy, I remember a story on a village painter, who pitched his painting easel in the center of the village and painted the church. When the war started, the fascists confined his love, together with a group of villagers, in the church which they blew up… Immediately after the liberation, the liberators – the bolshevists arrived in the village, and he was still on the same place, pitching his painting easel and painting the church with the burnt angels in the heaven… They almost beat him to death, so that those closest to him put him in the invalid chair.
People say that, when he recovered, he continued to paint the same sight, with the same passion. One night his long-forgotten ancestors started visiting him: his never-forgotten love, overgrown with bushes, and other figures from his paintings. They wanted to take him with them and bury him alive…
Memories are usually dignified, intact and sacred. It is most beautiful to become silent. To win over the corporal part. To create silence. Can a theatre become a polyphonous series of pulses streaming towards their end? I dedicate the performance Painted in Frost to all painters.
                                                                                                               Miroslav Benka

The play takes place in the painter’s studio and the painter’s head – on this and on the other side of reality

HE, the painter, is sitting in the invalid chair, in front of his easel, but not painting.
Lost in thoughts, he is staring at a point in front of him.
Even without inkling that he is living the last day of his life, he recollects the memories of hid past… Behind the huge glass wall “Painted in frost”, of a half-dilapidated building, on this and on the other side of reality, he receives the visits of the shadows of his long-forgotten ancestors and the figures from his paintings. Before the eyes of the spectator they skillfully transform the painter’s easel and set it for the “last dinner,” his “crucifixion” and “catafalque”, indicating his end…

SHE: My dear… for saying goodbye… tell me something more about yourself… about your work. How to go on living without the dearest ones?
HE:… “My ideals, which lightened my way and filled me ever and ever with a joyful will for life, were goodness, beauty and love. And, as an old wise man said: ‘those who deserve the greatest love are those who most contributed to ennoblement of people.’ I sincerely believe that you best serve the mankind if you occupy it with a noble idea, thus ennobling it indirectly. This primarily applies to artists and then to scientists. Every science and every art requires the same sort of reflection process. Without reconsideration of eternally unreachable goals in the domain of art and scientific research, life would seem pointless and meaningless. (He sighs) The situation with us, the mortals, is so strange. Everyone appears on the Earth only as if in a short visit – comes to life not by his will, not even knowing why?! – For me, it is sufficient – to marvel at mysteries!...”   
From the screenplay Painted in Frost

Miroslav Benka (1956), screenwriter, actor, director, designer. He is a distinguished artist. He was among the creators of post-modern tendencies in contemporary ex-Yugoslav theatre, supporting integral directing poetics.
His performances participated successfully at many festivals in the country and abroad (BITEF, Sterijino pozorje; theatre festivals in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, the Slovak Republic, Romania, Norway, Finland, Egypt, Iran).

For his work, Miroslav Benka received many awards. The most significant among them are: State Prize for directing from the Union of Slovak Dramatic Artists (ZDNS), then Grand Prix for the best performance Bread and Plays at 24th International Theatre Fadjr Festival in Tehran, Iran, in 2006.  

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