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On Hens’ Wings (Irena Brežná)

Katarína Aulitisová

Direction: Katarína Aulitisová
Set: Markéta Plachá
Music: Lucia Chuťková
 Dramaturgy: Katarína Jánošová

Jana Anna Čonková a Jazmína Piktorová
Mother and Others: Janka Sovičová
Granny and Others: Jaroslava Hupková
Father and Others: Lukáš Tandara
Brother and Others: Peter Pavlik
Aunt and Others: Miroslava Dudková
Uncle and Others: Simon Fico
Teacher and nothing else: Miriam Kalinková
Prisoner: Róbert Laurinec

Premiere: 13th May 2016
The production is designed for children aged 14 and older, and adult audiences

On Hens’ Wings is the first production in the Bratislava Puppet Theatre’s repertoire designed for young people and adults. It is inspired by the novel of the same name by Slovak-Swiss writer Irena Brežná, which first appeared in German in 2007. Brežná left Czechoslovakia as a child with her parents in 1968. Both the book and the play deal with life in an “eastern bloc” country in the 1950s. The main heroine is the Young Pioneer Jana, who succumbs to the influence of the official ideology in school, while her family environment is totally different. Her father, an intellectual, is transferred to a factory, her mother is even briefly imprisoned. After her mother’s return from prison and the death of her beloved leader Stalin, Jana finds her previous certainties crumbling.

The production gained two nominations in the prestigious Slovak critics’ Dosky awards (Markéta Plachá for the art design, while Anna Čonková and Jazmína Piktorová in the double role of Jana scored in the category Discovery of the Year).

The book On Hens‘ Wing is the autobiographical testimony of a child, combined with fictitious narrative, about life in Trenčín in an intellectual, and at that time therefore bourgeois, family affected by the results of the ideology of the 1950s. Jana, a politically-conscious Young Pioneer on the threshold of puberty, accepts her teachers‘ opinions on socialist life uncritically (…) The teacher (Mirian Kalinková) plazs a major role in the story with her ideological guidance, even appearing several times among the audience members. Only when she gets on stage do we find that she has blocks tied to her legs as part of a solid statue pedestal.
Vladimír Predmerský, Konkrétne o divadle

Director Katarína Aulitisová uses puppet show approaches in creative work with objects. The annoying click-clack toy changes significance at a suitable moment to become part of the brother’s body, which the heroine kicks painfully. The teacher wears shoes that are at the same time the pedestal of a statue. However, there are less pleasant images. The hanging coats are a clear reference to the victims of political trials.
Ondrej Synak, Pravda

This adaptation of the book for the Bratislava Puppet Theatre was written and directed by Katarína Aulitisová with remarkable invention, moving playfulness and humour, but also with a feeling for the conveyance of an urgent testimony. All this happens without puppets, which an unwitting audience member might automatically expect from this type of theatre. Aulitisová bases the production on dynamic work with the actors, as well as on thoroughgoing work with props. It is worth mentioning the set, in which adult actors play children. To do this it is enough to bend forward, throw a coat over their back and put a beret on their shoulders.
Peter Scherhaufer, Týždeň

Katarína Aulitisová (1964) graduated from DAMU in Prague. She then worked for the DRAK theatre in Hradec Králové, as well as the Bratislava Puppet Theatre. In 1990 she founded the PIKI theatre with her life partner Ĺubomír Piktor, and they travelled all over the world with it. For a number of years Katarína Aulitisová worked with Slovak Television’s children’s broadcasting, and she also writes scripts, directs, teaches at the VŠMU in Bratislava and creates site-specific theatre projects.

Bratislava Puppet Theatre The Bratislava Puppet Theatre has a traditional repertoire of stories for children, complemented by experimental productions for young people and adults. This dramaturgical line has won the theatre considerable acclaim in the past two years, including the Hašterica award for a creative undertaking in the area of puppet theatre for the “inspirational” works On Hens’ Wings, Ravened and The King.


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