Anna Karenina

Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy


Directed by Roman Polák

This dramatisation of one of the most famous novels of world literature, ambitiously directed by Roman Polák, became the event of the season in Slovakia, gaining five nominations for Dosky Awards, and winning the award for best direction and costumes. The director places the characters of this great love story in a symbolic ice rink, where they raise their hats, fall down, get up again and take part in the dizzily fast movement in which their world turns. The expressive set design, dynamic spatial metamorphoses, elegant costumes and excellent performances by actors from the Slovak National Theatre make for an unusually impressive production.

Director: Roman Polák

Novel translated by: Naďa Szabová

Dramatisation: Roman Polák, Daniel Majling

Dramaturgy: Darina Abrahámová, Daniel Majling

Set: Jaroslav Valek

Costumes: Peter Čanecký

Music: Michal Novinski


Vronsky - Tomáš Maštalír

Anna - Zuzana Fialová j. h. (guest) / Slávka Halčáková j. h. (guest)

Levin - Milo Kráľ j. h. (guest)

Kitty - Táňa Pauhofová

Karenin - Martin Huba

Lydia - Ivanovna Soňa Valentová – Hasprová

Dolly - Gabriela Dzuríková

Stiva - Onrej Kovaľ

Princess - Zuzana Cigánová

Prince - Dušan Jamrich

Countess - Nordston Ivana Kuxová

Betsy - Henrieta Mičkovicová j. h. (guest)

Nikolai - Vladimír Obšil

Masha - Ingrid Timková

Yashvin - Alexander Bárta

Veselovsky - Ján Koleník, Juraj Ďuriš, posl. VŠMU

Agafia - Eva Krížiková

Kozyrev - Štefan Bučko

First performed on 13 June 2009

The performance lasts 4 hours 15 minutes with interval

Představení je součástí projektu "Budoucnost evropského činoherního divadla – tradice nebo experiment ve visegrádském prostoru".

This production is part of the project "The Future of European Drama Theatre – Tradition and Experiment in the Visegrad Area".

Anna Karenina – Tolstoy's famous novel deals with the force of a passion that is so great it is capable of bringing down the boundaries of social convention, but then suddenly wilts and the former passion becomes suffering. The dramatisation emphasises the central love story and the description of the fate of a family, complemented by a mosaic of traditional and less traditional marital relationships and affairs, which develop against the background of unusual social and political events. Questions of guilt, morality and sin are complemented by a desperate attempt at forgiveness and purification.

These stories of families, couples and meditations on faith in God are presented by the director in twenty-five scenes, which create a compact whole. Through them the characters and their relationships unwind and develop, without false notes or stylisation.

The audience perceives with fundamental clarity the surviving and fading love of Anna Karenina, played by Zuzana Fialová and Slávka Halčáková, and the internally-rich Karenin of Martin Huba, in whom the certainty of a relationship changes into doubt. There is a metaphorically-significant scene in which Lydia Ivanovna, played by Soňa Valentová, is washing Karenin's feet. She cleanses him of imaginary dirt, appropriating him for her goals. There is no faulting in Huba's subtle gestures, expressions, and uncertainty in the new situation.

Dagmar Podmaková, Pravda

Everything is black and white, except for the relationships. Peter Čanecký has created models devoid of colour before, so his excellent costumes may not come as a surprise, but they still astound. Jaroslav Valek has created, out of hanging panels, an efficient space where not even the intimate scenes are lost. Michal Novinski's sober music was also excellent. (...) Creating an average Karenina usually means destroying it. However, the SND's production aspires in many respects – in particular the acting – to exceptionality.

Zuzana Uličianská, SME

Roman Polák (born 1957) – Studied theatre direction at VŠMU in Bratislava under Miloš Pietor. After graduating in 1982 he worked in the drama section of the State Theatre in Košice, and in 1984 started to work with the DSNP (now the Slovak Chamber Theatre) in Martin. From 1988 to 1990 he was the company's artistic head. The most famous of his productions at Martin represented Slovak theatre at international theatre festivals abroad – Marivaux's The Dispute (1988, The Guardian Critics' Choice Award) and Brecht's Baal (1989). In the Astorka – Korzo '90 theatre, where he was a house director and artistic head, his productions included a dramatisation of Kafka's The Trial (1992), and in the L+S studio Cyrano de Bergerac (1993). In the 1990s he produced a Russian tetralogy in the Astorka: Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (1995), Ostrovsky's The Forest (1997, Dosky award for production and direction), Gorky's Philistines – Scenes from the House of Bessemenov (1998, Dosky award for production) and Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment dramatised by J. Novák – Axe Murder in St. Petersburg (1999). Some time later, he also produced an adaptation of Summer Folk – Play Gorky (2004). From 2006 until 2008 he was director of the drama section of the Slovak National Theatre. "Polák's productions combine an intellectual approach with a social view of man that leads more than once to the shocking revelation of the characters' dark and mysterious core." (Roman Císař) Now a freelancer, he is one of the most distinctive directors in Slovak theatre, his assured style brimming with feeling for the large canvas, the artistic aspect and work with actors. He is also forceful in his interpretations of texts.

SND Drama – In recent years, the drama section of the Slovak National Theatre has been open to guest productions by leading young Slovak directors (Gombár, Lančarič, Čičvák, Lavrík, Spišák). It also tries to discover new acting talent, focusing on contemporary world drama (Harrower, Schimmelpffenig, Glowacki, McDonagh, Crimp) and Slovak drama (Roman Olekšák, Viliam Klimáček, Maliti-Fraňová, Uličiansky). SND Drama's effort to be an open theatre in a European context has led to guest productions by leading foreign directors – Enikö Eszényi (Hungary), Patrice Kerbrat (France), J. A. Pitínský and Vladimír Morávek (Czech Republic). SND Drama puts on eight premieres a year in its historical and new buildings.