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THE KINDLY ONES (Jonathan Littell, Daniel Majling)

Michal Vajdička

Direction: Michal Vajdička
Translation: Michala Marková
Dramatisation and dramaturgy: Daniel Majling
Set: Pavol Andraško
Costumes: Katarína Hollá
Music: Marián Čekovský
Maximilián Aue: Ľuboš Kostelný
Thomas Hauser: Alexander Bárta
Üxküll: Marián Geišberg
Investigator: Milan Ondrík
Official: Richard Stanke
Commander: Jozef Vajda
Partenau: Martin Nahálka j. h. / guest
Helena: Táňa Pauhofová
Mother: Emília Vášáryová
Waitresses: Monika Horváthová, VŠMU student, Monika Potokárová, VŠMU student
Waiter: Tomáš Stopa, VŠMU student
Chorus: Barbora Palčíková, VŠMU student, Martin Varínsky j. h. / guest
Pianists Aleš Junek j. h. / guest, Tobias Lacho j. h. / guest, Ryan Bradshaw j. h. / guest

Premiere April 2nd, 2014 in the Studio SND

The production features expressions and scenes that make it unsuitable for those under 18

The Kindly Ones (Les Bienveillantes) – The novel of the same name, published in 2006, became a bestseller, winning prestigious awards. It was described as a book that you read with pauses to throw up. The narrator, a convinced Nazi and SS officer, Maximilien Aue, is the son
of a German father and a French mother. He takes us through several sites of the Second World War, to the front, to the occupied territories and the hinterland. The text is conceived as Aue’s fictional memoirs, written down long after the war. However, the hero does not want to
apologise or to reflect on what happened, only to describe war horror after war horror. It is the story of a “respectable” person who became a murderer – Aue does not defend himself, but tries to explain in his own way how and why he became involved in the monstrous machinery of death. The production won a Dosky 2014 award for the best production of the season, the best direction and the best male actor (Ľuboš Kostelný).

“ Director Michal Vajdička has returned to the National with a well-known team showing no signs of tiredness from their many years of working together. Pavol Andraško has designed a set of perfectly-functioning folding and moving segments, while the direction also makes sensitive use of lighting. Each note of Marián Čekovský’s music sounds a sense of urgency, but without any sort of kitsch emotional pressure. Katarína Hollá’s costumes also fit well into the overall concept. Daniel Majling is the author of numerous dramatisations of literary works, but this time his text does not suffer at all from being over-literary. Indeed, the dialogues are almost film-like in
their naturalness.
—Zuzana Uličianska, sme.sk

“ The production is first and foremost a theatrical concert, in which the creators and actors take up a decisive attitude towards the subject while it is still being created. With their thoroughly professional approach they create a warning. Not just in the way in that the author of the original has helped the cathartic denouement: the figures gradually – as punishment for their actions – go mad. It is also in the crime that is fully-formed in terms of acting, calmly pointed to and thoroughly revealed. Jonathan Littell may have written a fictitious memoir about a German intellectual, but the picture of our behaviour during war that with its help they have managed to create at the SND is not only dark but alarming. For it says that – if we do not have hearts,
but only minds – the only thing that can comfort us is the fact that the story on which the play is based is fictitious.
—Dagmar Inštitorisová, kultura.pravda.sk

“ The top-quality acting and the suitably guiding directorial hand have created a production in which the catharsis is ancient in its dimensions. The picture of a historic bloodbath changes into a
polemic on good and bad in people. There is musical attractiveness in both atmosphere and feeling. Compelling stage pictures, the internal complexities of the characters, the moral maze – all this awaits the perceptive audience member. The resulting stage form is civil in its overall colouring. Reality and dream, strictness of facts and austerity of comment, poetry in combination with monstrosity in human decisions, acts, behaviour… The plot turns and the absence of a clear moral message. Crimes and punishments through the lense of the unusually complex story of an intellectual. The story of an ordinary person who finds himself caught up in the whirlwind of the period? Or a precise record of a sexually-deviant and morally aberrant person who acts “only” with knowledge of historical unavoidability? Or a suggestive picture of historical events? In any case these are questions that contemporary theatre has the right, indeed the duty, to ask.
—Svetozár Sprušanský, nitrafest.sk

Michal Vajdička (1976) – Graduate of theatre direction at VŠMU in Bratislava under Peter Mikulík. He graduated with a production of Martin McDonagh’s play The Lonesome West, which won awardsat student festivals in Brno and Bratislava. He has worked in lighting design, and as a director has worked in a number of Slovak theatres (Košice, Zvolen, Martin, Nitra, Prešov, the Bratislava City Theatre, the Slovak National Theatre, Aréna Bratislava…) and is now the artistic head of the Dejvické divadlo. He is interested in plays of Irish provenance – his production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh won three nominations for a Dosky award in 2005 and the Literary Fund award (for direction, best female and best male performance). Portia Coughlan at Nitra (2006) won two Dosky awards, the audience prize at the New Drama festival and the Literary Fund award for direction. In Nitra he also directed an adaptation of Božena Slančíková-Timrava’s novel Everything for the Nation (2008), which was shown at the Theatre festival in Pilsen, and for which he once again won the Literary Fund award and three Dosky nominations. In the State Theatre in Košice he directed Euripides’ Medeia, and in Nitra Dead Souls. Both productions were again nominated in the Dosky awards and received a Dosky award for music (Marián Čekovský). In the Slovak National Theatre he directed McDonagh’s play The Pillowman, a dramatisation of Slančíková – Timrava’s short stories, The Ball, a grotesque view of
Slovakia entitled Holey Pit at the Divadlo Astorka Korzo’90, Henry IV at the Divadlo na Vinohradech, and at the Dejvické divadlo A Blockage in the System and The Seagull. Michal Vajdička puts emphasis on working with the actors, psychological verisimilitude and modern theatrical speech.

Slovak National Theatre, drama section – Like all large theatres with a long tradition, the Slovak National Theatre’s drama section is finding its way to a balanced repertoire. In addition to
classic texts that enjoy audience interest, it also shows contemporary dramas that are less attractive to audiences, but are essential to the development of theatre. The progressive tendency is supported by young guest directors (Michal Vajdička, Martin Čičvák, Marián Amsler,
Valeria Schulczová etc.), and the whole company is headed by the director Roman Polák. It has four theatres – the historical building, the Drama Hall, the Studio and the Blue Salon, the newest stage, designed for intimate projects.


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