We are the Landscape / The Story of People, a Dam, and Time

Petra Tejnorová, Marta Ljubková et al.

Petra Tejnorová

Marta Ljubková

Jan Čtvrtník

Antonín Šilar

Erik Bartoš


Petra Maceridu

Mária Knoppová, Jana Pilzová, Richard Sanitra, Juraj Smutný

The creative team thanks for the consent to use the footage from Robert Kirchhoff’s documentary film On the Water (2001).

17 March 2023

WE ARE THE LANDSCAPE. THE STORY OF PEOPLE, A DAM, AND TIME Landscape is a witness to times past. Think of it as a diary – we cannot rewind the clock, yet it keeps a record of our every act and every event that had occurred on the Earth long before humans appeared on it. Is it possible to represent landscape in theatre? We are interested in the volcanic origins of the Zvolen region, the period of tectonic shifts that shaped the world as we know it. We want to learn about the effects of peoples’ intrusion into the landscape – their attempts to control and tame it. All these elements are present in the history of Slatinka: the eponymous dam, village and river. Slatinka reflects the environmental and especially the socio-political issues caused by the current way of life. The drama describes the more than seventy years of searching, finding and losing, and narrates the story of civic responsibility, the fates of individual people, the river and the adjacent valley. The documentary production is based on scientific and historical sources, recorded discussions, memories of the actors and those who witnessed the events, and presents to the audience a stage essay about the landscape where each of us plays a part...

We Are the Landscape is a theatrical reconstruction of the events that have shaped the landscape, whether the obvious human activities or the less apparent geological and biological processes. (...) Actresses and actors act out passages from a meeting with the representatives of investors, the government, activists and citizens of the village. The meeting took place sometime in the 1990s and accurately describes the whole problem. Jana Pilzová, Mária Knoppová, Richard Sanitra and Juraj Smutný stand as voices of the parties involved. From the audience speak desperate villagers, who want to leave for replacement housing (Pilzová), and members of the resisting environmentalists (Knoppová); on the stage talk the officials – a calm lawyer (Smutný) and the ridiculous mayor of Slatinka (Sanitra). The dialogues are explosive, the actors civil, here and there coming up with a gag or a piece of grotesque.

– MILO JURÁNI, mloki.sk

The creative team found the perfect material in the minutes of a meeting that lasted for several hours, sometimes escalating to heated arguments mixed with personal invectives. Environmentalist Martina Paulíková provided the minutes for the rehearsals; she was directly involved in the whole case as an activist and appears in the production via an audio recording. (...) Theatre thus becomes a public space or platform, where we get an almost archaeological insight into the petty intransigence, purchase contracts or nationalisation. We in the audience can pretend that this issue does not concern us, that the production focuses on a specific problem of one community among the thousands of Slovak villages. Subconsciously, however, we feel that the authors are hinting at broader issues. The way in which problems are discussed in public, the abuse of public interest and the arbitrary pushing for one’s own projects regardless of the damage they cause to nature and people, have all become commonplace in Slovakia. This is certainly not unique to environmental issues: the same issues are present in parliamentary discussions on culture and culture wars, corruption, local council deliberations on renaming a street or erecting a monument, or even petty disputes between neighbours or exchanges of opinions on anything and everything. A harsh lesson to learn about Slovaks.

– MAREK GODOVIČ, Dotyky a spojenia festival bulletin

PETRA TEJNOROVÁ (1984) She has already created several successful productions as a DAMU student. In 2008, she was nominated for the Alfréd Radok Foundation Award in the Rising Talent category. She creates original theatre projects and also collaborates with other theatres as a guest director. She concentrates on documentary, physical and auteur-style theatre, as well as theatrical probes into various social groups and classes. In her projects INNOCENCE and NICK, she explored the genre of live cinema. She directed guest productions at the Dejvice Theatre (Bluebeard/draebeulB), HaDivadlo (A Midsummer Night’s Dream Stroke Out), the NT New Stage (Edge, TimINg, Speech to the Nation), Ponec Theatre (What is the Weight of Your Desire?), Archa Theatre (Lifeshow), Minor Theatre, Alfa Theatre, etc. She collaborated with the alternative theatre scenes Alfred ve dvoře, Studio Alta, Roxy/NoD. Her original productions received various awards both in the Czech Republic and abroad. Her international projects were presented at several prestigious international festivals (Zdarzenia – Tczew, Stockholm Fringe Festival, APAP New York, Fira Tárrega Spain). She also teaches at the DAMU Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre.

JOZEF GREGOR TAJOVSKÝ THEATRE The theatre was established in 1949 and has premiered over 450 productions so far. Founded as Central Slovak Theatre, it was renamed five years later after the renowned playwright from nearby Tajov. The theatre building underwent substantial refurbishment in 1994. The main theatre hall can accommodate 330 visitors. Since 1974, Jozef Gregor Tajovský Theatre has organised the international summer theatre festival Zámocké hry zvolenské, which is the largest and oldest open-air event of this type in Slovakia.