Migrants’ Rhapsody was a collection of scenes depicting the lives of Slovak migrants in London. It has been inspired by real stories and facts from interviews and questionnaires. The authenticity was assured by the actors and creators themselves - all of them Slovak migrants. The story followed a fictional journey of various types of migrants, from their arrival in London all the way to the moment of making a decision whether to stay permanently in a country of temporary residence. The play captured the situations and moods of every migrant with humour and ease, the situations that every migrant has to go through - the great expectations, excitement for the new opportunities, first earnings, as well as a disappointment from the low-skill job, relationships and the culture shock, all the way to the discovery of a new, stronger identity and the true calling of an individual in a global society.
The play offered a general reflection on the contemporary phenomenon of economic migration and it was dedicated mainly to the fellow Slovak and Czech migrants. It hoped to spread the feeling of fellowship and hope. In a greater sense, and presented in English language, it spoke to all migrants arriving in Great Britain / West Europe. It asked the question of the cultural, moral and national predestination of the European citizen and touched the issue of a young person searching for a home in the world of adults.
Formally, the play was commonly devised piece of theatre, alternating between drama, narrations, poems and physical theatre scenes featuring original songs. The creation of the play lasted an approximately year and a half, appearing first time on the stage in May and June 2015, consisting of three showings in Slovak and one in the English language. Based on the feedback the play was improved, enriching the formal side as well until its final version was established in April 2016. Part of the process of collaborative work was determining and removing the ideas that did not match the main subject, despite having great potential, more detailed study of the key scenes as well as a change in cast and crew.
Apart from original music, parts of songs Všetko má svoj čas by Miriam Kaiser, I believe I can fly by R. Kelly and a segment of an East Slovakian folk tune Musí vám mamičko were heard in the play.
The final script was established and polished by the director. The Wedding speech was translated into English by Marián Florovič.
The common, spontaneous idea of costumes design was encouraged and approved by the designer Martina Šošková.
Simona Vrabcová Jakub Repiský Natália Herzogová Marek Chomist Jana Balážiová Róbert Sušienka
The memorable poster capturing the date of the premiére at the Venue 229 in London. The first night of the completed production was sold out for the pleasant surprise of all. The promoter Štefan Krasňanský a.k.a Pishter trusted the unknown theatre group and it was a good bet. The heart in the plastic bag refers to the metaphorical scene in which a departing migrant tries to transfer abroad his whole heart in the suitcase. See the full text on the right. Photography was made by our media assistant Monika Zimovčáková.
The heart in the suitcase - Srdce v kufri
(excerpt from the play EN/SK )
Janka: Excuse me ... - Prepáčte...
Natália: Is this your luggage? Can you open it, please? Have you got any liquids, sprays or creams inside?
- To je váš kufor? Prosím vás, otvorte mi ho. Máte tam nejaké tekutiny, aerosoly?
Janka: No, I don’t. I don’t understand ...
- Nie, nemám. Nechápem...
Natália: There must be something, don’t touch the suitcase, please! (She searches the suitcase.) Ah, there we are! Of course! Gelatinous substance!
- Musí tam byť niečo. Nedotýkajte sa kufra, prosím! Á, tuto to máme. Rôsolovitá hmota!
Janka: It’s jam from my grandma.
- To je nátierka od babičky.
Natália: I am sorry, but we have to throw it away. Stand back, please. (Skúma ďalej.) Oh and what´s this?
- Ľutujem, musíme ju vyhodiť. Odstúpte si, prosím. Á, a toto je čo?
Janka: That’s... my heart..
- To je... moje srdce.
Natália: I’m sorry, you can’t take your heart with you. It contains liquid and exceeds 100 ml.
- Ľutujem, nemôžete ho zobrať zo sebou. Obsah srdca je tekutý a presahuje objem 100 ml.
Janka: But I must take my heart with me!
- Ale ja potrebujem zobraťso sebou svoje srdce!
Natália: I am very sorry. It’s Rules & Regulations. Contents must fit inside the plastic bag so it can be sealed.
- Ľutujem, predpisy dovoľujú zobrať len to, čo sa zmestí do vrecúška tak, že vrecúško bude uzatvárateľné.
Janka: Please, is there anything that can be done? - --
- Prosím vás, nedalo by sa to nejako vybaviť?
Natália: The only option is to cut the heart half and take what fits inside the plastic bag. You’ve got to hurry though or you will miss the flight!
- Jediné, čo prichádza do úvahy, je srdce roztrhnúť a zobrať aspoň to, čo sa zmestí do vrecúška. Ale rýchlo, lebo vám odletí lietadlo.
Janka: Thank you. (She is tearing the heart with effort.) I can´t...
- Ďakujem. (Snaží sa srdce roztrhnúť.) Nemôžem...
Natália: Rob, can you help the lady please?
- Pán kolega, prosím, pomôžte slečne...
Robo: (He swiftly rips the heart apart.)
(Svižne roztrhne srdce na dve časti.)
Janka: Can I give the other half to my mum, please? She is waiting over there. (She points at her mum.) -
Prosím vás, mohla by som tú druhú polovicu zaniesť mojej mame? Čaká tam.
Natália: I am sorry, you can’t return that way. - --
- Ľutujem, tým smerom sa nemôžete vrátiť.
Janka: Will you do me a favour? Could you take it and give to her? I’ll pay. For goodness’ sake. I’m begging you! It’s very important for me…
- Môžem vás poprosiť o láskavosť, boli by ste taká milá a zaniesli jej ho? Veľmi pekne vás prosím, je to pre mňa životne dôležité...
Natália: Give it to me... I’ll do that for you this time but don’t expect anyone to do you favour next time! Which one is your mother?
- Dajte to sem, teda, ale toto je výnimočná pomoc, nabudúce nečakate, že vám niekto pomôže. Ktorá je vaša matka?
Janka: The lady over there with the coffee ...
- Tamtá pani s kávičkou...
ACADEMY FOR WOMEN
Joe and Lisa found a legal charitable Academy for Women to shelter young street prostitutes and strippers in Elko County, State Nevada. The Academy is the first place in the world where women access both, sex work and studies. What results can this peculiar programme produce? We also ask whether is possible to stop negative consequences of prostitution by a better education of young prostitutes or not. See for yourself.
Prostitutes can be both hated and praised, ignored, or simply tolerated. We invite our audiences to take a turn in the street of shame and to look straight in glass windows, reaching behind smiles, sexy underwear, and the naked skin of sex workers. We dare the audiences to remove the layer of judgements and myths, by listening to prostitutes’ innermost experience.
Written and directed by Juliana Sersenová
Composed by Katarína Sliacka
Designed by Sára Šišková
Choreography by Jana Klimová
Poster by @francekarts
Academy for Women premiered on 9th of April 2017 in Ravensfield Theatre at the Middlesex University London. Since then theatre company performed seven times in London and abroad. STL made its debut at Camden People's Theatre in London by performing two shows in May 2017. The continental tour started at the festival in Presov (Slovakia) and continued in June by visiting Brussels (Belgium) and Prague (Czech Republic). Next set of performances was delivered in four Slovak cities in September 2017. The crew reunited after the summer, taking on two new actors. The intense ten-day rehearsing period upgraded the show to a new level. The play reached various Slovak audiences with a success, Remarkably, secondary school students proved to be attentive and most thankful watchers.
‘I too would have given you the same answers if you asked me back then I was a prostitute.
I would have told you, “Yes, I do this voluntarily.” I would have been incapable of telling you otherwise.
I had resigned myself to my fate. And furthermore, I would have never been able to say to the man
that each of his acts was, in fact, a rape.’
(Raymond, J.: Not a Choice, Not a Job)