The Baptism at the Savica 7+

Based on the poem by France Prešeren

How do the last soldiers of a nation spend their final night? How do they face almost certain death? How is the old Slovenedom disappearing? How do you transform a pagan/primal nation into a Christian/civilized one? How do love and death confront each other?

Prešeren's poem is a score of time that stopped in single moment. The battle is the breaking point. Like fragmented emotions in the calm endlessness of anticipation it happens in an instant – rash, fast and violent. Dreams turn into dust.

The last love encounter of Črtomir as an earthly being from the past and Bogomila, the personified light, is the swan song of paganism. The word becomes a prison, which forces the unchangeable written fate of separation. Beauty can also be found in resignation.

From Poetry in Vision, a review by Barbara Volčjak, Večer, 25th October 2010:
"/.../The underlying significance of the Baptism in this performance is enriched in many ways, as enabled and allowed by the medium of puppetry. The text (although not rendered in full, since only the essential lines were picked) is equally complemented by the visual appearance and the music, while all three elements rest steadily upon the acting and puppet animation, both of which regularly intertwine. Much like a synaesthesia of aesthetic sensations, the performance is a walk through theatre theory, as it sports both (white) protagonists and the (gray) choir which presents and comments the plot, while the movement of live actors and hand puppets is supplemented by shadow theatre and by the animation of stage props. Thus it is enough to just watch, to surrender to the visuals without rummaging through layers of meaning, of theory, of interpretative possibilities. And to surrender to the magic which resurrects a dead object so vividly it could seemingly speak up any moment now. This production raises the bar for such performances, not just in Slovenia but quite probably also abroad./.../".

From An Exalted Stage Mysterium, a puppetry performance review by Peter Rak, Delo, 21st October 2010:
"/.../This is undoubtedly a charming overture to a new chapter of puppetry in Maribor which showcases the immense strength of its ensemble of actors along with an impressing directorial concept and the exceptional possibilities offered by the Puppet Theatre's new Big Hall in the Minorite premises. The actors have no doubt already been more than up to the task, but the new ambience proves that they are capable of producing performances on a whole new level.
This is definitely a reason to encourage those audiences who have so far been convinced that puppet performances are either meant for someone else or who have given up on this genre due to the unbearable conditions in the previously used miniature hall at the library./.../"



The Baptism at the Savica <em>Photo: Boštjan Lah</em>
The Baptism at the Savica <em>Photo: Boštjan Lah</em>
The Baptism at the Savica <em>Photo: Boštjan Lah</em>
The Baptism at the Savica <em>Photo: Boštjan Lah</em>
The Baptism at the Savica <em>Photo: Boštjan Lah</em>
The Baptism at the Savica <em>Photo: Boštjan Lah</em>

Crew and cast

Directress Andreja Kovač

Visual designers Andreja Kovač, Aleksander Andželović, Vasilija Fišer and Darka Erdelji

Performers Maksimiljan Dajčman, Davorin Kramberger, Metka Jurc, Danilo Trstenjak, Barbara Jamšek (guest appearance), Maruša Majer (guest appearance) and Vito Weis (guest appearance)

Speech advisor Metka Damjan

Author of the selection of music Andreja Kovač

Puppet makers Aleksander Andželović, Mateja Arhar and Darka Erdelji

Set and props makers Mateja Arhar, Darka Erdelji, Enver Ibrahimagić, Zoran Kramar, Svetlana Maloić and Neva Vrba

Costume manufacturer Maja Švagelj

Lighting technician Miljenko Knezoci

Sound technician  Zoran Petrovič

Stage technician Enver Ibrahimagić

Premiere — 20. October 2010