To me theatre is a place where society can reflect on itself in a way that is both playful and intentional. A place or form that can handle thought and emotion at the same time, maybe even as equals. A place that can potentially merge different artforms. As a playwright, I like to think that i am providing material for further working, at best, for a variety of different outcomes.
Miroslava Svolikova was born in 1986, studied Philosophy in Vienna and Paris, Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Scenic Writing at uniT Graz. Svolikova has had numerous exhibitions, is engaged in a music project and has been published in anthologies and literary magazines. In 2015 she won the Retzhof Drama Prize for die hockenden (the crouchers). In 2016 she was awarded Schauspielhaus Vienna‘s Hans Gratzer Scholarship for Diese Mauer fasst sich selbst zusammen und der Stern hat gesprochen, der Stern hat auch was gesagt (This wall is pulling itself together and the star has spoken, the star said something too). Both plays were invited to the Autorentheatertage Berlin in 2017. Svolikova has also been awarded the literar mechana Playwriting Award (2015), the Schiller Memorial Prize’s Young Writer’s Prize (2016), the Hermann Sudermann Prize (2017) and the Playwriting Scholarship of the Austrian Federal Chancellor’s Office (2017).
This wall is pulling itself together and the star has spoken, the star said something too
There once was Europe. A futuristic museum holds relics from a time when walls were important: contracts, chewed ballpoint pens for signing contracts or the “shy institution”. And the hologram is the “guide” in this museum which no one visits any more. But then three characters arrive who have won a competition and are determined to take over a job. What job? That is the question. And the museum has a cleaner who thinks she was born to be a theatre director. And she does indeed read out a wonderful poetry programme.
The hologram explains the past or what is in the museum to these characters with verve and under some time pressure – but one cannot simply help oneself to a piece of history. The star enters, a fallen star that had something to do with a so called “onion”. While he is cooking he thinks about society and stumbles across a piece of paper saying “You all have to stick together.” The wall also enters: this is an old story. What it hold together, who it has held back, who it has kept apart. And also the spit that speaks to the “future, past and coming generations”: “I am all the corpses people have climbed over. I am all the rest. I am the calloused hand that built everything, I am the bleeding womb that gave birth to everything, I am the beheaded calf and the trampled chicken, I am the murdered people, I am the life given away, the unbroken straw and last year’s parking ticket, I am always there. (…) I am the tar of history, I am you. I am many.”
In an age when the theatre urgently needs political comedies, Miroslava Svolikova has created an absurd store cupboard of history. An endgame in a time in between past, present and future, in which the here and now appears as a light in the distance. A farce filled with word games and powerful rhythms which is extremely funny. Of course it goes without saying that the hologram has a great deal of trouble telling these stories.
Performing rights: Suhrkamp Theaterverlag
World Premiere: January 2017, Schauspielhaus Wien, Director: Franz-Xaver Mayr
die hockenden (the crouchers)
They crouch in puddles, in mould, in a hollow, and it’s hard for them to get up out of it. They have always been there and still are. And it’s a good thing they are there: otherwise we wouldn’t know what was happening even if nothing is happening. There needs to be someone who tells us that. That’s what they do. Perhaps they stood on the ground once but now they have sunk into it and they can only stay close to the earth. And in pubs. There is still room for them there. Even if the pubs burn down now and again. That happens often. But never mind, the pubs are soon rebuilt and then they burn down again, year in, year out. Sometimes they stand and watch, sometimes they walk away. They’re familiar with it. No need to worry.
But there is someone who runs, who pisses on the pubs and then leaves. He’s special. He’s different. They’ve always known that. They put all their hopes in him. He is going to tell them what the future will bring. They sit down next to him when he rests his head on his arms. He’s going to tell them. But he doesn’t. He says nothing. He doesn’t want to speak. He drinks.
And someone has predicted this, that he will not be the saviour. An old-timer. Each step is a step too far in this place, he says. No one can go further. He can’t either. So he stood still, crouched down and now he has lain down. Stating where he has always been.
World Premiere April 2016, Burgtheater Wien
Director: Alia Luque
Performing rights: Suhrkamp Theaterverlag