Ivan Martinka 
Ignis Fatuus

Wed / 28 / 9 / 22
20.30 – 21.30 hrs.
The Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra
> Studio

no intermission

language Slovak with English surtitles

Odivo and Ivan Martinka, SLOVAKIA

Ignis Fatuus

directed by: Mária Danadová, Monika Kováčová, Ivan Martinka  

The character of Svetlonos (Ignis Fatuus) comes to life as a combination of a live actor and a puppet in a fairy-tale imagery and a technologically brilliant performance.

Since 2014, the independent stage group Odivo has been making original works. They combine a sophisticated visual element and work with puppets, movement theatre, live music, and performance. The character of Svetlonos (Ignis Fatuus) comes to life as a combination of a live actor and a puppet in a fairy-tale imagery and a technologically brilliant performance. The authors build the opposites: light and dark, fear and courage. They ask: “Where does light end and darkness begin? Where does fear end and fascination begin?” They answer that, of course: “Where there is shadow, there must also be light.” Fear, concern and anxiety are strong themes when we talk about childhood and a child. While in childhood they are associated with fantasies roused by darkness, in adulthood they often do not end: we look for light in the darkness of uncertainty, and concerns about the future. The production is an example of the work of Mária Danadová, the curator Slovak works within the main programme at the 2022 Festival edition.

directed by: Mária Danadová, Monika Kováčová, Ivan Martinka
libretto, puppets and set design: Ivan Martinka
visual cooperation: Ivana Macková
music: Mariana Bódyová, Lukáš Kubičina
lights design: Milan Slama
production: Monika Kováčová
cast: Mária Danadová, Ivan Martinka, Mariana Bódyová a Lukáš Kubičina
project co-operation: Andrej Novák, Ondrej Uhrin, Miroslav Petrík, Peter Rehák, Marek Motloch, Ľuboš Horňák, Peter Paulus, Katarína Caková, Viktória Jehlárová

Lithuanian folk song Both of us will go together (Aisva mudu abudu) and aria Speranza from L’Orfeo by C. Monteverdi are used in the performance.

presentation at Divadelná Nitra supported by the Slovak Arts Council, The Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, the Nitra Self-Governing Region, The City of Nitra, SPP Foundation, LITA — authors’ society

This production was co-selected by the Audience Programme Board of the BeSpectACTive! Project.


Mária Danadová (1984) is a puppeteer, performer and stage director. She studied puppetry at The Academies of Performing Arts in Bratislava and Prague. She collaborates with a number of theatres and independent groups, such as Pôtoň Theatre (American Emperor, Miracles), Honey and Dust (Beauty and Loathing/ Krása a hnus, Dark Night +/– Pictures for Doe / Temná noc +/– Obrazy pre srnky), Bratislava Puppet Theatre (Mowgli/ Mauglí, Invisible/ Neviditeľní). As a lecturer, she leads workshops From corporeality to material and back, where she explores the subject-object relationship and the development of creativity and creative thinking through work with an object. Since 2011, she has been working as an editor and director of literary and drama works at the Radio and Television Slovakia. Together with Monika Kováčová, she artistically leads and shapes the independent theatre group Odivo, that makes innovative author and puppet projects for all ages. It has won awards at festivals in Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Monika Kováčová (1988) is a stage director, dramaturge and theatre manager. She studied stage directing at The Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica and directing alternative and puppet theatre at The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. As the first Slovak stage director, she created shows for babies and toddlers. She was a dramaturge at the Puppet Theatre at the Crossroads in Banská Bystrica, at the production company Mana, p. r. o., and collaborated with the Studio Dance, Studio Damúza and Bratislava Puppet Theatre. She is a dramaturge at the centre of independent culture Záhrada in Banská Bystrica. As stage director, she collaborates with the Municipal Theatre – Theatre from the Passage that creatively works with people with mental disadvantages. Together with Mária Danadová, she artistically leads and shapes the independent theatre group Odivo.

Ivan Martinka (1972) is an independent artist. He graduated in puppetry at The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. With his solo project Shalom aleichem – peace with you (Šalom alejchem – mier s vami 2000), he broke the barrier between the puppet theatre and adult audience in Slovakia. He performed at the Bratislava Puppet Theatre, The Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra, the Slovak National Theatre, the Ticho a spol. Theatre, and the New Theatre in Nitra. In the recent decade, he moved away from performing in brick theatres or on television to focus on original work in independent theatre. Since 2005, he has collaborated with Andrej Kalinka. In 2013 they founded (with J. Poliak and M. Mikuláš) the group Honey and Dust / Med a prach, the manifesto of which became the award-winning production Home Eros Faith (Domov Eros Viera, 2014). In his author’s projects, Ivan Martinka turns to the classic figurative puppet, which he endeavours to redefine for the contemporary era.

There are few counter-poles in human history that represent such a universally understood sign as light and darkness. The theme stretches across cultures, historical periods and geographical space. The relationship between them creates the key aspect of practically all religious and philosophical concepts. The paradox in that darkness does not exist as a separate entity and is merely the absence of light, further increases the appeal of the theme.

This deserves a mention in the introduction, as the annotation to the production of Ignis fatuus is not a text that would, even if gently, guide the viewer through the basic outlines of the piece prior to the performance. (…) That is no criticism. It is rather that the performance of the theatre group Odivo is the type of work of art that initially forces the viewer to search for an interpretive key to the content and, in part, also to the form. The wide space for interpretation of individual signs and themes is indeed an advantage. One can read the stage shape through a lens based on Slavic mythology. That understands the Lightbringer as an entity that tempts people to stray from their path, causing them to become stuck in the swamps, either literally or metaphorically.

You can, however, also work with a more general interpretation not anchored in mythology. To see in it the story of a person born with a certain elan vital. That is indeed that the society gradually represses in an individual, raising an originally spontaneous child enchanted by life into a standardised individual beaten by the stereotype of everyday life and bound by conventions, even beaten by his own demons.

Miroslav Zwiefelhofer: Archetypal Clash of Light and Darkness [Archetypálny stret svetla a tmy]. In Monitoring divadiel na Slovensku [online]. 23. 9. 2020. Available at: https://monitoringdivadiel.sk/archetypalny-stret-svetla-a-tmy/