NUDE Theatre, Bratislava, SLOVAKIA
Collective of authors
Love You and Take Care
Directed by Malgot, Ondrušová, Štorcelová
Another instalment in NUDE Theatre’s programmatic exploration of female themes, this production portrays the pitfalls of motherhood otherwise only brought up in intimate conversations or on anonymous message boards – pain, baby blues, postpartum psychosis, or a lack of understanding from one’s partner. The four performers do not idealise maternity in their authentic stories but mouth powerful, candid testimonies about much that is inseparably bound up with motherhood. A spectatorial experience enhanced by the intimacy of the living space where it is staged, this piece is by no means only intended for women. In Nitra, the performance will take place in the Kollmann family’s functionalist villa.
This production was co-selected by the Spectator Programme Board of the Be SpectACTive! Project.
The name of NUDE theatre company can be read in several different ways. Nude in the sense of naked corresponds to the way in which the members of this (mostly female) artistic collective reveal themselves on stage – this does not involve physical nudity but rather an exposure of the intimate recesses of their being. Although they do not oppose interpretive theatre programatically, their work is akin to performance in that their presence on stage is authentic and based on personal experience. But NUDE is also an abbreviation for ‘Nezávislý útvar divadelnej energie’ (Slovak for ‘Independent Collective of Dramatic Energy’), which more than anything expresses their guiding temperament – director Veronika Malgot, actor Lýdia Ondrušová and visual artist Laura Štorcelová, who form the stable core of the company, as well as poet Mirka Ábelová and actor Lena Libjaková, are young, bold creators with a healthy dose of cheeky who unashamedly tackle themes usually considered private or too banal head on.
Love You and Take Care is another instalment in the company’s programmatic exploration of various aspects of the life of women. In the present case it is motherhood, a topic that mainly echoes in public discourse in attempts to legislate limitations on the rights of women freely to choose whether and when they are to become mothers. The four performers almost literally invite the audience into their home – the production is a site-specific piece made for the space of a real flat in Bratislava (at Divadelná Nitra, the four separate storylines will play out in the premises of the functionalist Vila K, called after the Kollmann family, who commissioned it from architect Oskar Singer in 1934). Each story broaches further aspects of the theme, although these are usually only brought up in private conversations or on anonymous message boards – infertility, unplanned parenthood, postpartum depression, or the life of a single mother. It is congenial that the performers do not idealise or romanticize motherhood, but instead through their own or indirect experience of an ordinary woman render honest confessions about all that pregnancy, labour, lying-in and raising children has in store. Each story is couched in a different type of artistic expression, and although the word takes centre stage in each, it is interesting to observe how diversely it is handled. What speaks to us more powerfully: simple reading, performance, musical-visual installation or ordinary speech rehearsed in verbatim?
Although it might be misleading to describe the productions of NUDE as feminist, the company is one of a few in Slovakia to pay systematic attention to the theme of women and female issues. In contrast, the spectatorial experience which the production offers is certainly not meant solely for the allegedly gentler sex – rather the opposite.
directed by and dramaturgy: Veronika Malgot, Lýdia Ondrušová
dramaturgical co-operation: Marek Godovič
concept, set and costume design: Laura Štorcelová
cast: Lenka Libjaková, Lýdia Ondrušová, Mirka Ábelová / Michaela Fech, Veronika Malgot / Libuša Bachratá, Gab
photo: Juraj Zmatek
video: Šima Mullerová
presentation at Divadelná Nitra supported by Slovak Arts Council, SPP Foundation, LITA – Society of Authors, The Creative Europe Programme of the European Union
Lýdia Ondrušová (1992)
graduated in puppet theatre from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. She used to create entertaining videos for the online portals fici.sk and vju.sk, where she also performed. She is a co-founder of Theatre NUDE. Her work focuses on documentary theatre and reflects on relationships, generational testimonies and the theme of women in contemporary society. Together with V. Malgot, she received the DOSKY Award 2015 in the category Discovery of the Year. She is author of the blog A predsa sa nevydala.
Veronika Malgot (1988)
graduated in directing and dramaturgy from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. She worked as a producer for Theatre elledanse and Studio 12. In her original work, she formally distances herself from traditional theatre and tends towards physical theatre, performance, and dance. She is author of the blog inhernature.
Laura Štorcelová (1988)
studied scenography at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. She is a co-founder Theatre NUDE. She works in set design, with overlaps mainly in photography. She has worked jointly with theatres in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Indonesia, and is a long-term collaborator of photographer Mária Švarbová.
“It is a sort of performance where you can take a chair and bring it along, or you can always stand or always sit on the floor, you can eat cookies and drink vodka from a cup (really), you can laugh and move, and even though you can do all of this, you will not banish the feeling it was not an easy performance. Nor the fact that motherhood is not easy. It isn’t, and this performance makes no secret of it.”
(Katarzyna Pilarska, Wasza Słowacja, 9 May 2019)