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InvisiblePoetic drama, length 60 min

Foto Matej Povše
In his auteurist show, Invisible, director Primož Ekart deals with the delicate moments taking place when human life is running out, which teem with intense memories and reckoning over oneself and the world. It is a story of a woman who is invisible, always somewhere on the edge of life sliding by. Her departure will not be noticed by anyone either.

The creative team of the poetic drama Invisible are interested in the intimate stories of human life, particularly departing and saying goodbye, which are usually accompanied by feelings of loneliness. The common thread of their creative work also comprises an awareness of man’s integration into social developments, i.e. into the world as it is right now. The fact is that the social circumstances we are currently facing are not sympathetic toward age and the elderly. One of the isms of which we are perhaps least aware, since we may have already internalised it, is ageism, discrimination against the elderly, which is revealed in multiple forms. One of the currently most acute forms is happening right now, when the elderly and helpless are treated by society as unnecessary, redundant people, who could potentially take up and jeopardise hospital capacities during the pandemic, preventing the treatment of younger people, those more useful to society and especially to capital.

Formally classified within the theatre of objects or intermedial performance practices, the performance is a personal, emotional imprint of an intimate event that occurs in (self-)isolation, etched against the backdrop of broader social developments.

The last rehearsal

These are odd times. We have come to something which is officially called the last rehearsal for staging. Once, in pre-pandemic times, it would have been called a premiere. Instead of being the last one, it would have been the first – a performance. The artists would have appeared before the spectators for the first time, we would have listened in intently on how our first audience was breathing, how it was reacting, how our story affected it, what kind of questions it was unfolding. The spectators would have felt our excitement, intensifying among all of us, enveloped in the dark of the Tunnel, the tension, the atmosphere, the anticipation and the redemption of a joint theatrical experience, the story of the Invisible. But as it is, it was just the last rehearsal.

            The premiere before an audience will take place when it takes place. No one knows when. We have produced our story to store, so we could tell it one day, later on. We have come to the end of the process, and we may tweak the performance a little in the meantime, improve certain segments, but we are where we are now. At the last rehearsal.

            We started our process with an idea and a desire to narrate something which has affected us deeply in the recent past. And which is still a pressing reality. People in care homes were dying, and they are still dying. Although the first wave of the pandemic was relatively mild, the number of COVID-related deaths among the elderly, particularly those in care homes, was disproportionately high. It turned out that they were dying also because it had been decided they would not be hospitalised if they had contracted COVID. Hospital beds were reserved for young, strong people, for those who can work, support and feed the system and its sacred markets. The elderly were redundant, a burden on society, the grey tsunami that can destroy the world, as described by the neoliberal doctrine.

            The elderly were dying in solitude, in isolation. There were no relatives by their beds, no children to hold their hand. They were passing on and nobody saw them. Our elderly became invisible, and that is what we want to talk about. About the faces that we do not see and the names that we do not know.

            And we wanted to talk about another kind of invisibility. The invisibility of the profession of a puppeteer. We were inspired by the story of a puppeteer, a long-time member of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre. He performed an enormous number of shows during his acting career but no one knew who he was, no one knew about him. High above from the bridge, he brought to life the most famous marionettes, voiced by other actors and actresses. He was mute and invisible.

            We thus narrate the story of Her, an elderly woman, a puppeteer. The story of Her passing, as quiet and invisible as was Her life.

 Primož Ekart

Co-produced with zavod Imaginarni.

Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana and Zavod Imaginarni
Author: Primož Ekart
Directed by: Primož Ekart
Set design: Meta Grgurevič
Costume design: Tina Kolenik
Cast: Maja Kunšič and Lovro Finžgar
Composer: Tine Grgurevič
Light design: Andrej Hajdinjak
Video: Domen Martinčič, Vid Hajnšek
Choreography: Rosana Hribar
Translation of a song: Tina Mahkota
Language consultant: Maja Cerar
Puppet Technology: Zoran Srdić, David Klemenčič
Stage manager and sound designer: Mitja Vasić
Producer: Alja Cerar Mihajlović