Seven Questions About HappinessA theatre journey following the motifs of Maurice Maeterlinck’s Blue Bird, length 420 min

Seven Questions About Happiness, photo Jaka Varmuž
Seven Questions About Happiness doesn’t ask questions, nor does it provide answers. Instead, the performance takes us on a fantasy journey through seven theatre lands where we can pose questions to ourselves and, if we wish, answer them as well.

The creative process for the performance drew from Maeterlinck’s Blue Bird—a story of the archetypal journey of seeking happiness. After the première at the Moscow Art Theatre under direction of Konstantin Sergejevič Stanislavski (1908) and on Broadway (1910), the story saw a number of interpretations, radio and film adaptations, and a TV serial adaptation.The great success of the performance fostered Maurice Maeterlinck to write a children’s novel The Blue Bird for Children together with Georgette Leblanc. At the Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana (Ljubljana Puppet Theatre), the Blue Bird performance (1964) directed by Jože Pengov, was considered one of the pinnacles of the then marionette theatre. The painter France Mihelič created the artistic design of the performance, and the composer Uroš Krek wrote the music.

The creators of the performance Seven Questions About Happiness use the story describing the search for the blue bird to write their own story about family, memory, dreams, death, joy, love, future, repute, and sense.

Seven Questions About Happiness is a performance about theatre spaces. This time (again), the director and the set designer Branko Hojnik, who have worked together before in Russia and in Norway, paid particular attention to spaces as places of imagination.

Seven Questions About Happiness is a long theatre journey, a performance about a performance, a story about a story, and in some way a sequel to the creative process that started with the performance no title yet (Mladinsko Theatre, 2018). In fact, in recent years, Janežič has staged a number of unusually long performances in various countries, which aim to deconstruct theatre, highlight its miraculous nature, and put forward the community, which is part of the event.

Given the obsession with happiness typical of this day and age, it is not needless to say that the two children in the story never catch the blue bird that can survive daylight. This doesn’t mean, however, that the two children don’t see and experience a great deal (may we say all of life?) and that they remain unaffected by all the things that they encounter on their path. On this journey, their view of the world, in which they return after their dreamlike life, changes. In other words: this doesn’t mean that they failed to find happiness. But we should not forget that they haven’t set out on the journey to find the blue bird for their own reasons.

Tomi Janežič, stage director and pedagogue, who also works as a psychodrama therapist, is employed as a full professor at the AGRFT (Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television). According to international critics, he is one of the most interesting European theatre directors of his generation. He is also internationally recognised as an expert in creative acting techniques. He has received more than thirty international awards and recognitions.

Premiere: January 10th, 2020, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre
Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana and Slovensko mladinsko gledališče
Direction and Dramaturgy: Tomi Janežič
Set and Puppets Design: Branko Hojnik
Costumography: Marina Sremac
Cast: Lovro Finžgar, Tomi Janežič a. g., Nataša Keser a. g., Sonja Kononenko, Boris Kos, Maja Kunšič, Jure Lajovic, Iztok Lužar, Gašper Malnar, Anja Novak, Matej Recer, Nina Skrbinšek, Daniel Day Škufca a. g., Matija Vastl, Stane Tomazin
Text: ustvarjalci predstave
Direction and Dramaturgy Assistants: Tjaša Črnigoj, Mirjana Medojević, Daniel Day Škufca
Set Design Assistants: Nina Rojc, Aleksander Vujović, Liza Privšek
Music selection: by Creators
Language consultant: Mateja Dermelj
Translation and subtitling: Benjamin Zajc
Lighting Design: Tomi Janežič, Branko Hojnik, Maša Avsec
Sound and Multimedia: Tomi Janežič, Luka Bernetič, Izidor Kozelj, Aleš Erjavec
Mask Designers: Marina Sremac, Nina Jordanovski
Stage Manager: Mitja Vasič
Producer: Alja Cerar Mihajlović
Lights: Maša Avsec, Srečo Brezovar, Gregor Kuhar, Niko Štabuc, Danilo Korelec
Lights Coordination: Niko Štabuc, Danilo Korelec
Set Technicians: Darko Nedeljkovič, Alojz Milošič, Iztok Vrhovnik, Luka Moškrič, Slobodan Ilić, Jure Popovič, Sašo Kitić, Stanko Božanić, Klemen Sašek, Uroš Istenič
Props: Sašo Kitić
Warderobe and Mask: Daša Jordanovski, Nina Jordanovski
Set, puppets, props and costumes production: Zoran Srdić, Iztok Bobić, Polona Černe, Zala Kalan, Sandra Birjukov, Marjetka Valjavec, David Klemenčič, Milenko Pavlović, Uroš Mehle s. p., Mateja Šušteršič, Aleksandra Kovačević, Snežana Janjić Horvat, Danica Ćeran, Vesna Sačić, Branko Hojnik, Liza Privšek, Zlatko Djogi, Anja Borsan, Jan Raman