Stanko Majcen's drama oeuvre and its staging potential
A round table discussion about Stanko Majcen and his plays
In cooperation with the Maribor Library
Approximate time of discussion is 1 hour.
Guest speakers Andrej Brvar, Mateja Pezdirc Bartol, Krištof Jacek Kozak, Denis Poniž
Discussion moderator Melita Forstnerič Hajnšek
Why are not Majcen’s plays staged? Have they no potential for our time? (Meanwhile, the notion of "our time" has stretched for more than seven decades.) Which part of Stanko Majcen’s extensive drama opus is still relevant today? These are just some basic questions that will be addressed by theatre researchers and literary historians of the round table.
The status of Majcen’s plays is a perplexing and ultimately unfortunate chapter of Slovenian literary history, particularly theatre repertoire policy. The latter mostly ignores Majcen’s entire opus, (ideologically) rejects it and does not even attempt to consider it an essential segment of Slovenian religious literature that broke away from its prevalent and clichéd conservative styles. While Majcen’s literary opus was based on postulates of the 23rd International Eucharistic Congress in Vienna in 1912, which proclaimed that "God’s idea can be expressed in all, even the most modern styles", the most influential literary model prevalent in the Slovenian territory at that time was Maurice Maeterlinck’s static theatre. As Lado Kralj wrote in Majcnov zbornik (Obzorja, 1990), the majority of Majcen’s drama is conceived according to the following premises: the plays are essentially without conflict and action, they are meant more for reading than staging, and are – as is characteristic of this genre – rather short.For today’s reception, the segment of Stanko Majcen’s drama modelled after Ivan Cankar and Henrik Ibsen’s dramaturgical principles is probably more appropriate. All three Majcen’s dramas – Kasija, Prekop and Revolucija – reflect those principles are were published as a part of the Kondor collection (Mladinska knjiga, 1988) edited by Goran Schmidt.
Perhaps some of the decision-makers and theatre repertoire creators might be tempted by the author, who wrote in one of his letters to France Koblar from his internal exile after the war: "I work, I write alone, as you can probably imagine, and in a particular kind of misery. (Never a material one!) I don’t have an audience, I don’t have a reader, because I buried myself into so much solitude that nobody can follow me. Hence: There is no echo!" It is therefore high time for some echo, which the author undoubtedly deserves, if only for the "dignity of life and dignity of literature," as Alojz Rebula would say.