Monument G2: Janez Janša in Dušan Jovanović
Production: Maska Ljubljana in MGL
"I approached Štih’s Monument very seriously, but I had great issues with its traditional structure and its commitment. /.../ I wanted the things contained in the text to come out physically and not verbally. /.../ Out of the seventy pages of text, nine sentences remained, one poem and some shouts. Through the dialectics of twelve poses, Avbelj enacted the whole content of Štih’s piece."
(Dušan Jovanović, source: Tomaž Toporišič: Between Seduction and Suspicion, Maska, 2004)
Monument G is one of the cult performances of Slovenian neo-avantgarde theatre. Based on a play by Bojan Štih, it was directed by Dušan Jovanović and represents a break in the understanding of theatre language. Veno Taufer, poet and theatre critic, characterised the performance as “an experience of total theatre”. In it, the “rhythmical sound layer blends with the expressiveness of movement, the actress’s voice and gutturally articulated sound. For the first time in Slovenian theatre, a performance was staged that in a radical way negated the text as literature and again created it as theatre,“ he wrote in a review, adding that “the acting author of the director’s theatre vision was Jožica Avbelj”. In the explanation of the Borštnik Ring Award conferred upon Jožica Avbelj in 2001, the expert jury wrote: “The director’s creation of total theatre was based on releasing the actor’s entire expressive potential. It gave Slovenian theatre an actress who spoke out with her body, with a rhythmic trembling and undulating of a liberated and artistically moulded expressiveness of a human being as a psychophysical being. This language was theatrically fresh, powerful.” With it, Jožica Avbelj won an award at the Sarajevo Festival of Small and Experimental Stage and her first Borštnik diploma and award. She confidently established herself as a contemporary actress with her unique expressive style: her acting is always intense, founded in a sensible connection of language, movement and voices, it sensitively delineates a moving fragility and vulnerability of the portrayed characters, colouring them with sensuousness.
After his successful and talked-about reconstruction of the cult performance Pupilija, papa Pupilo pa Pupilčki (special award at the BITEF festival in Belgrade, international appearances also in Vienna, Brussels, Bucharest and Čedad), Janez Janša has reconstructed also Monument G, but in a completely different way. Dušan Jovanović is restageing the original performance together with Jožica Avbelj, while, at the same time, the reconstruction directed by Janez Janša has also taken place on stage, with a dancer of the younger generation, Teja Reba.
Reviews of the original performance
"In this performance, Dušan Jovanović abolished the mediator between the actor’s body and his/her acting, that which we call intellect or reason. /.../ Dušan Jovanović and Jožica Avbelj have /.../ achieved the elimination of the rational or conscious part /.../ and it was precisely the text reduced to signs and a mass of sounds, which they re-interpreted according to the changed structure, that provided the greatest assistance in this.”
"In the first stage, the (performance) of experience properly proceeded from Štih’s striking, culturally and politically critical satirical happening” and then “it gradually eliminated the literary scenario and reduced the performers, ending up with a series of extracted, isolated sentences (entirely neutral fragments from Štih’s text), from which we can hardly discern the original..." (Andrej Inkret: Milo za drago).
Source: Tomaž Toporišič: Between Seduction and Suspicion, Maska, 2004
Directed by: Janez Janša, Dušan Jovanović
Performed by: Jožica Avbelj, Matjaž Jarc, Boštjan Narat, Teja Reba
Scenography: Janez Janša
Light design: Andrej Koležnik.
Dramaturgy and director assistant: Samo Gosarič
Music: Matjaž Jarc
Producer: Jedrt Jež Furlan