Janja Vidmar, Maja Borin

Elvis Starling, The Genius Stooge

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Elvis Starling, The Genius Stooge

The adaptation of a 2018 novel Elvis Starling, The Genius Stooge (original Slovene title Elvis Škorc, genialni štor) by Janja Vidmar, one of the most acclaimed and bestselling Slovene young adult fiction authors, has finally found its way onto the stage of Maribor Drama. The dramatization of the novel was conceived by Maja Borin, who has, in addition to having brought together plausible shifts of realistic and imaginary perspectives, provided an overall entertaining and comical introspection of teenage life, thus restructuring the plot and paving the way to a unique staging concept. As a result, various contemporary theatre practices were reworked into a coherent stage action that offers a series of witty insights of a rather “convoluted world of a thirteen-year-old, who has known that he would become an inventor since the second grade”.

For the first ten years of his life, Elvis has peacefully reigned at the centre of the universe, safely preserving his celestial authority, in spite of occasional “usurpations” by the household monster in the life form of his ten-year-old sister Ela. Yet, one day everything started to change; and when his father Peter unexpectedly flew away from their mostly loud and bittersweet family nest, Elvis’s and Ela’s world started to fall apart.

As a result, Elvis is now forced to find his new place amongst the ruins of the known life, at home, in school, and society as well. More than ever before, Elvis is now compelled to test his father’s dictum, worthy of a true rock star: “We, rockers, and the Starlings, are invincible! Stand up for yourself, make up your mind and stand by your decision.”

A young director from Maribor, Mateja Kokol, who has been a regular collaborating artist at the Maribor Drama and has already staged three acclaimed productions (Reasons for Happiness; A Boy, A Girl and A Gentleman, and A Mysterious Case, or Who Killed the Dog), chose Father Peter’s theory as a starting point of her exploration of the plot that was rearranged in the style of a rock concert, thus enabling the young inventor to find his way out of this “black hole” on the wings of his newly discovered musical talent. On the basis of this “rock concert” structure that binds the two ends of the story into a comprehensive narrative, many elements – dramatic, funny, romantic, dream-like, experimental, musical and locomotory – are coming to the fore, showing to the young audiences that one can always find something bright and positive amongst the daily teenage misery and downtroddenness.

8. 2. 2021,
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