Semantic and narrative complexity is just one of many distinct features that represent the essence of writings by Rok Gregor Vilčnik (born in 1968), a multi-winning Slovene playwright and an overall accomplished “scribomaniac” from Maribor with a pen name Rokgre. The integrated narrative structure that aims to grasp event simultaneity alludes to nearly all possible lunacies of our time, which are – according to the author – to be understood only through our lack of understanding. In turn, our reassurance with that fact represents an important part of our existence, while its manipulation serves as an important impulse of creation.
Vilčnik has located his latest absurdist tragicomedy The Post (originally in Slovene: Pošta), as the title suggests, at the post office, a former communication centre that has become yet another link in the chain of an overly saturated consumer obsession. Vilčnik’s setting is a post-apocalyptic space, depleted of transferring means for any kind of communication.
In her article, entitled A Post as a Post, a Human as a Human (in Slovene: Pošta kot pošta. Človek kot človek.), Maša Pelko points out the following: “In front of us, the three post clerks – Koritnik, Dellarea and Žunko – emerge, not questioning their ordinariness. They work at the post office, where there are no stamps, envelopes, or formulae for registered mail. There are no seals, pencils or paper either, and the mould has already coated the stamps. The money is also nowhere to be found. For instance, if you want to withdraw some money, you need to deposit it beforehand. All the crosswords in the magazine that is for sale are already solved. Although the printer for receipts is fully functional, it has no cartridge; still, as Žunko would say: ‘It is good to have a job. To get up early in the morning at an exact time, to arrive at a workplace and start doing your job.’” (Vilčnik, p. 30)
Juš A. Zidar, the director of the tragicomedy, who staged his graduate performance La Justice, or the Tiring Balance (in Slovene: La Justice ali utrujajoče ravnovesje), in an interview explains the following: “The three post clerks are thus called upon to perform a non-sensical protocol that serves no other purpose than its own. As loyal enforcers of the protocol, they entirely lose orientation and sense for reality, which renders them incapable to reflect the absurdity of their daily routine, although they sense something utterly unsatisfying about it – something that does not serve the needs of customers nor their own desires, as they enforce a convention that is acutely frustrating. In consequence, they are assuming responsibility for sheer dysfunctionality of the system, for which they act as its proponents. On an intimate level, this is a story of individuals that are living a reality, imbued with frustration, while the only thing that makes worth their while is fantasy and yearning for some other life that might never happen. Finally, it is a story of how our lives drain away, while we keep ourselves busy finding instant solutions, whose raison d’être is to give a new, although temporary meaning to our profound dissatisfaction with our reality – even when we still hold hope it may someday change into something else.”