Prometheus: A Beautiful Apocalypse
Prometheus: A Beautiful Apocalypse
Prometheus: A Beautiful Apocalypse is a new text from the pen of playwright Milan Ramšak Marković. Under the direction of Ramšak Marković’s long-time collaborator and one of the most inventive Slovenian directors, Sebastijan Horvat, the creative team, consisting of Drago Ivanuša, Igor Vasiljev, Belinda Radulović and Aleksander Čavlek, embarked on a new creative journey in which they set out to update ancient myths or revisit them in a new dialogue with several ancient heroes such as Medea, Oedipus and Prometheus.
In an interview with dramaturg Vili Ravnjak, Sebastijan Horvat pointed out that the selected myths are placed in everyday situations in the “(c)rudest” way, together with modern circumstances such as precarity and class stratification. In this new context, these “twisted” myths brutally raise questions about the sordid sanctity of the present dimension of our space-time. The cycle of antiquity began with Medea (with a theatre performance entitled My Name is Medea, produced by the National Theatre in Bitola), then continued with the theatre production A Rainy Day in Gurlitsch (produced by the Prešeren Theatre Kranj and Ptuj City Theatre) and now ends with the Maribor production of Prometheus: A Beautiful Apocalypse. The aforementioned trilogy thus represents a way of transferring ancient myths to our present day, taking into account all the specific issues and themes of our society.
The director argues that the main motive for staging Prometheus was to address the problem of the contemporary revolutionary. In turn, he and his team approached the Beckettian character Molloy, who is travelling home to his mother. Horvat says: “What resonates most painfully in his endless persistence is his accurate perception of reality on the pure level of objectivity and the materiality of language, which is a spiralling seduction for the reader. All this banal reality of people and objects expands into a brutal invitation to observe, follow and listen. The Promethean language of Vid lies precisely in this imperative to see and feel. In short, the character of Vid gradually becomes a crossbreed between Don Quixote (a hero thrown out of his time who comes across as a naive, comic figure), Jesus (someone with messianic qualities who wants to change the world with love) and Molloy, who stubbornly persists in his desire to never stop.”
Prometheus by Milan Ramšak Marković centres on the character of Vid, a thirty-five-year-old street urchin who has returned to his hometown of Maribor after fleeing Austria, where he had spent several years and was probably involved in petty crime. Vid is an observer and not a nihilist as such, although he has turned away from the idea that things will ever get better. In a performance that could confidently be described as a “theatre road movie” or “passion of a human condition”, we follow Vid’s final day as he follows his inner drive and impulse to set foot in and against everything he encounters.
In his article entitled On the City and Love, Milan Ramšak Marković writes: “The performance of Prometheus: A Beautiful Apocalypse can be read as a story about the last day in the life of a lost narcissistic young man who (perhaps quite by chance) returns to the city where he grew up. However, the question arises as to whether we can call the person we follow on stage all the time a ‘protagonist’, as the place where Vid wanders is probably the more accurate and certainly more exciting entity to bring to the fore. In this performance, the streets of Maribor – perhaps in some ways fictional – are not a passive backdrop against which the drama of our main character plays out. In fact, the streets are alive, flowing, full of ghosts, and they speak and observe Vid as much as Vid observes them, while carrying encounters, his and others’, that are forever lost in the mists of time. Mojca Marič, language consultant and sociologist, points out in her article entitled Space, Time and Language of the Apocalyptic Prometheus that Vid not only walks through the city, but also through his own (psychological) interior, an interior where time flows differently, where the streets he knows, or once knew, are strange and unrecognisable. After all, the city is always also a space of individual perception and meaning, which is constructed in the relationship between the individual, society and time.
Fran Žižek Hall