Adaptation by creators of the performance; concept by Tin Grabnar and Brina Klampfer
6 April 2018
The staging of Bloody Smokers has been labelled a theatre concert, since it involves a combination of a concert format and typical elements inherent to a theatre performance. The stage music unobtrusively breaks into scenes, and vice versa. In the process, reflecting about smoking and smoking-related issues is constantly punctuated by the hints from the life and work of the Slovenian first lady of nicotine, Svetlana Makarovič.
Makarovič is a most sincere and uncompromising Slovenian torch bearer, who has always struck a chord with the problems of contemporary society. She has exposed bitterly every form of deception, perfidiousness, parvenu behaviour and self-seeking vanity. Her use of language has been compared to a perfectly sharpened knife, pointed and precise, even when dealing with the notions of beauty, goodness, tenderness and affection. In her short satirical pamphlet Bloody Smokers, Makarovič presents a genesis of the smoking bunch in order to tackle the opponents of smoking. Using her acerbic sense of humour, she presents a world history of tobacco to illustrate her clever views on the issues related to smoking, starting at the moment of the creation of the world, moving on to the ambitious Christopher Columbus who brought the tobacco curse to Europe, all the way to exposing a nicotine-infested euphoria of the 20th century, and pausing at the dark, glazed smoking rooms of our time. By doing so, Makarovič succeeds in presenting the increasingly topical issue of intolerance from different angles, exposing intolerance as a state of mind that invariably targets a certain social group, and is, ultimately, manifested and defined by its desire to overwhelm it.
Being intolerant to smokers can, at some point, turn into a metaphor for a general feeling of intolerance inherently present in contemporary society. This kind of intolerance may easily become fuelled and turned into hatred. It remains open, however, whether such emotions should be repressed or acknowledged. Negative emotions are part of our psychological universe too. Is it better perhaps to acknowledge and express them rather than supress them? Svetlana Makarovič presents her views with an unrelenting conviction: »People who are unable to hate are unable to love too!« What kind of stance is one to take of this complex issue?
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