The Fall of Europe
First Slovenian production
17 March 2012
A private party is held after the successful opening of a new hotel called Europe. The so-called jet set lingers on, making small talk, telling dirty jokes, wrapping up business deals or agreeing on some common interest. The hotel owner, a banker, a playboy, a businessman, a journalist, their wives and a local starlet are the representatives of the local elite. Despite of getting slightly bored, they flirt a bit as well as try to be witty and sarcastic – all within business and pleasure. And when the rather tipsy party plans to part, a global revolt takes place. There are demonstrations and riots outside, the police has closed all entries to the town, the roads are blocked and the cars are burning. It is impossible to go anywhere anymore. After a short dilemma whether to leave for the barricades with champagne, the party decides to stay on and remain in safety. However, an unknown person comes to seek refuge with them. He is apparently a protester, probably also a foreigner since he does not speak or respond at all.
In the literally hopeless situation and communication blockade, the decay and falseness of the local elite are revealed, and consequently also the decay of the entire society who they represent. Neither drugs nor alcohol can help – behind the shallow appearance and pretentiousness are only fear, impotence and helplessness, while all prejudices and primitive chauvinism burst out fiercely in presence of the mysterious stranger.
Matjaž Zupančič is one of the most important contemporary Slovene playwrights. In his new play The Fall of Europe (2011) he severely and mercilessly observes our present society. Even though it is only a small, local hotel in the outskirts in question, its name is meaningful enough. We witness decadence and fall of a certain world and we feel uneasy due to the unknown and violent events outside. Is there a new Europe taking place or is it only the old one collapsing? Once more, Zupančič looks at the world with sarcastic black humour which fits so perfectly in the twisted position of the present quasi-elitism on one side and the desperate situation forcing the masses into a revolt on the other.