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Unanimously decided by the expert jury composed of Aleš Jan (chairman), Pia Brezavšček and Mirna Rustemović, the Šeligo Award for best production of the 54th edition of The Week of Slovenian Drama was won by The Mrakiad, a production based on the trilogy by Ivan Mrak, and directed by Nina Rajić Kranjac.

The Mrakiad, presented by the SNT Drama Ljubljana, is a production that combines outstanding and sophisticated approaches to contemporary theatre. The very fact that it was included in the repertoire and by so doing revived the works of Ivan Mrak, a Slovenian writer, was the point of departure for this modern-day production. The adaptation and the staging in particulary bear witness to this. The direction set in the suitable stage space, presents a long period of family life in an innovative way, and makes use of contemporary means of irony and alienation. The precision of the mise-en-scène, featuring elements of alienation and simultaneity, allows for remarkable pacing and dynamics. These characteristics have enabled ensemble members to create excellent performances. The cast of the Ljubljana Drama has capitalized on their opportunity. They inhabit their roles and transformations in a full-bodied way and make the most of their stage appearances, individually and collectively, to find moments that seduce the audience into the magic of the theatre. The Mrakiad is a production that any European theatre would be happy to present.”

The jury unanimously presented the Best Actress and Best Actor Awards to the Drama ensemble members, Tina Vrbnjak and Benjamin Krnetić for their roles in The Mrakiad.

“In The Mrakiad, Tina Vrbnjak, appearing in a complex creation, plays the deceased mother, Old Roman’s first wife, and is omnipresent on stage as a ghost, as guilt that haunts and drives the entire production. She succeeds in separating her appearance from the rest of the equally stunning cast and takes it to a new level. From her meta-position, she flashes her eyes omnisciently into the audience and becomes the director’s alter ego, directing and guiding the production from the stage like a grim engine of history. She skirts the thin ice of staging female stereotypes, she is neither reduced to a martyr nor a grim seductress, since, with a proper dose of cynicism, she always holds in her hands the reins of the production.”

“Benjamin Krnetić, appearing in the role of Ferdi, who is also Ivan Mrak’s alter ego, superbly inhabits his acting apparatus down to the very skeletal structure. His contorted body and rambling gaze are searching in vain for a way out of the clutches of history that reproduce the logic of the executioner and the victim, and are embodied, as a counterpoint with incredible power, by the rest of the cast. Collectively, they give extra momentum to the force of Krnetić’s acting bravura. He does not shy from investing his own weaknesses in the role in order to demonstrate the hopeless purity of moral positioning. It is his vulnerability and uncompromising self-criticism that give this role a depth rarely seen in the theatre.”

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