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TTANNA FURSE, about the performance: When I was invited by Ursula Cetinski to direct a production for Cankarev Dom I was given every artistic freedom but one sine qua non: a company of three actors who would comprise two men and a woman. Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a paucity of plays which reflect this particular triangle, and I spent many months mulling over this problem: a play in which there might be a central character who is a woman and two male characters either side of her. Evenutally, I hit on the idea of Handkes KASPAR, and the poetic licence I would take by making the protagonist female, by eliminating her doubles and by reducing her chorus of trainers to a male duet. The play - an anatomy of the relationship between language and thought, thought and society - provides a rich seam for investigating some of our broader concerns which we agreed as a company when we first met in June 1997: the role of women in society, what makes wars and how throughout history women have suffered war as a sexual aggression and how rape has so recently been used in Bosnia as an ethnic cleansing system. The word system is important here, for the horrifying statsitics from these rape camps testify not to random abuse but to a carefully planned and executed process of torture and elimination. In KASPAR the central character, who arrives on the scene with only one scentence to utter, is forced to speak not by direct violence but by the process of speech itself.This SPEECH TORTURE as Handke calls it thus becomes a poetic metaphor for the way in which a society recreates itself through the individual, how the outsider is brought into the values of dominant culture, how we learn to conform, how power works.Our KASPAR is not a feminist heroine, nor a mere vitctim. She is a survivor. She adapts - or would probably die. this is not a piece of theatre celebrating womens emancipation, nor her potential nor her struggle for power. It is a description of the (feminine) powerless being drawn into the (masculine) system of power which is unyielding, pitiless and cocksure. The male characters in this production are not pathological or psychotic. They too have learnt the system. And they must pass it on. In exploring this text through the lens of gender relationships, we also find the feminine as a metaphor for all that is relative. Thus our KASPAR might also be a nation.Issues of territory and aggression are painfully fresh in the minds of former Yugoslavs. As are issues of language and identity. the forces of capitalism are rapidly impregnating culture with american ideology. The Self is in a process of reconstruction. But then we are all fast-learners when it comes to consumerism:I saw something sparkle.Because it sparkled , I wantedto have it. I wanted to haveeverything that sparkled.Later I also wanted to havewhat didnt sparkle (KASPAR)What we eat we are. The Macdonalds logo is a flag across the globe. In confronting this very structural, philosophical and verbose play with our own experiences we soon came to a decision not to create two productions, one Slovene and one English, but to find a para-logic in the play for KASPARs acquisition of language: the acquisition of Enlgish language, the lingua-franca of business. We necessarily pared the text down whilst remaining utterly faithful to the original structure. This process of reduction then became the theme tune of the production: less is more. Our via negativa has involved a lot of hard work and sometimes a very testing challenge for the trained actor-instincts. We have wrought an emotional narrative from a text which Handke insists is not a story but a theatrical event. We have done this by devising rituals and contexts for each phase of KASPARs development. In this version there is an imagined story, a before and a possible after. Our KASPAR transforms herself from an ethnic minority to a member of the majority. Or perhaps she has simply learned a camouflage, a survival strategy. Her journey is perilous and not without contradictions and errors. Her trainers are both anonymous and human. and through them we have endeavoured to explore facets of man to man and man to woman relationships. The work on making this production has been intense and very personal. the actors have created much of the material from improvisation. Whilst never having worked together as a company before we soon found a process of trial and error to reach the point of having a piece of work which we could now all really call ours. Anna Furse Ljubljana, July 31st 1998 Some of media respond: Delo dailyBilingual Kaspar in Cankarjev domA VOICE IN RELATION TO SILENCEOne Kica is not enough for Slovenes! said Mitja Rotovnik, the director of Cankarjev dom, at the press conference, while presenting the new production of Cankarjev dom. What he had in mind is that UrSula Cetinski, the head of theatre programs in CD, had invited a British director Anne Furse, to direct the new premiere that we can see on Sunday as part of the City of Women Festival.The project is ambitious and a little unusual for Slovenia: a performance of a very demanding text by Peter Handke from the end of the sixties (using the same text which was in the beginning of the seventies the first production of the experimental theatre Glej) in a bilingual version, English and Slovene, with a British director, for the first time involved with our cultural and theatre scene. The director who has a very rich theatre biography (she is the author of several awarded theatre texts, scripts, shes directed over forty different productions, co-worked with Peter Brook and Grotowskys group, she has headed several British theatre groups, among others Bloodgroup and Paines Plough, works also as a professor of theatre and writer), was faced, in Cankarjev dom with an already selected group of actors and co-workers but this did not represent a problem for her. To the contrary: in the five, six weeks of intensive rehearsals (from 10 am to 10 pm) she creatively used the differences she had experienced by coming in contact with our culture and our theatre. The fact of meeting or even confronting experience is in the centre of her directing concept of Kaspar: a voice in relation to silence, relations between sexes, opposites inside the same sex, the meeting of two ideological systems, capitalism which is her background and communism which our actors had been brought up in - all this being set in a frame of global cultural imperialism, symbolised by American culture.At the same time the director kept Handkes text without additions and found inside of it her own story and structure. The performance is based on the improvisations through which the director and the actors got to know each other better and gave the director the emotional material which she than integrated into the performance. The topical starting point for the performance was, as stated by the director, the war in Bosnia, the tragic destinies of the raped women.Also her Kaspar is a woman (performed by Polona Vetrih). Although the director is not interested in her feminine or heroic dimension, but simply in the destiny of a creature, who was somehow (linguistically) abused. (Speech torture is also the subtitle of the performance.)I was always interested in a role of the individual within a certain cultural concept in which people still have to find themselves. I felt myself always in some kind of relation, distance to my culture. But I dont think that my relationship to the performance is anthropological. Its more about an emotional response to Handkes text which is a very male oriented drama, where emotions are somehow logical or systematically. We tried to make the text more human, with a help of tiny rituals. That is why the performance is very personal, said Anne Furse.The pair of teachers of English in the performance is acted by Alojz Svete and eljko Hrs. Handkes Kaspar which is, as the director said, a very difficult text even for the English speaking actors, was translated to Slovene by Lado Kralj, language consultant was Mojca Kranjc, scene and costume design by Irena Pivka, composer Drago IvanuSa.BlaLukan TV Slovenia 1/18 October 1998Kaspar PremiereThe director subtitled the famous Peter Handke work Speech Torture. Although, it was obvious, that the actors, Polona Vetrih as a lead role and Alojz Svete and ?eljko Hrs as trainers, speak English as if it was their mother language. What makes this performance unique is the fact that Kaspar is turned into Kasparina via Vetrihs role.On the stage, designed by Irena Pivka, who also created the costumes andlistening to the music of Drago IvanuSa, we have witnessed, at the small theatre hall of Cankarjev dom, a new point of view of human torture that erases borders between sexes in the name of the festival itself. The director stated humbly that the majority of work was done by the actors themselves. They found a common thought, though, working in a quick tempo, that theatre is not there just for the large jests, supporting life styles and happy endings. Sometimes all were left with is a space of double-crossing, a ritual of being defeated and inexpressive emotions.Knap Sembera Majda Radio Slovenia 1/19 October 1998The English Premiere at the Cankarjev domConsidering that the performance was created as part of the City of Women Festival which is just going on in Ljubljana, we can understand why the director, Anna Furse, decided to use a woman for the role of Kaspar.The motif of Kaspar has been often used in art. Namely, it is about a person who had lived in total isolation and socialised only when he was almost a full grown person. The isolated space of Kaspar, at the beginning of the play, is, paradoxically, the space of total freedom that starts to narrow and shrink with the first move of a piece of chalk on the blackboard, which represents learning. Kaspar articulates his wish in a sentence - he wants to become what someone else once was, and he succeeds in it. But Kaspar, as seen through the eyes of Anna Furse, wants more than that. When she uses a woman as a central figure while the trainers are men, the relationship between the trainers and Kaspar gets sharper because of the gender difference. The woman Kaspar is the one that learns language from men. In the performance, these two are possibly a little too simple, too sharp and and look severe in their grey shirts. Uniformed antagonists who control the world with order and discipline, with words - pronounced or written and with their own fists if necessary. Kaspar adapts, accepts the language and conquers it, but she loses her nature, freedom and becomes what someone else once was.All this on the stage; closed and black as a school blackboard or, moreover, as the darkness of ignorance itself. With the many walls that frame it and the doors that open and what is more important, close - in many layers. The set was designed by Irena Pivka.The director Anna Furse with the actors Polona Vetrih as Kaspar and eljko Hrs and Alojz Svete as trainers, added one more contradiction to the performance. It is the contradiction between the womans primary and personal language, which is Slovene and the language of a huge colonising culture, which is possible to explain inside the concept, but is not very necessary for understanding the performance. UrSka Grahek

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RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE in the U.S. is controlled by Samuel French. For the dramatized version of SORROW BEYOND DREAMS which ran for many months in New York in the 70s you need to contact Residenz Verlag in Salzburg; to find out whether Suhrkamp has an agent in your region go to the Suhrkamp.De website. US, UK & France are controlled from Frankfurt.

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