Friends of Slovakia partnered with the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Slovak Embassy in Washington, D.C. to cosponsor the only Washington-area performance of the Slovak Theater Ensemble Túlavé divadlo (“Wandering Theater”) during its recent U.S. tour. The performance of Hana and Matúš – Literature Lessons took place on October 13, 2022, at the Columbus Club in Arlington, Virginia.
Written and directed by Jakub Nvota, Hana and Matúš – Literature Lessons is a contemporary absurdist comedy featuring four actors. All the action takes place in the living room of the home of a young married couple, Hana and Matúš. Hana and Matúš have problems. Hana is writing a novel whose main character Yves comes to life with strong opinions about how the novel – his life story – should be written. Hana’s conversations with Yves (whom no one else can see or hear) lead her husband Matúš to believe she is having an affair, so he moves out of the home. Hana’s psychiatrist Helena has become her best friend, which means she may no longer serve as Hana’s therapist. In fact, Helena’s patients have become so crazy she abandons her medical practice to move in with Hana, who always has a bottle of good wine on hand. Meanwhile, Hana’s publisher rejects the first draft of the novel and requests that she condense it first to a novella, then to a short story, and ultimately to a short joke – because no one reads or buys books anymore. But Yves fears that if Hana condenses the novel his own life will be erased.
If none of this makes sense, well, who said it was supposed to make sense? Maybe life is a joke and the best we can hope for is to have some control over our own life stories. Speaking of jokes, the play (presented in Slovak with English subtitles) featured enough jokes, puns, and double entendres to keep the audience laughing almost continuously throughout the 90-minute performance.
Following the show FOS hosted a reception for the audience and cast members in the Arlington Knights of Columbus Council Home. “I am delighted that so many of you came out to enjoy this special evening of live Slovak theater,” said FOS Chairman Kenneth J. Bombara. “We are proud to partner with our friends at the Embassy to make this performance possible.” Mr. Bombara then presented cast members with FOS souvenir magnets as a small reminder of their time in Washington.