Week of the festival: Days of Poetry and Wine, Slovenia

EXERCISE/EXORCISE YUGOSLAVIA

A fragment of an experimental mental secretion reconstructed from several dreamscapes in one act

/ by Tibor Hrs Pandur

Driving through the Berlin metropolis

The Wall still stands

Turned into a tourist attraction

Corrupt Volkswagens

Which once transported camp prisoners

Now transport tourists

Pass by human pyramids

In Prussian uniforms

 

ME: They have a talent for drama though, these Europeans.

They constantly stage their own history as a farce. But what is truly interesting is to watch what is being covered up by this never-ending satire.

HER: And what is being covered up?

ME: The colonial history of Europe, the expansionist tendencies of the thousand-year Reich of financial capital. The KZ lagers of finance capitalism. They dance for tourists and dress them up in themselves, in order to forget how the flow of capital is directly connected to the industry of death, which is being superimposed as we speak onto us, the living …

HER: Heiner Müller supposedly wrote about this. I evoked him only to support your thesis. Don’t know if he actually did.

 

In front of a theatre in East Germany, waiting for the play to begin. She’s staring at the horizon, while sucking on a cigarette.

 

ME: What would you like to do now?

HER: I feel like listening to the piano, while they open my veins.

ME: A little Wagnerian don’t you think?

HER: But I’d let them channel my blood back to me through a special tube, so I wouldn’t lose it. That’s what they do nowadays and call it art.

ME: I know, was thinking a lot about it. How an act with which you risk your life became the only true form of art.

HER: They have forced us to believe that the only true form of art is risking your life on stage.

ME: I don’t believe it’s true, but they made us believe that it’s truer than verse.

HER: That’s why the liberation front during WWII and all the art that grew with it was the only grand collective artwork of the Slovene nation. You don’t agree? Would you rather discus post-war massacres? The kill-ratios on each side? Who gleichschalted with the Nazis and who didn’t?

 

The stage turns, play begins. Drum-roll with national anthem.

 

The voice of the announcer on speakers: Ladies and gentleman, please welcome the Madame Minister of the Interior, who will address our valiant officers concerning these grave circumstances we have unfortunately found ourselves in:

 

MMOI: Blessed be our troops, who in states of emergency

Retain the power to run our water, food and housing…

Blessed be our troops, who in states of emergency

Retain the power to imprison activists protesting ecocides

Of totalitarian corporations

Blessed be our officers, who are too underpaid

To go on patrol and check if anyone complies with the curfew

Blessed be our Chief Technical Officers

Who spill the blood of innocents, day in and day out

To water no tree. For no tree grows where

The blood of the innocent spills…

Blessed be our troops

Who turned the world into a wasteland

And called it peace…

 

She’s interrupted by her own guard detail, who forcibly evacuate her off stage. Since this is an experimental piece of writing, not everything should be clear. What is being insinuated is that the Madame Minister of the Interior (the supreme symbol of the Slovene national super-ego) spoke out of turn, breaking the prearranged script and the announcer, via speakers, begins to apologize in her name, claiming she apparently suffered a mental breakdown of sorts and had to be evacuated for her own best interests and the well-being of the nation. A possibility for the coming denouement might be that she was kidnapped by a fraction of her own government and her whereabouts are to date unknown, which triggers several nationwide crises and an investigation is launched, which reveals the deeply rooted melancholy of her national police force.

 

The stage turns. We see her husband waiting for her at their flat in the tub, smoking. A violent knock on the door. He gets out of the tub and opens the door. A bunch of police officers shove a warrant in his face and start impounding documents from her office.

 

HUSBAND: What the hell is going on? Don’t you know who I am? My wife is the Minister of the Interior …

 

OFFICER: Not anymore. She’s been relieved of her duties.

 

HUSBAND: Where is she? I demand to talk to her this instant!

 

OFFICER: We’re currently not at liberty to say.

 

HUSBAND: Why? What happened?

 

OFFICER: Matters of state security.

 

HUSBAND: This is crazy…

 

AGENT IN CHARGE: Come with us please…

 

HUSBAND: No. Who are you?

 

AGENT IN CHARGE: I am the owner of this building. We have to ask you to evacuate the premises...

 

HUSBAND: The government owns the building.

 

AGENT IN CHARGE: Exactly…

 

HUSBAND: As we descend the spiral staircase

He smears Chinese characters on the dusty windows

As if evoking spirits

While rain drums

Onto Bladerunner-like blinds

Of neon despair

Of some forsaken undreamt future…

 

AGENT IN CHARGE: Come with me, I’ll show you. The purpose of this house is to kill me, but I am unkillable.

He laughs…

 

The stage turns and reveals a room, where the Madame Minister of the Interior is bound to some extra-terrestrial machine with nanotubes protruding out of her and leading into the walls and ceiling, pumping her blood into the house, including her memories and dreams, converting them into plays and movies of and for other rooms…

 

The Husband, after witnessing this, attacks the Agent in charge, takes his gun and shoots him.

 

AGENT laughs: I told you I’m unkillable. I’m the blood that flows through the veins of this house, I am the zombie capital of my own real estate, imitating my own abstract flow and presenting it as the only viable reality

 

He projects videos of hidden cameras onto all four walls:

 

62 multimillionaires, (among them 35 males)

Possessing the same wealth as the poorest

3.6 billion rest of humanity,

Find themselves witnessing accidents,

Psychopaths screaming in violent rage

Shackled in hospitals

In police stations

Implode inside their bodies

Bombs of suppressed unexpressed anger

Stuck-up bombers

Sentenced to self-detonate by the flow of capital itself

The blood of the innocent

On every side-walk

On every screen

Of a violent crime

A multimillionaire survives

And grins straight into the camera

For every psychopath

Indirectly produced by the capitalist nanotube

A multibillionaire somewhere cashes in interest

FOR EVERY VIOLENT CRIME
A BANKER IS REBORN EVERY TIME

In the loop of this violent footage

Produced by this banking house

This psycho factory

Of self-sustaining insanity

The eternal majority share-holder

Wrapped in a red leather coat of eternal presence

Of commodity fetishism

Spirals down the staircase:

COME WITH ME. I’LL SHOW YOU WHY I’M IMMORTAL…

And writes ideograms onto windows

To evoke the silent forces

Of finance capital

Of this house

Which apparently lives

Hooked onto the blood flow of its tenants

While reproducing them into mini-performances:

Shackled murderers

Self-detonate

Verbal obscenities

Gagging

On bloody tissues

Of their own severed tongues

From the force of this violence

Undirected into nothingness

Except onto oneself

EACH MAN
FOR HIMSELF

On the back-seats of police vans

While officers throw minor delinquents into them

Multimillionaires make selfies

Of their own spiritual meta-presence

Every time a white cop

Throws an African into a van

For wrongly crossing the street

So that he “accidently” bangs his head against the door

The spirit of a multi-zillionaire

Shoots selfies in front of him

With a grin

 

Whenever a bomb detonates

In a supermarket

Intended for the Pentagon

(Can’t reach further than that)

Wherever blood flows through the streets

The spirit of a psycho-zillionaire

Stacks selfies

For posterity

 

The stage turns. Back in front of the theatre after the show.

 

ME: So, what did you think of the show?

HER: I didn’t really get it. It was weird, fragmented, disconnected, like the world we live in.

ME: Well, bad art is more tragically beautiful than good art, because it documents human failure.

HER: I often think how even the greatest tragedy in theatre can cause only laughter, silence, sobbing or, in any case, an applause. That’s the tragedy. This magical space, this allegory of the State, where the audience are culprits of their own generally induced passive condition.

ME: But the purpose of theatre is to get people together. The actual theatre reassumes after the show…

HER: Yeah, after the premiere everyone high on adrenaline gets drunk and says how wonderful and deep all of it was…

ME: But what if these virtual solutions to actual conflicts are the only way for us to survive?

HER: Maybe. I just can’t get around this basic paradox. To actors and directors everything is permitted, as long as their freedom is practiced exclusively onstage, exclusively in the context of theatrical institutions. But as soon as someone turns things around and starts to practice theatre directly, without the sanctions of institutional authorities or capital, without selling tickets, immediately intervening into the fabric of social theatre, he or she is pronounced insane and probably put into an even more brutal theatre of a prison or a mental asylum…

....
Tibor Hrs Pandur

(1985, Slovenia) received a bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature in 2011, at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. He is a dramatist and a poet. In 2007, he coauthored and translated the text for the play Don Juan. Kdo? / Don Juan. Who? (Slovensko mladinsko gledališče and Athletes of the Heart). In 2008, his drama debut, Sen 59 (Dream 59) was realized on the stage of the Glej Theater in Ljubljana, for which he received a Young Playwright Award in 2013. He is the cofounder of the Paraliterary organisation I.D.I.O.T. and was editor of the same-named magazine from 2009 to 2017. In 2010, his poetry debut, Enerđimašina (Energymachine, Center za slovensko književnost) was published. In 2011, it was followed by a translation debut of collected poems by Jim Morrison Očividec (Eyewitness, Center za slovensko književnost). In 2015 and 2016, he was the program director of a literary festival Literodrom. In 2017, his second poetry collection came out, entitled Notranje zadeve (Internal Affairs, Litera).