The performance Solo (a coproduction between Mladinsko Theatre and Maska from Ljubljana) cannot be categorized as nomen est omen, since it involves four performers, and is thus not a - solo. Its starting point, however, does correspond with the title, since it truly was “solo” and based on a personal professional reflection by the director Nina Rajić Kranjac, her position in her line of work and theatre circumstances in Slovenia. Although other participants contributed with their own experiences (which makes the performance a sort of devised theatre) it retains its autobiographical character, mostly due to the fact that Nina herself plays in it (and masterfully so). Both she and other participants (professional actors) play in a free, improvising, and physical manner, with frequent changes in genre and style. Just like the style, the topics too are varied and non-systematized, and yet dominated by the feeling of anxiety felt by a young and successful woman working on a small scale in a traditionally male world.
About the Production
Solo is a project where the director and actors meet in improvisation. It’s an attempt to create an event from given cues, drawing on the question of what it means to be alone. Why theatre, what are its uses, how to change your thinking about it through these encounters? This is also the director’s attempt to put herself into the spotlight and to study herself. To make herself both the subject of the problem and its catalyst. The event, created anew in each performance, may result from the perpetual need to search for meaning.
NINA RAJIĆ KRANJAC (1991) attracted public attention as a student, especially with the production 1981 (2014) by Simona Semenič, which became the highlight of that season, and was also awarded the Šelig Award at the Week of Slovenian Drama. Her first professional play The Conference of the Birds (Gley, 2015) won her the award for the best young director at MESS, while the entire cast was awarded for collective acting. In 2017, she received her master's degree in theater direction under the mentorship of associate professor Tomi Janežič, with whom she worked as an assistant director on several plays abroad (in Russia and Sweden). Her first performance for an institution was Korun's Counsellor at the Ljubljana City Theatre in 2016. Since then, she has directed in most Slovenian institutional theaters, and her plays have been included in the programmes of the leading Slovenian festivals where they have been frequently awarded. Over this year only, she has received the award for the best performance at the Week of Slovenian Drama for Solo, and her Scorched based on the text by Wajdi Mouawad (SNT Drama Ljubljana) won the award by the jury's decision at Maribor Theatre Festival.
From the Reviews
Here, the audience joins all the former realities, turns the aesthetic of the political of the personal into the political of the public and, during an almost four-hour-long event and despite the former pessimistic predictions regarding the meaning of theatre, it manages to spur the collective understanding of the necessity of theatre, and all of that now, today, under this government, in the times of this virus.
Zala Dobovšek, Neodvisni
Solo functions as a love letter to the theatre, to the spectators, to the actors, and to the supporters who formed Rajić Kranjac and brought her to where she is now. The critique of theatre, the questioning of its purpose, and the declaration of a pessimistic feeling of powerlessness when it comes to actually making a difference with theatre gestures at the same time create a theatre utopia that transforms itself into an anti-utopia, becoming a clear expression of devotion to the theatre - whatever it may be.
Brina Jenček, Radio Študent
Nina Rajić Kranjac’s Solo is something more than a performance. It’s an experience. It’s a ride. It’s a feast. It’s a four-hour fuck-you to theatrical tidiness. [...] It is self-exploratory and self-critiquing and self-indulgent yet, at the same time, it is also an intensely collaborative, intensely live experience, chaotic and ridiculous and beautiful and moving. [...] It’s hard to articulate the overall impact of the piece, it is a journey, a durational exercise for both performers and audience (past productions of the show talk of a six hour running time and I would have been up for that) a true communal experience, literally feeding its audience. It is intensely theatrical and incredibly exciting. Just really fucking exciting. Theatre as a living art form and a team sport, as an act of trust and risk, breathe and sweat, vulnerability and exposure, chaos and catharsis.
Natasha Tripney, SEEstage