Tiso, with Marián Labuda in the title role, takes place in the prison in which the former president of the wartime
Slovak state is going over his life. Dr. Jozef Tiso is, without doubt, one of the most tragic figures of Slovak history. A Christian and and a Catholic priest, who devoted his life to his faith, ideals, service to the nation and later to Slovak statehood. In the name of his ideals he joined with the fascists, had 72,000 Slovak Jews robbed, stripped of their civic and human rights and deported over the border. Most of them were murdered in concentration camps. When summoned in front of the people’s court which condemned him to death after the Second World War, he refused to admit any responsibility, felt no guilt and showed no remorse.
Rastislav Ballek, as both writer and director of the play "Tiso", has approached the subject with great thoroughness. The play is composed almost entirely of authentic articles and speeches by Tiso. The main narrative with which Ballek presents Tiso is the forms taken by his love for his neighbour, from the start of his political career to its end. At the start, Tiso is presented as someone who promotes Christian principles wherever he can: he is extraordinarily fond of ordinary people, he is against alcoholism and the theft of state property, he warns against the cult of personality and so on. Gradually, however, he starts to concentrate on the second half alone of the commandment ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.‘: Jews could have their property taken away because it was originally ours, after all; he promotes genocide by stating that ‘God commands you to love yourself’ and considers himself an arm of the curse spoken in front of Pilate.
(by Dagmar Inštitorisová, Národná obroda)