Hollyroth – The production traces the ignominious fate of the poor clergyman, poet and early Slovak nationalist Ján Hollý (1785-1849), whose name is linked with Anton Bernolák's attempt to create a standardised Slovak language. Hollý's life is full of tragic moments and attractive paradoxes. "The production is divided into two parts. The first is a breathtaking monologue by Ján Hollý on his life, which the creators have put together from Hollý's correspondence, while the second part consists of the poem Svätopluk. The director has helped to make the text easier to understand and follow through the use of theatrically-attractive images, in which even on second viewing further layers of significance and connections may be found," Dária Fehérová has written. Director and author Rastislav Ballek's long-lasting interest in figures from Slovak history (Tiso, Vajanský, Dohnány etc.) is here combined to great effect with Robert Roth in the main role. Roth's exceptional performance won him a Dosky Slovak theatre award for best male performance. The production also won a Dosky award for best production.
"In their theatrical resurrection of Hollý and his poem Svätopluk, Rastislav Ballek and Peter Pavlac have drawn a parallel between the suffering but hopeful poet and the defeated king who dreamed of a great victory. They thus indicate the mystical depth and realistic weakness of our history, while paying homage to an unjustly forgotten classic writer. Their achievement is due in no small part to the tour de force that is Robert Roth's performance. He masters the monodrama and its old-fashioned language with remarkable charm, making Hollyroth not a historical excavation but exciting modern theatre. In this he is partnered to great effect by DJ Oswald, who creates live sound paintings, dealing deftly with the beats, loops and samples of the actor's voice. A forceful production."
(by Juraj Kušnierik, Týžděň)
"You've never seen a reading of compulsory school poetry from the 19th century in such a magic theatrical form. Hollý's unintelligible language has never been heard in such fervent and convincing tones. In this original concept, the noble alternates with the banal, the comic with the tragic, fragments of authentic intimate correspondence regarding illnesses, poverty and loneliness with bucolic joie de vivre and the pathos of a heroic epic."
(by Dária Fehérová, catalogue for the Divadelná Nitra theatre festival)
"This is above all a team effort by creators who have taken this fragile piece of history by the neck and made the right cut. Svätopluk in Hollý's epic is here presented almost as an ancient hero rather than a national one. Above him stands the royal symbol, through which the creators have sent a message to Shakespeare himself."
(by Eva Andrejčáková, SME)
"Ballek built the script around one actor. He found him in Robert Roth. And Roth took on the hero perfectly. His acting is modern, and he handles the character and the text as a prop – he demonstrates the hero and his conflicts. He does not require psychological or historical arcs, but focuses on the climaxes of the conflicts. He deals with Hollý's words and verse in remarkable fashion. While preserving the original, the text is surprisingly understandable and contemporary.
Jozef Ciller's set and effective costumes are excellent. Roth's mask passes from a realistic face to a pierrot mask to a clown."
(by Oleg Dlouhý, Pravda)