"Rechnitz - The Exterminating Angel" - One March night in 1945, Countess Margit von Batthyány held a party at her castel in Rechnitz near the Austrian-Hungarian border. It was attended by SS andGestapo officers and local collborators. At around midnight, 200 Jews - who had been working as forced labour in the area - were shot dead, for entertainment. The murderers escaped abroad, and the castle burned down as the advancing Red Army arrived. After the war, the witnesses to the massacre disappeared and the attempts to punish the offenders petered out. The 200 corpses hav to this day not been exhumed. In the play, Jelinek abandons historicalverisimilitude and is inspired by motifs from Luis Buñuel's film "The Exterminating Angel" - no one leaves the scene of the crime, various points of view, contradicting each other, trying to capture in words a deed too monstrous to be captured, circling about it. There thus arises a dense and appalling picture of the events of the time- on one hand it is out of focus, on the other it gnaws away with provocative questions. David Jařab's production won a Dosky 2013 award in the Best Set Design category (David Jařab) and the Grand Prix at the New Drama review.
David Jařab (1971), director of the play "Rechnitz - The Exterminating Angel", studied theatre direction at the Janáček Academy of Fine Arts in Brno, form 1993 working as a director and then as artistic head at the Brno experimental theatre HaDivadlo. In 1997 he left for Prague, where he worked as a lecturer, script writer, translator and freelance director. From 2002, as director and author, he became one of the defining personalities of Prague's Divadlo Komedie, together with Dušan D.Pařízek. He now works as a freelance director, and in addition to theatre direction also devotes himself to auteur film.
Rechnitz - The Exterminating Angel is one of the most interesting and complicated productions in the SND's current repertoire. An unsettling experience awaits the audience, one that opens many questions but provids no advice, answer or reason. None of theses things were, however, provided to the victims of the Rechnitz massacre.
(by Soňa Smolková, Pravda)
Previous productions of Jelinek's plays in the Trnava and Košice theatres have remained on the level of well-meaning attempts. Now, however, the National Theatre, in cooperation with guest Czech artists, has brought sufficiently strong creative potential for the production of a work that easily stands up to international comparison. It is one of the strongest productions of the past season.
(by Zuzana Uličianska, sme.sk)
[pmg]printed edition of the International Festival Theatre (booklet)