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Top Pick: Kremnica Gags 2001: Festival of Humour and Satire

The historical mining town of Kremnica - the geographic centre of the European continent - will become the country's navel of humour this weekend during the 21st annual Kremnické Gagy (Kremnica Gags) festival. For two days, visitors will be treated to an anti-gloom vaccination, a humorous alchemy concocted by humorists, actors, mimes, clowns and music groups.
With the simple aim of making visitors laugh, Kremnické Gagy was founded by members of the Kremnica Underground Theatre in 1980. Since its inception, several Slovak humourists have performed at the laugh-a-thon, including Július Satinský, Milan Lasica, Rasťo Piško, Štefan Skrúcaný, Oliver Andrássy; and actors from the Radošínske naivné divadlo, Gunagu and Stoka theatres.
"This kind of festival comes around once in a thousand years," said Katka Schmidtová, a Kremnica reporter and one of the festival's annual participants. But because of what she called the increasing difficulty of making people laugh, she added: "You have to ask yourself how long it will survive. So far, this one has.


A mime takes a break at the 2000 Kremnické Gagy festival.
photo: Jano Krošlák

The historical mining town of Kremnica - the geographic centre of the European continent - will become the country's navel of humour this weekend during the 21st annual Kremnické Gagy (Kremnica Gags) festival. For two days, visitors will be treated to an anti-gloom vaccination, a humorous alchemy concocted by humorists, actors, mimes, clowns and music groups.

With the simple aim of making visitors laugh, Kremnické Gagy was founded by members of the Kremnica Underground Theatre in 1980. Since its inception, several Slovak humourists have performed at the laugh-a-thon, including Július Satinský, Milan Lasica, Rasťo Piško, Štefan Skrúcaný, Oliver Andrássy; and actors from the Radošínske naivné divadlo, Gunagu and Stoka theatres.

"This kind of festival comes around once in a thousand years," said Katka Schmidtová, a Kremnica reporter and one of the festival's annual participants. But because of what she called the increasing difficulty of making people laugh, she added: "You have to ask yourself how long it will survive. So far, this one has.

"I've followed it since the very beginning because I am very attracted to its atmosphere... a town full of people where everybody holds a different idea about humour in his or her head."

Although the festival performances are delivered in Slovak only, "[foreigners] shouldn't worry much about [not understanding] the language," Schmidtová said. "Clowns and mimes have been and still are the main magnet at every Gagy. And the language they speak is international."

The festival opens at 15:00 on Friday, August 24, when Slovak caricaturist Ján Schuster will be rewarded for his work this year by being crowned Humour and Satire University Professor, a mock title also known as Dr. Humoris Pauza. Other highlights of the festival include satirical theatre performances, mime and clown shows, folk and rock music concerts, as well as the crowd favourite Vranov Stilt Theatre, which will do their best to keep everyone smiling until the Gagy's conclusion late Saturday evening, August 25.

Most of the street performances are free of charge, while maximum ticket prices are 50 Sk. For more information and a programme schedule, visit www.kremnica.sk and click on the "aktuálne podujatia" link, or call the municipal office at 045/ 674-2507.

By Zuzana Habšudová

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