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Parallel Lives explores communist-era secret police

ALTHOUGH born as part of the Divadelná Nitra 2013 international theatre festival, the project Parallel Lives – 20th Century through the Eyes of the Secret Police, has taken on a life of its own.

ALTHOUGH born as part of the Divadelná Nitra 2013 international theatre festival, the project Parallel Lives – 20th Century through the Eyes of the Secret Police, has taken on a life of its own.

This year, it will be performed in six mini-festivals in central and Eastern Europe, starting with Bratislava, and continuing to Dresden (Germany) in June, Prague (the Czech Republic) in early October, Bucharest (Romania) in mid-October, Budapest (Hungary) in mid-November, and closing in Krakow (Poland) in late November.

A Parallel Lives book is also being released, containing more than 30 stories of victims of the secret police. Another eponymous book focuses on the phenomenon of secret police in documentary theatre in central and eastern Europe. A six-part documentary series for TV on the subject is currently in the works, brought jointly by film companies Mandala Pictures and DogDocs, and the Slovak public-service broadcaster, RTVS.

The Pro-téza festival, which runs April 8-13, will present six performances that explore the issue of communist-era secret police and their shady practices. Bratislava-based theatre SKRAT will host other productions in the A4 Nultý Priestor-Priestor Súčasnej Kultúry space at Karpatská 2. The dramas, staged by Prague’s Opera of the National Theatre, Budapest’s Sputnik Shipping Company theatre, Krakow’s New Theatre, Bucharest’s Odeon Theatre and Dresden’s State Theatre, will explore cases like Czech priest Josef Toufar, who was detained and tortured to death over a rumour that he was involved in a miracle; or that of a young Romanian secondary-school student who, after writing protest graffiti on the walls in a small town in northern Romania, took his own life after being persecuted by the secret police and rejected by his peers.

The full programme can be found (in Slovak) at citylife.sk and on Facebook. More detailed information on the performances can be found, also in English, at en.parallel-lives.eu. The plays will be performed with English subtitles, too.

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