AMATEUR actors from a theatre ensemble of Ján Chalupka in Brezno (Banská Bystrica Region) were not allowed to finish their play titled “Kováči” (Blacksmiths) after the interference of the region’s governor Marian Kotleba, who was sitting in the auditorium.
One of the actors, 70-year-old Alžbeta Vagadayová, was standing close to the backstage when she saw an eagerly-gesticulating woman who was saying something to a prompter. The prompter then told them to stop and end the performance. The gesticulating woman was an employee of the regional office who allegedly said that if they do not stop immediately, she would order the curtain drawn and the governor would leave, as reported by the Denník N daily.
Kotleba reportedly did not like the expressions in the text.
“We left the stage as the stupidest of stupid,” Vagadayová told Denník N. “We were in shock and were unable to react.”
The performance was ordered by the Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region on the occasion of awarding teachers. The play describes the impact of war on ordinary people. The first signs of censorship occurred even before the performance as the office asked the actors to not use expressive and vulgar words. Vagadayová refused the request, saying she would not play under such circumstances. She thinks there were other things which the regional representatives did not like in the play.
“I do not know whether we touched somebody’s German pride or whether it was stopped because of the vulgarisms,” another actor Július Obernauer told Denník N.
The actors say that they have not experienced such behaviour even during the totalitarian regime.
“We are shocked,” the actors told Denník N. “We played more than 20 performances of this play in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, and nobody has complained. We received positive feedback everywhere.”
The office of Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region has not yet explained the reasons behind halting the play.