(Slovenské divadlo v 20. storočí)
Autor: Miloš Mistrík
Slovak theatre’s dynamic history over a period of a hundred years. This development falls into a number of periods: the humble beginnings of amateur theatre in the first two decades of the century; the establishment of professional theatre in the twenties and thirties; the first successes in the thirties and forties; ideological impositions in the fifties and vigorous renewal in the sixties; the fight for artistic freedom in the seventies and eighties; and the watershed changes and liberalisation of the nineties.
The history of Slovak theatre in the last hundred years is one of considerable changes. The beginning of the century found Slovakia part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and still in a state of feudalism. For Slovaks, though no less for the other non-Magyar nations (Croatians, Rumanians and Ruthenians) integrated into the Hungarian Kingdom, this meant severe oppression as the Budapest government pursued its ultimate goal of making Magyars of all of the country’s population. This enforced Magyarisation elicited resistance not only from Slovak notables headed by the Catholic priest Andrej Hlinka, but also from a number of luminaries from other European countries, including the Norwegian Bjornstjerne Bjornson and the Britain Robert William Seton-Watson, also known by the pseudonym Scotus Viator.
Slovakia, of course, as everywhere else in western and central Europe, did already possess a long theatre tradition – in its case one that had been evolving since the Middle Ages. As a consequence, and despite the sustained oppression of Slovaks in the Hungarian Kingdom, in the smaller towns and the villages theatre performed in the vernacular remained part and parcel of the life of the middle and lower orders of the Slovak population. In the 19th century the larger Slovak towns were toured by Magyar professional theatres, which were supported by the state and were to present the „mature“ Magyar culture and assist in the Magyarisation of the entire Kingdom. Slovakia also received Austrian companies from Vienna, who brought refined and artistically mature performances of opera and drama.
In the first two decades of the 20th century Slovak amateur theatre laid the foundations for the sharp progress that was to come.
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Slovak Theatre in the 20th Century
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Zdroje: MISTRÍK, Miloš a kolektív: Slovenské divadlo v 20. storočí. Bratislava : Veda, 1999.