ODPOČÍVEJ V POKOJI / REST IN PEACE

Jiří Pokorný

Cast: 6 men, 3 women

Rest in Peace focuses on a real problem – the illegal migration of refugees from the East, the Balkans or the poor South, to the safety and material security of the democratic Western countries. The text relates, in a hyperbolic, cruel and paradoxical manner, the events surrounding one such group of refugees. Yet a glance at the daily papers or TV will remind us that this play may indeed be all too realistic. A refugee family, kept in hiding in a mountain cabin near the border by traffickers who help them across, are retained by the death of the grandfather, the oldest member of the family, whom they wish to give a traditional Muslim funeral. Types and characters of individual people-smugglers are revealed in a model extreme situation. One of the traffickers gets drunk on whisky, another overdoses on barbiturates. Maruna runs a prostitution racket and a chain of sadomasochist salons on the Czech border. The refugees are gassed to put them to sleep and are robbed - one of the traffickers finally walls them up in a windowless room.

 

In its escalating perversity, the cruelty of the protagonists, aroused by drugs and despair, is not only meaningless but in its own way is neither very clever, so that it later evokes laughter (although only for relief) just like a series of misfortunes in a silent film. The play is neither a psychological study nor a socially revolutionary drama... In its bizarre quality, the action is more reminiscent of a nightmare after a day spent following the black chronicles and the action serials on Nova TV... A specialised, stylised and simultaneously naturalistic language (as though eavesdropped) together with very convincing details raise the text from the level of jokingly fabulous fiction to a serious attempt to record, or portray, a reality which is medially and globally demented, but unfortunately our own. (Marie Reslova: Odpočivej v pokoji, Reflex, 16. 12. 1999)

  The play is available also in English and Italian translation.


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