JEDNOU K RÁNU / EARLY ONE MORNING
Cast: 4 men, 1 woman
A seemingly banal story of a married photographer Zikmund and his love affairs, of his lover Martina coming to see him all the way from Paris, and of two uninvited guests Emil and Hugo trying to remind him of his marital commitments. Almost none of the characters in the play would act in a rational or realistic way. The photographer is an incurable neurotic who is always being dragged by the outside events. He’s even trying to solve a completely ordinary conflict with his lover Martina, with his aggressive guests and even within himself, described hundreds times in depth by journalists in popular newspapers, by painful self-torturing handling of the wound he received in a fight with one of the uninvited thugs. Martina is not completely in order by conventional measures: a focused, ambitious woman is unable to deal with her partner’s neurosis, and completely defenseless when faced with sexual harassment from Emil. The only character with a clear “rational” point of view is the housekeeper and pensioner Šlajs, although he is the most extravagant of them all at the first sight: the only thing he wants is to brag to everybody about his sexual prowess, to spy on the others from behind a corner and parasite on the others. It is the most repulsive and at the same time the most amusing and the most grotesque character in the play. The construction of Early One Morning is very sophisticated. It has many layers, shades, values and intentional references to fragments and subtexts from theatre classics. The way Mr Smoček spins the network of emotions, relationships and situations. All of these mirror a definitely Chekhov mood, whether the talk is about burning desire to find something substantial in your life, or an opportunity for self-affirmation, or else about the character of Šlajs who in the play’s finale reminds of Firs in the Cherry Orchard. Smoček’s play bears the imprint of infinite human striving and desire where love and passion gets inevitably mixed up with embarrassment and imperfection. For political reasons, the play was not produced until 2000.
The play is available also in Hungarian translation.