"HEART OF DARKNESS" theatre performance, based on the novel by Joseph Conrad






theatre performance, based on the novel by Joseph Conrad

director Valeria Valcheva


24, 26, 27.01.2018 (26.01 - with English supertitles)

at  the Sofia Arsenal - Museum for Contemporary Art, No.2, Cherni Vrah Blvd.,duration 100 min. 

Actors: Yavor Kostov, Denitsa Darinova, Miroslava Zahova, Lyubomir Zhelev,

Martin Hristov, Martian Tabakov, Branko Valchev

Percussionist: Branko Valchev

Scenographer: Martian Tabakov

Heart of Darkness is an emblematic  literary work of European modernism, a source of  inspiration for poets, composers, philosophers, film- and theater directors. The text is a first-person narrative of sea captain Charles Marlowe telling the story of his strange journey along a huge yellow river among  the ivory trade camps somewhere deep in the African continent. At the end of his journey, the hero finds the dying Kurtz, a European engulfed by the jungle,  who has become a God-like figure for the indigenous people, while  for us today's Europeans, his image is a premonition dating from 1899, for the oncoming emergence of the great dictators of the twentieth century.

The English writer Joseph Conrad, a Polish aristocrat by birth, had actually travelled as a ship captain on the Congo River nine years before Heart of Darkness was published. Most of the described characters have real prototypes and stories behind them. Kurtz alone is a collecting image. Conrad himself formulated his goals thus: "My task is using the power of the words to compel  readers to listen, to feel, and above all – to see."

Following the writer's credo, the theatre  director Valeria Valcheva created a small "Conrad's Society" of contemporary artists who represent the Heart of Darkness story-line through cabaret, farce, and ritual theater, in order to make the viewers "listen, feel and see" the story on stage.

The creative team are fascinated by the spirit of mysterious adventure that dominates everything in this book, apart from, or rather along with, its profound  deep meaning. Why actually dealing with the  Heart of Darkness here and now? Because of the colony crises then, or because of the refugee crises now?

Joseph Conrad asks some profound questions about the essence of humanity. We want to find an image for these issues. Conrad knows that man was created to ask questions, but it is dangerous for him to know the answers, and this is what happens to his enigmatic hero Kurtz: "I think he realized it right at the end, but only then. The jungle had discovered it early on and had taken its revenge on him for the invasion he was part of. It whispered things to him, things about himself that he didn’t know until he was out there alone. That whisper echoed loudly inside him because he was hollow.”

The theatre performance "Heart of Darkness" is part of the long-standing program of SAMCA "Theater in the Museum".

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