Rocky Peak

Author: Dane Zajc
Director: Nina Rajić Kranjac


A poetic drama, dedicated to the first Slovene theatre production at the Maribor Theatre

The centennial celebration of the establishment of the Slovene National Theatre in Maribor and especially the Maribor Drama as its first artistic unit, will be started with a new production of Dane Zajc’s Grmače (Rocky Peak), directed by Nina Rajić Kranjac. The opening night of the first drama production of the 2019/2020 season on September 27th 2019 will thus commemorate the first ever production of the Slovene tragedy, Josip Jurčič’s Tugomer that was presented in today’s Old Hall. Tibor Hrs Pandur, the dramaturg of the upcoming premiere Rocky Peak pointed out the following: "The play Rocky Peak, written in early 1990s and premiered in 1994, encapsulates the tragic theatre world of Dane Zajc, who epitomizes a destruction or rather a split-up of a family (or one’s lineage) and therefore the destruction of the whole community through radical self-criticism.” Some scholars and interpreters have drawn distinct parallels between the play Rocky Peak and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, considering Zajc’s drama as a cross-generational tragedy of the decline of a certain prehistoric community, with the potency to reenact neuralgic points of Slovene history, thus mapping its psycho-geography of the plethora of dysfunctions, such as auto-frustration, the pleasure of self-negation, continuous postponement and transferring of one’s guilt, self-pity, demonization of others, futility of treason and revenge, loosing oneself in transcendence, etc., as was pointed out by Taras Kermauner. Nevertheless, the play Rocky Peak can be today perceived as an extensive analysis of the history of failure, both with regard to in one’s attempt to establish communication (and, in consequence, a community) among alienated individuals, as well as in regard to one’s pursuit to overcome such partial (individual) interests and limitations. In turn, Rocky Peak embodies the history of these delusions that unequivocally beg the following questions: What is the truth of one’s domain? What is authority? What is the actual gold? Is there a being on this Earth that is immune to become beguiled by the power? In a way, Rocky Peak, is a Slovene version of Dogville or Fargo, that unveils the myths of gold, wealth and success through dramaturgy of perpetual failure, as well as the myths of revolution (that are aimed to achieve the state of Paradise on Earth), Christ’s resurrection (life after death), including many "nationhood-wise” myths of vernacular heroism that are to save the world from evil. The play Rocky Peak, directed by Nina Rajić Kranjac, is an act of micro-scoping and an attempt to fly over the mountain of Slovene all-encompassing (pan)nihilism that reigns over people of Rocky Peak as a stone deity. Furthermore, it is an experiment of subversion, an undertaking to find light in the darkness of its "negative theology” through counterpoint between brutal self-reflection and freedom of distance that outlines the features of the theatre, where the sphere of death is seemingly suspended, where there really is no death at all: there is only a possibility of catharsis through recognition of pertinently presented delusions of protagonists.