The letters that the dying Slovak musician Dežo Ursiny sent to each other with his teenage son Jakub from room to room in the block of flats inspired theater actors from Brno’s Husy on a String. According to them, a new production called Nie sme doma was created. It premiered on the basement stage this Thursday, all three February reruns are already sold out.
Director Anna Davidová prepared the project based on the correspondence dramatized by Martina Kinská. It looks into the fragile world of fathers and sons, male identity or intimacy.
Seventeen-year-old son Jakub moved in with his father in 1994 in anticipation of the approaching end. They kept the letters in the apartment in the Petržalka housing estate in Bratislava in envelopes without addresses, postage stamps and stamps.
At that time, Dežo Ursiny was already fighting cancer of the tongue in an advanced stage. In 2015, their letters were published as a book under the title Ahoj Tato – Milý Kubo.
“Dear Kubo, the father greets the addressee in the letters and continues with the most important thing he has achieved in forty-seven years of his life, teaching and demanding, although he tries to be open and understanding. Hello, Jakub begins his answers, which reveal a touching filial affection, but also defiance and confusion,” Hospodářské noviny reported, according to which the father was writing his epitaph and it was up to the son to deal with it.
The fight between father and son for a relationship, rapprochement and finally for bare life is now on the basement stage of Brno’s Husy on a string, led by Jan Kolařík in the role of Dež Ursiny and newcomer to the ensemble Matouš Benda as Kubo Ursiny. They are complemented by actress Markéta Matulová with a band that plays Ursina’s compositions live.
The photo from the rehearsal shows director Anna Davidová. | Photo: CTK
“Given the intimacy of the apartment letters between father and son, we are extremely appreciative that Jakub allowed us to dramatize them. His generosity and trust were an obligation for us and at the same time an encouragement to creative freedom,” says the group’s artistic director Martin Sládeček. Jakub Ursiny is today a musician and trained filmmaker, he also sang his father’s songs at concerts in the Czech Republic as part of the Kubo Ursiny & Provisionium project.
According to the director of the production, the true nature of the coexistence of these two men fighting for their place in the world can only be argued. However, they were apparently able to communicate quite openly and warmly only in the preserved letters.
“Why is it so difficult to outgrow one’s own ego and expose oneself to true closeness? We want to explore silence and the infinity of embarrassment. It is all perhaps more our fiction, a look at the coexistence of two clenched heads than a documentary portrait of the legend of Ursiny,” suggests the director.
Guitarist, singer and composer Dežo Ursiny lived from 1947 to 1995. He worked in the bands The Beatmen, The Soulmen and Provisionorium, and later devoted himself to solo work and studio and film music. His most important albums include Modrý vrch from 1980, on which the pianist Marián Varga and the poet Ivan Štrpka contributed to the lyrics. The plate was carried precisely to mark the birth of the son Jakub. “Someone said that I must have been in love while recording, and I answer yes – with my son. I was happy twenty-four hours a day at the time, and that’s how the album should have been, according to my ideas,” said Ursiny.
According to music critic Pavel Klusák, he lived to the fullest, perhaps unruly. “However, music represented a space where he spoke in the most judicious and persistent way he could find in himself,” Klusák wrote.