The Bearded Madonna
The story begins with the medieval altarpiece of Santa Sophia Church at Ohrid in Macedonia. In this picture the Madonna is painted with a beard. The history of this unusual altarpiece tells, that the artist thought, he was supposed to paint a Christ, and then forgot to wipe the Mother’s beard.
In our mono opera we try to understand this old religious picture of the Holy Family, which has got such a dreamlike realization, and ponder on the relation between mother, father and child in families. The performance uses numerous visual theater techniques with a focus on Japanese Bunraku puppet technique combined with modern medias.
In all cultures, child represents hope and carries the dreams of his parents. These dreams reach far in generations and whole culture. In Christianity the child has got the role of divine Redeemer: about that tells the royal child in altarpieces. Also in earthly connection the children often get heavy and impossible tasks. The frustrations and conflicts in families can break out as violence and cruelty against the child. In these cases the child has to carry family burdens from generations.
The methods of puppet theatre are concrete and visual, and together with music and poetry they make it possible to create a surreal atmosphere full of fantasy, similar to the experience of children in crisis. We see and hear how father is the eighth day of the week, when he comes down through the clouds on a rocket and has a peacock’s tail. And how the world is burning and the concentration camps are set up at home.
The poetry in libretto is created just before the bloody wars in breaking Yugoslavia, but the mechanisms of violence and dynamics in families are always present in social crisis, also now in our pandemia time and after it.
The performance duration will be about 50 minutes.