An honest child

You work with Red Noses - clown doctors, you are a teacher by profession, you run the Unikat Theater... Do you ever move in the world of adults?  

You work with Red Noses - clown doctors, you are a teacher by profession, you run the Unikat Theater... Do you ever move in the world of adults?


I've probably never really grown up, or maybe it's the other way around: I've grown up so much that I indulge in childish joys without a guilty conscience and can be sincerely and completely excited about new things. As one of the Red Noses, clown doctors, I regularly go to the children's wards of Slovenian hospitals, as a creator at Gledališče Unikat I am constantly among children, as a theater improvisation teacher at the Drama Theater High School in Nova Gorica I am among teenagers, as part of the Narobov collective I create mainly for adult audience, but hopefully with a childlike immediacy.


You became a father a few months ago, has your world changed?


Since the rhythm of my life is mainly determined by the six-month-old Ziva, everything is really different. It is very tiring, but also a very wonderful experience, when I get to know the world anew together with her. It opens up a completely new perspective on things. To sounds, colors, movement, eye contact... Such simple things are really a real experience if you sincerely devote yourself to them. Even as an adult. Life has a great influence on my thoughts about my artistic creation for both children and adults.


Are children a more demanding audience than adults?


Of course. They are sincere. They don't politely wait until the end, but immediately show if the performance did not "pull" them. Both in the theater and in the hospital, you immediately feel if they are no longer interested in what is happening. You only attract them if you are sincere and if the topic you are dealing with is part of their world. However, it is a great pleasure to create for children, because they give you energy back. Adult audiences are more reserved and as a creator it is much more difficult to get an emotionally strong response.


What types of people make children happy the most?


Those in which they find themselves. People who solve problems that they themselves have in life. The life of a child is not idyllic, as it is often imagined, but constantly involves enormous problems. They are so huge that some of them cannot be solved even in adulthood. Thus, for example, in the play "The fairy tale hour of Grandma Pra, who doesn't expect a tiger at all..." children, especially those between the ages of 4 and 8, identify with the tiger, which is full of energy, explores and unwittingly "teases" grandma. Namely, it tries to create order, enforce rules and calm down what is happening. Parents identify with her more.


In your opinion, how is the childhood of today's children different from yours or your parents'?


I don't know if it differs as much as it seems at first glance. It is true that there are more media and possibilities of receiving information, but human contact is by far the most important thing today, as it was then. Because of this liveliness, the theater is just as popular today as it was then, and despite television, DVDs and the Internet, we still visit it a lot.


How do you imagine a perfect day for a child?


This definitely depends a lot on the age of the child. No child's day goes by without exploring the world around him and exploring himself. And if this research is successful, if after effort it leads to good feelings, then it is a perfect thing. Not just learning things, but fully experiencing them. In the Zoo, the greatest experience for me as a child was to overcome my fear and pet a goat. Not only did I just see an elephant.


How do you organize your free time?


In recent months, my free time has been playing and exploring the world with my daughter. And morning walks to Tivoli or to the castle. But my wife and I also treat ourselves to a short theater or dance performance at KUD France Prešeren, Stari Elektrarna, or just a drink for two somewhere in Old Ljubljana. We leave life to grandma or grandpa for a couple of hours. That hour or two when we're together seems like a more magical thing to us right now than dating ten years ago...


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Tomaž Lapajna Dekleva


Riko facades

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