Heart of Darkness
based on Joseph Conrad’s novel and directed by Valeria Valcheva

Premiere performances:
1, 2, 5 November 2017, at 7 p.m.
4 November 2017 (Theatre Night), at 9.30 p.m.
Duration: 100 min.
Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
2, Cherni Vrah Blvd.

The Project of the Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art and the ‘Theatre Wind’ Company was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture.
Participants: Yavor Kostov, Denitsa Darinova, Miroslava Zahova, Nencho Kostov, Chris Atanasov, Lyubomir Zhelev, Martian Tabakov, Branko Valchev
Percussionist: Branko Valchev
Scenographer: Martian Tabakov

‘Heart of Darkness’ is an emblematic work of European Modernism, inspiring poets, composers, philosophers, and film and theatre directors. The text is a first-person narration by the sea captain Marlow about his strange voyage along a huge yellow river around the stations trading in ivory, somewhere deep in the African continent. At the end of this trip, the hero finds the dying European Kurtz ensconced in the jungle, having turned himself into a god for the indigenous inhabitants; while for us, his image is a premonition from 1899 of the emergence of the great dictators of the 20th century.
The British writer Joseph Conrad, by birth a Polish aristocrat, did in fact sail as a captain on a steamboat on the Congo River nine years before ‘Heart of Darkness’ appeared. Most of the characters described have real-life prototypes and stories. Only Kurtz is a composite character. Conrad himself formulated his goals as follows: ‘My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel—it is, before all, to make you see.’
Following the writer’s credo, the director Valeria Valcheva creates a small ‘Conradian Society’ of musicians, artists and six actors—a total of 8 people onstage who will announce themselves as a group of contemporary artists telling the story of the ‘Heart of Darkness’ through farce, cabaret and ritual theatre in order to make the viewers ‘hear, feel and see’.
The team is fascinated by the spirit of a mysterious adventure that reigns over everything in this book, independently, or rather along with deep meaning.
Why, though, ‘Heart of Darkness’ now and here? Because of the colonial crises then, or because of the refugee crises now?
Joseph Conrad poses profound questions on the human essence. We want to find an image of these issues. Conrad knows that man was created to ask questions, but it is dangerous to come to know the answers, and that is exactly what happened to his enigmatic hero Kurtz: ‘But the wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude—and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating.’

‘Heart of Darkness’ is part of SAMCA’s ‘Theatre in the Museum’ programme.

For further information: Valeria Valcheva – 0897 919 695