Slovensko narodno gledališče Nova Gorica

Shelagh Stephenson

Five Kinds of Silence

Five Kinds of Silence, 1996

A drama of family abuse

First Slovene Production

on programme

This performance doesn't have any called terms at the moment.


20. April 2023, SNG Nova Gorica

about text

The murder of a father triggers a police investigation, a psychiatric evaluation and preparation for defence in a court trial. Through the still active fears and trauma of the three tortured women, the voice of the murder victim, who in his childhood himself experienced life as cruel, painful and unjust, cuts into the shockingly sincere statements and confessions. From the crime to the verdict, through fragments, a shattering history of a family opens. For three decades Billy, the father, Mary, the mother, and adult sisters Susan and Janet lived locked in the family circle of violent relationships. Both parents were abused as children, and the daughters could only stop the abuse with a radical act – murder. The only answer that the daughters and their mother provide about the main reason that they shot their father is a resolute: “We do not want to talk about this!” The victims of a pathologically loving and at the same time menacing villain gradually do speak. Through memories and descriptions of situations a story emerges – one of horrifying physical, psychological and sexual abuse that for years took place in silence: the silence of four family members and the silence of the world outside them.

Since the 1980s, contemporary playwrights have been studying the topic of child abuse and the silence of the society intensively, deconstructing the form of ideal family and warning that the abuse often becomes a behavioural pattern that passes from one generation to the other. Shelagh Stephesnson, English actress and playwright (with only one play thus far staged in Slovenian – The Memory of the Water at the Ljubljana City Theatre) wrote Five Kinds of Silence first as a radio play and won the UK Writers’ Guild Award for the Best Original Drama (1996) and Sony Radio Best Play Award (1997). Some years later, the stage version premiered at the Lyric Hammersmith in London. The first Slovenian staging of this tense family drama will be directed by Maša Pelko, a prominent member of the youngest generation of Slovenian directors, for whom this will be an SNG Nova Gorica debut.

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This performance doesn't have any called terms at the moment.