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Ivan Cankar: Scandal in St. Florian Valley
Adapted and directed by Eduard Miler
Co-production: SNG Drama Ljubljana, City Theatre Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom
If one was to select the nattiest place in Slovenia of today, St. Florian Valley would definitely occupy one of the winning positions. God-fearing people of St. Florian Valley know all too well that away from home people look at your clothes, while at home they look at what is under them. When foreigners descend to their valley, the locals tend to close ranks and stand up for decency. One of the newcomers is namely an undesired good-for-nothing, an artist, accompanied by the desirable Jacinta and the eccentric Concordat.
Although the gates in St. Florian Valley are firmly bolted, anything can happen during the night. The artist sneaks into every chamber. He produces a secret plan from his knapsack that could easily smear the Valley’s unblemished reputation. Twenty-five years ago the good people of the Valley found a baby underneath a willow tree; an orphaned fruit of sinful adultery. The named the baby Peter, put him in a basket and sent floating down the river. Nobody knows who the sinners were, but the moment the people of the Valley set eyes on Peter, the artist, each of them grasps that blood is thicker than water. To silence him they generously pay him in gold. But Concordat, who is actually the Devil in human form, imagines a different return altogether. The artist (faking to be Peter) is actually no orphan at all, but Krištof Kobar, a robber, promised him the untarnished souls of the locals. It turns out, however, that there is not a single pure soul among those who eat voraciously out of Peter’s hand and kiss Jacinta’s feet with relish. The Devil suspects that Peter’s efforts will bear no fruit. At that point, the true orphan Peter appears out of the blue. Krištof and Jacinta narrowly escape the rage of the people of St. Florian Valley. They eventually take it out on Peter and banish him in the wide world. Meanwhile, in his hour of need, the Devil eats flies.
Ivan Cankar, whose centenary of death will be observed in 2018, wrote prophetically in his Tales from St. Florian Valley: »The beautiful St. Florian Valley, you shall not forget me either. You may turn away from me in indignation, you may forsake me, a traveller by the side of the road; but I shall lie down in grass laughing and waiting, for I know you shall return. For I reside in you, and you reside in me.«