Director Nina Šorak
Director Nina Šorak
Opening night May 2023
The Grum Award for Best New Slovenian Play 2021
Maja Šorli works as a counsellor, pedagogue, playwright and dramaturg. She graduated in psychology at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana and obtained her PhD in dramaturgy at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television. In 2021, her debut play A Taste You Haven’t Tried Before won the Grum Award for Best New Slovenian play.
Students at the Faculty of Practical Humanities and Social Sciences are protesting because they feel neglected by the university. They advocate education as a fundamental right, accessible to all, and want to make their voices heard against the privatisation, sell-out and commercialisation of education. The dean of the faculty wants to silence them at all costs, and also puts pressure on professors who disagree with her in their fear of privatisation. The government is planning to give their state-run faculty to a private university with a concession, turning it into a fee-paying university and increase the staff teaching load and deteriorate working conditions.
The social context of the sell-out, privatisation, commercialisation of public education and precarisation of the teaching profession is intertwined with the intimate stories of the protagonists. Private lives of associate professor Doroteja Luna Kovač and assistant professor Ivona Kalisch are in shambles. Doroteja Kovač has been accused of sexual harassment. The accusations are vague, they were not made by the victim, but by a third party. The problem of abuse of power in higher education has devastating consequences. The author does not minimize the problem of sexual harassment with vague accusations, but rather builds on it. What happens when accusations of overstepping the pedagogical elation are used by someone to achieve their own ends, to discredit an individual? At the very moment when she is ready to start a new chapter in her life, Ivona Kalisch is abandoned by her long-term partner. Both professors are thus at a breaking point.
In the play, the social context of the dismantling of public education is intertwined with the most intimate questions of the individual – why endure in a relationship, what is love, what it means to belong, why choose a family. Do intimate losses have impact on social activism? The title A Taste You Haven’t Tried Before refers to an intimate level that resonates strongly throughout the play, as characters in the midst of social change are defined primarily by their intimate world. Intricately written dialogues in a contemporary, vivid language create full-blooded dramatis personae. Maja Šorli skilfully captures the broader social context of the collapse of a world, which is also reflected in one’s intimacy. At the same time, she is aware that our rights are not won forever, and must be constantly fought for, endorsed and expanded.
The problem of abuse of power in higher education has devastating consequences.