2013 The Water man


Dance, masks and the game of chance will help us find the Urška of the night, who will be selected from the audience.

The We are the world project promotes Slovenian cultural heritage and Slovene authors to the world, in foreign languages and with foreign performers. In the play Waterman, one does not need to know the text in order to participate in the play, as he is gently guided through the events of the evening. Every language offers different poetic sounds that contribute to the play in their own, original way, and with their own unique atmosphere.


Waterman by France Prešeren, the famous Slovenian poet (the author of the national anthem), provides a group experience for the audience. This is going to be out first attempt at involving 30 individuals at the same time. Our goal is for every individual from the audience to find his or her way to participate. Of course, this task will prove to be easier for the Slovenian audience, as we are all acquainted with the poem Waterman and its story. Background knowledge of the story makes it easier to bring down the fourth wall between the performers and the audience, because every member of the audience knows what is supposed to happen next. In this way he can control his active participation in the story.

The audience is not invited to a play, but to a dance. From the first moment they participate in the play, the members of the audience take over the role of the townsfolk in the Ljubljana’s dance. From then on, every member of the audience can be a dancer, a voyeur, a seducer or the one seduced. The performers control the process and set out the borders within which the game is played.


The Urška of the night (the queen of the night) is a person from the audience, chosen by the game of chance. Because her dark side (shadow by C. G. Jung) is so strong, she attracts the Waterman from another country. During the dance he takes her to the underwater world. In the play we can draw a parallel to real life situations, in which a person seduced by a shadow also drags down the ones closest to him, thus the entire audience is dragged into the underwater world. Only once Urška crosses the challenge suggested by Waterman, can she free herself from the darkness and turn on a light in the dark side of her. If we refer to C. G. Jung, we are talking about the integration of darkness and light within her, which is a step towards the individuation of personality. This process also influences the community surrounding her, thus the salvation of the individual leads to the salvation of the collective. Urška’s role represents the influence an individual has on his community, which reminds us all about the responsibility we have towards ourselves and consequently towards the community that surrounds us. The transformation of the individual gives way to the transformation of the collective.


The various languages provide different atmospheres: ranging from more dramatic to more objective interpretations and sound colours, the atmosphere depends on the narrators. In order to participate in the game, the audience merely needs to follow the story as it runs its natural course.

Text: France Prešeren
Concept and direction: Barbara Pia Jenič
Music: Peter Penko
Set design and masks: Barbara Bulatovič
English translation: Tom Priestly, Henry R. Cooper, Jr
French translation: Andrej Capuder
Photos: Sunčan Stone

Waterman: Branko Potočan
Narrators: Eric Dean Scott (Eng), Julie Seiller (Fr), Barbara Pia Jenič (Slo)
Hosts, dancers: Barbara Pia Jenič, Veronika Brinjšek, Julija Humar, Katarina Krapež, Jerica Majerhold Ostrovršnik, Urša Eva Pucelj, Andreja Skrinjer, Vesna Vrabelj

Production: Senzorium Zavod
Co-production: Ljubljana castle
In cooperation with: The Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet Ljubljana
The project was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia

Special thanks: Gostinstvo Urban Demšar, Matija Kuralt, the Čebron family, Alberte Husted Larsen, Mojca Mežek, Retrogarda, Tatjana Pinoza, Samo Jurca, Marko Jurca, Sunčan Stone