The Prophet

The prophet is one of Gibran’s later writings and it encapsulates the peak of his philosophy. The Prophet is Gibran’s paraphrase of Biblical stories, his contemplation of life, everyday problems and fundamental questions that every person strives to answer from birth onwards. The central concept of the work is the thought on universal love, about the importance of the fact that human beings are defined by the ability to love. Spiritual love is the superior concept that should be leading and guiding human endeavours, especially towards a greater good, towards happiness and honest relationships.


How to approach words and thoughts, which are carefully selected, stemming from the depth of life and touching the most sensitive aspects of the human being? How to stage mystical poetry? Barbara Pia Jenič, the director and the pioneer of the sensorial theatre in Slovenia, tries to get in touch with the feelings, sensuousness and synergies in this performance. These are essential elements of Gibran’s subtle and sublime literature. The Prophet’s words challenge the void, the silence and the pause, they address the unspeakable and open the intermediate spaces to access the subconscious. This way they achieve a more comprehensive immersion of the audience in the plot of this artistic masterpiece.


Dates of repetitions and locations at coproducers’ venues:

Prešernovo gledališče Kranj

Slovensko Mladinsko gledališče

Slovensko stalno gledališče Trst



  • “The actors are superb and their roles include interaction with the audience, either by dispersing scents or occasionally directly addressing them and encouraging them to think about the questions that everyone believes to be impossible and complex, yet the answer to them will remain forever simple. ”
    Karin Planinšek, Zapik 15 January 2019


  • “The call for the reader’s or listener’s senses to be awakened comes from the text itself, and the director Barbara Pia Jenič heeds this call. Were I to classify the performance merely as “olfactory theatre”, I would do it a great injustice. We smell mostly well-known essential oils that we have also at home. More important, however, is that the performance uses more than one language and touches more than one sense: the visual component comes via a film screening and its extremely subtle selection of images from nature, but also via symmetrical mise-en-scène, distinct colour accents, clever costume design. The small stage teems with intense atmosphere, which is a credit to the medium of theatre, because it truly enchants the spectator. All this places us into a capsule of some faraway time – or not faraway, because the time s unclear –, in the realm of Mediterranean smells and sounds. This is a performance of reflections and lights that also speaks through materials. The latter acquire archetypal roles /…/ We are transported to the time of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were, in the ancient times, conceived as events that include several human senses. The performance efficiently transports us to a shore; we become a part of the community there that listens to Gibran’s valuable insights. For the spectator, it has an effect of an hour of meditation, which at the same time agitates and calms the mind. /…/ The actors excite the senses of the spectators with fire, essential oils, fruit and the touch of white sails, which touch the spectators’ heads gently – while retaining the feel of a ritual and letting the time to run its course. This is a performance that melts inside the body. /…/ It is not only the Prophet’s thoughts that touch the spectators with a gentle audacity, the performance also takes their bodies, places them in front of the fire and the sea, thus giving sense to the objects around them with ritual acts, but mostly calming them down.”
    Ivana Zajc, Prerok- Gledališče za vse čute, Primorski dnevnik, 23 December 2018


  • “In The Prophet, conceived on the motifs from the eponymous cult work by the Lebanese–American author Khalil Gibran, director Barbara Pia Jenič, the founder of the sensorial theatre in Slovenia, continues her research into different ways of merging classical theatre and sensorial contents, something that was prominent in her previous projects as well. Within this arch, The Prophet represents a kind of return to more distinct sensorial layers of performing, but also the first truly equal (and surprisingly efficient) merging of the textual and the sensorial into a harmonious, congruent whole. /…/ On a uniquely designed stage, set among the projection screen on one side, and the audience on the remaining three (the set and video designed by Jenič), Miha Rodman (Prophet) and Maruša Oblak (Almitra) navigate, calmly and without any pathos whatsoever, through the scenes of the Prophet’s farewell (dramaturgy Marinka Poštrak) and occasionally carry out different ritual acts (for example, lighting a fire, washing hands, offering food), at times also in an unobtrusive interaction with the audience; this gradually establishes a sense of timelessness, which is significantly supported by scents, different archetypal motifs, symbolic objects and intelligently stylised costumes (Tina Kolenik), as well as an active presence of natural materials (wood, earth) and a very suggestive soundscape by Peter Penko, Tine Terlep and Igor Meglič. Through the gentle saturation with all these elements, the word thus in time becomes “flesh”, a dense tissue of skilfully synchronised sensorial messages that addresses the open sensitivity of the spectator – and at the same time offers an unusual theatre experience.”   Gregor Butala, “Premišljeno zlitje elementov”, Dnevnik  30 November 2018


  • “The Prophet is not only a sensorial, it is an extrasensory experience /…/ The Prophet is a Gesamtkunstwerk which gives theatre its dignity back, and heals. It heals the Everyman and this mad world.”  A cultural expert and artist Tina Hribar Dragar, on Facebook, 6 November 2018


  • “The première audience has fully opened all their senses and carefully, in complete silence, followed the action on and around stage, and participated in the symbolic gestures of both actors, for example the “Eucharist” of offering essences of smell at the end; we could say – in this way accepted the Prophet’s teachings. The Prophet will definitely attract new audience to the Prešeren Theatre Kranj. Those of you who have read The Prophet will find the performance interesting; those who haven’t, but have seen the performance, will happily reach for the book. ”  Igor Kavčič, Gorenjski glas, 22 October 2018


  • “Miha Rodman as the Prophet and Maruša Oblak as Almitra, with the Prophet’s voice (Vladimir Jurc) and supported by the sound (Peter Penko, Tine Terlep and Igor Meglič) and video, convey Gibran’s text in sensorial interaction with the spectators (touch, smell, hearing …), delicately, in a calm rhythm. With the symbolic language (apples, grapes, wine, soil, tree, curtain, ship …) they take the spectator on a “spiritual journey from birth to death”, or more precisely, from the mountain of conversion via the Eucharist, the garden of suffering to the dawn of resurrection. ”    Ksenja Hočevar, Družina, 21 October 2018


  • “After a performance like The Prophet the applause at the end is like an acoustic interference, because everyone would rather take their impressions away on their palms and hold them in front of the altar of their eyes in silence. The performance merges the power of the word and the dimension of the unspeakable, magically created by the perfect video, costume and stage design, dramaturgy, lighting and sound blending into a whole.”    Katerina Vidner Ferkov,, 16 October 2018


  • “The performance directed by Barbara Pia Jenič focuses on certain thematic fragments of The Prophet, such as friendship, gift, children, poverty, death and love, and it develops them as a stage piece in calm, decelerated rhythm through symbolic and archetypal images, with sensual Maruša Oblak and Miha Rodman, supported by the suggestive sound by Peter Penko, Tine Terlep and Igor Meglič, and video, convey the subtle message of the fundamental connection of the opposites with clear, sober speech, with efficient use of scents, props and set. The spiritual charge of The Prophet, almost alien to our time, is thus addressed and opened through the sensorial susceptibility and sensibility of the spectators, particular to the transience of a theatre moment, which is what makes a theatre event unique and irreversible.” Rok Bozovičar, Radio Slovenija 1, Dogodki in odmevi – 15:49, 14 October 2018


  • “This was an evening of such deep searching that I will definitely repeat it. The performance as a whole enthralled me. The sound, the lighting, the set is magical, the actors are exceptional. Considering the text, it could easily turn to pathos, but the actors’ performed with so much refinement and measure that they touched the audience deeply.”
    Translator, actor and director Alenka Bole Vrabec, after the première 13 October 2018


  • “The Prophet is one of the performances by the director Barbara Pia Jenič that makes the spectator feel the applause at the end somehow interrupts the solemnity, depth, the enormity of the word spoken onstage. The performance on the stage in Kranj is the kind of artistic and spiritual experience that we sorely miss on stages today.”  Editor of the web portal Zdravo Slovenija  Katerina Vidner Ferkov, after the première 13 October 2018


  • “This is an aesthetic performance. I liked how all the natural elements were present on stage as props: fire, water, earth and air. Through the performance, we meet all the good and all the bad that humans do. And at the same time we also see that not everything is as dark as it sometimes seems, that we can always plant a new tree and life will go on.”    Lighting designer Kristjan Vidner, after the première 13 October 2018


  • “It would be nice to have more of such gentle, beautiful performances that speak to the heart and the soul. We need light, too, not just darkness. What we experienced here was an ode to life. Life is worth praising and living vivaciously.”  Manca Košir, author and columnist, after the première 13 October

English translation Barbara Skubic

Title of the original  The Prophet

Translator Lojze Bratina

Director, scenographer, video and scent designer Barbara Pia Jenič


The Prophet  Miha Rodman

Almitra  Maruša Oblak

Voice of the Prophet (audio)  Vladimir Jurc (Slovenian), Adriano Giraldi (Italian)

Dramaturg Marinka Poštrak

Authors of sounds and music Peter Penko, Tine Terlep (vocal) and Igor Meglič (arabic balkan saz)

Costume designer Tina Kolenik

Photographer Nada Žgank and on this site also Barbara Pia Jenič (rehearsals)

Movement counsellor Jasna Knez

Proofreader Mateja Dermelj

Assistant of dramaturgy Kristina Mihelj

Light designer Bojan Hudernik, Igor Berginc

Make-up designer Matej Pajntar

Video editing Robert Obed

Stage manager Ciril Roblek

TECHNICAL STAFF: Propery man Ciril Roblek, Light Igor Berginc, Bojan Hudernik; Sound Robert Obed, Marko Koren, Hair and make-up Matej Pajntar, Dresser Bojana Fornazarič, Stagehands Robert Rajgelj, Boštjan Marčun, Marko Krajnc Kamberov, Ahmet Kurtović

PRESS on internet

Primorski dnevnik, The Prophet or theatre for all the senses, 23. December

RAI Furlanija Julijska Krajina, Sensitive and emotional Gibran, video, 20. December

Primorske novice, Cure for this era, 19. December

Dnevnik kritika: Premišljeno zlitje elementov, 30. November

TVSLO Kultura video, 20. November

Družina, We are god’s breath, 21. October

Zdravo Slovenija, Trust your dreams, 16. October

SI21, After the premiere of the Prophet, 15. October

Radio Slovenia First program, News, 14. October  (od 18’28”-20’25”)

Mmc Rtvslo The Prophet, … a cure for this era, 13. October

Ars Rtvslo Svet kulture, audio  (od 9’50”- 12’57”), 12. October

Si21 Krstna uprizoritev kultnega dela Prerok, 8. October

Gorenjska TV Before the premiere of The Prophet , 2. October


Barbara Pia Jenič

About Gibran, the sensuous


It seems that authors such as Gibran have always been a part of my life, as they shaped and reinforced my world view and perception of existential questions. I started questioning myself about the meaning of life when I was very young, even before I reached puberty. I’ve been passionate about theatre since I was fifteen, but twenty years ago I entered the universe of the sensorial theatre. Sensorial theatre introduced me to the new dimensions of story-telling and creating. However, multi-sensory representation is not really a new thing in theatre.

 “The beginnings of Western theatre in ancient Greek festivals like the Eleusinian mysteries (in modern times considered the prototype of the modern Gesamtkunstwerk) were suffused with intense aromas of all kinds: including fruit, floral, grain, and animal offerings; blood and burning animal flesh; wine, honey, and oil libations; and the burning of incense and other material in sacred fires (Burkert 1985). In our times, the use of incense in Catholic churches constitutes a diminished survival of the ritual use of smell in religious performances. scented theatre programs and perfume fountains were only two of the nineteenth-century olfactory devices in Western theatres (Haill 1987), but during most of the twentieth century, the “fourth wall conventions  of realism generally divided the spectator from the mainstream stage and permitted only sight and sound to cross its divide.

Sally Banes: Olfactory performances; The senses in performance, edited by Sally Banes and Andre Lepecki, Routledge 2007 New York and London


Some solitary experiments of conceptual integration of fragrances, textures and touch into theatre shows in the previous century can be traced to Scheckner, Marinetti and Grotowski, however these were individual experiments, overridden by realism, which was predominant in theatre at the time. Sensorial theatre along with consistent use of all the senses was introduced in Europe by Enrique Vargas, a Columbian director, with whom I collaborated as a performer for eight years while I worked in the Spanish theatre, in more than 300 replays of several shows. I established Senzorium in order to continue developing sensorial poetics and enabling research and development of multy-sensory art in Slovenia.

Sensorial theatre actively involves the audience into the performance and uses language only when it is more important than silence. In Gibran’s The Prophet the words are the main storytelling instrument. Every sentence in the book is thoroughly thought out and every word is carefully selected. Poetry is very close to sensorial language with its refined meaning, especially when the words are rare and carefully selected. The sensorial approach, stemming from elements of the Eleusinian mysteries (ancient forms of multi-sensory interactive events), uses fragrances as the essential storytelling tools. Sensorial approaches enable a multifaceted and a multi-dimensional experience, which – at least I hope so – brings fragments of that heritage and a pinch of the magic potion.

Gibran is a poet, whose thought rose above all religions and beliefs, he got in touch with wisdom that floats in our collective unconscious, which is according to C. G. Jung a part of a process called individuation. He introduces one thought in several ways, from different perspectives, using different metaphors. This thought can thus enter through the perception filter of a larger group of people with different experiences, as we can only see and hear those things that are part of our cognitive maps. We’re able to recognize, understand and notice only those things that we have experienced in life. Our attention is selective and stunted by perception filters. That is why some sentences slip past us as if they have never been uttered. Words that are familiar to us are also efficient, as they immediately invoke images, thoughts, memories – because the word resounds with the experience.

For the performance I chose those texts that immediately managed to address me persuasively as an artist by invoking images. I try to rely on the archetypal language rather than on the intellectual or performative approach, which is more ubiquitous nowadays.  Gibran’s text is in fact a type of a Bible as it carries deep meanings, reflected in different forms. We use the language of symbols and archetypes because it addresses our subconscious, which is the key to sentience and consequently their better understanding.

I wish that we could experience Gibran’s words on a sensory level. The fragrances in the show open the way to the invisible dimension of the story. In some parts they are replenishing it, while in other they introduce a counterpoint of the plot by revealing new dimensions of the reality. We have to take time for fragrances, we have to indulge in them. The sense of smell has a direct access to our limbic system, so it has a stronger impact on our emotions than hearing and other senses. However, sound also affects our emotions, our bodies and our memories, so for this project I invited musicians, who resuscitate the tradition of the spiritual cultural heritage.

Gibran’s wisdoms are like prayers, striving for the higher purpose of existence and perception of life. In the past this role in communities was carried out by priests and shamans. Because religion does not have a strong role in the West anymore, new spiritual practices have been flourishing. However, these practices have been mushrooming in the last years, so it is quite difficult for the unexperienced eye to find real authenticity and quality among them. This is why art is in my opinion the best or – at least for me – the most familiar way to deliver higher knowledge.

Gibran’s The Prophet is the Bible for the present time. Since my Bible is the art, I asked him to come among us and speak out from the stage with all the senses. To stay as close as possible to the common tradition, in the language of images, archetypes, fragrances, textures and sounds, so we can rise above all religions, cultures and spiritual practices and unite in the simple meaning of being/essence.


English translation Miso Micic

***The author’s name and last name is spelled like the version used by the translator Lojze Bratina

***We used a photograph of Daniel Dancer in the performance (Willamette National Forest, Oregon) as well as the following videos:  Direct views of the sea and calm waves. Yaroslove_photo_VIDEO (ID: 26354324). Shutterstock.web. September 2018;Top View of the Giant Waves, Foaming and Splashing in the Ocean, Sunny Day, Slow Motion Video, Indonesia, Bali (ID: 27008998). Shutterstock.web. September 2018; An underwater scene with sunrays shining through the water’s glittering and moving surface (Looping). By Shutterstock.web. September 2018; Low flying aerial shot in the Sierra National Forest in California, just above and through the treetops. By Devin Kumar Shutterstock.web. September 2018.

Stage adaptation of The Prophet was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, City Municipality of Kranj and City Municipality of Ljubljana, Department of Culture.