Darina Kárová

* 1951

  • „Nobody knew how things would develop in Prague or Bratislava, nobody could know that. [All that] was in the beginning... So, we were coming with the need for a declaration. Night debates began after play or rehearsal; everyone was present. Fear, concerns, disagreement, judgment, agreement, courage. It was mixed in different people, some of them had contradictory opinions. It is important to mention one thing, none of us possessed a passport- all our documents and our flight tickets were held by the representatives. We were unfree people in a country, which was the bastion of communism, and the whole system of monitoring, phone-tapping, persecutions and repressions, so it was all very difficult. In addition, everyone was scared, what will happen at home, so the stressful situation that we are here, and they are at home, what will happen there, and we are about to do something here. And what if they won’t let us go home, they don’t have to give us back our passports, they can imprison us, Siberia is close... It must all seem very silly now, but those were all serious existential concerns. Nevertheless, we wrote a declaration, we read it there, I think it was November 21 already. Everything went so fast, we were reading the declaration before we played in Mala Bronna.

  • „At that point, it was still the space of Theatre of Andrej Bagar, downstairs in the club, where there was also a kitchenette. We had a TV there, it was close to the reception desk, so there was easy access. We were meeting with everyone there. Citizens visited us there and we answered their questions, they brought information to us. Somebody told us they were burning the documents of Stb in Katrusa, that the documents were being loaded onto trucks and carried there. Just to make clear, it was not just a few pages... they were prepared. The strike took place on November 27, then the coordination committee and VPN were founded. I have to mention one important thing, that we published the first newspaper in Slovakia called Nitrianska verejnost.

  • “Part of the theatre group came earlier on the 23rd (November), they were reading the declaration before we played, we (the other party) arrived at night, but on the 24th, the meeting would take place in the morning. We dismissed all representatives of the theatre, everyone was there: technicians, workrooms, janitors, office workers, everyone was there. There, we took charge of the theatre, you can call it a coup if you want. Already on November 24, we were organising a meeting outside, and it was not only our theatre but also other theatres, the puppet theatre, which returned from a tour abroad. Those who stayed at home were waiting for us, we were joined by conservationists and visual artists and we organised that meeting together. Before that, there were never such meetings...“

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    Bratislava, 12.09.2019

    duration: 02:51:23
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
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In 1989, I wanted to redress for something- theatre dramaturg recalls her journey towards activism

Darina Kárová was born on July 31, 1951, in Skalica as a daughter of Slovak painter Olga Bartošíková and Czech academic Ľubor Kára. She spent the first six years of her life in Prague and later moved to Bratislava with her parents and younger sister Elena. Her father was the editor-in-chief of the periodical Art Life and initially a convinced communist. But due to publishing progressive artist in the periodical, he was expelled from the party in 1974. Despite her bad cadre profile, Darina Kárová became a year after that dramaturg of the Nitra Theatre (since 1979 Andrej Bagar Theatre). Her most prominent professional collaboration was with director Jozef Bednárik. They also attempted to smuggle political connotations into the staged plays and this trick the normalisation regime. In 1977, she and other members of the theatre company were forced to sign Anticharta, which she perceived as a very humiliating experience. At the events of November 1989, which caught the theatre ensemble in Moscow, she felt the need to atone for something, either personally or from the perspective of her family’s history. Already in Moscow, theatres wrote a statement condemning the attack on the student rally at Prague’s Národní třída. After returning to Slovakia, they dismissed the theatre’s representatives and established a coordination and strike committee (the chair was Darina Kárová), who cooperated with the civic platform Public Against Violence. They also organized meetings and discussions, distributed leaflets informing the public about the revolutionary events that led to the fall of the socialist regime in Czechoslovakia.