An epistolary play in rap rhythm composed by the playwright and director Jozef Dodo Gombár (1973), Euroroom tells the story of Štefan, a Rom orphan who has grown up in a children’s home and a borstal. Štefan has been through a lot by the time he turns 33: he has stolen money from a childless couple, the Zvariks, who used to invite him home for Christmas, has knifed Marienka, a borstal worker who loved him like her own son, he has got into fights and has been a sloppy worker, has squandered his musical talent, taken drugs and ended up as a rent boy, bouncer and mafia blackmailer in Prague.
Eventually the lame streetwalker Tereza helps him to bounce off the bottom of a precipice and start again. Now the couple are expecting a baby in Scotland where he works in a factory, coaching young boxers in his free time and she is a hospital nurse. But it was also love and humility, which Father Moravec had patiently inculcated in him, that helped save him from an overdose.
Years later Štefan returns to Slovakia to seek out those who loved him and whom he had hurt, to ask their forgiveness. However, the Zvaríks have died, Marienka doesn’t feel strong enough to face him and he can’t pluck up the courage to climb up to the first floor of the old people’s home where his spiritual father, Father Moravec, is living out his last days. He sends Father Moravec a letter from Scotland instead, but the letter comes back undelivered, addressee unknown. Euroroom (the title being a pun on the words Rom and room) concludes with a rap crescendo in which the monologue is followed by an ostensibly incoherent mix of utterances by all the characters, dramatically recapping and highlighting the play’s main plot. Euroroom is a modern, powerfully narrated text about love, guilt, forgiveness and knowledge that often comes late in life.
Jozef Dodo Gombár
A graduate in theatre direction from the Department Drama and Puppetry of the Academy of Performing Arts in Slovakia, while still a student he spent a year on scholarship at the Circle in The Square Theater School on New York’s Broadway. He has directed a large number of extraordinary productions on Czech and Slovak stages and elsewhere in Europe (Italy, Hungary), which have won awards at festivals in Slovakia and abroad. From 2006 to 2009 he was the artistic director of the Zlín City Theatre, where he continues to produce plays, most notably Three Sisters, Dr. Faustus, The Master and Margarita, Merlin or the Waste Land, Armageddon on the Grb Hill, The Žítková Goddesses. Since 2010 he has been the artistic director of the Švanda Theatre in Prague, staging acclaimed and controversial productions and directing his own plays. In 2011 he wrote and directed his first feature film Smíchov Cries, Brooklyn Sleeps. In 1999 his play Hugo Karas placed second in the Alfréd Radok Prize for the best Czech and Slovak play, and his plays The Third Age (2003) and Godless House (2008) were subsequently shortlisted for the award. He has written several stage adaptations, which he also directed. A collection of his plays has recently been published by the Slovak Theatre Institute.