The Robber’s Story


Dear children, we have prepared a new puppet play for you! It’s called “The Robber’s Story”, and it is created on the basis of a fairy tale written by the great Czech writer Karel Čapek. Don’t let the title scare you; his fairy tales are incredibly funny and it’s a pleasure to read, watch or listen to such texts. Surely, the works of this writer develop the fantasy and creative spirit in humans.
Fairy tales of Karel Čapek seem to stem from real life but, thanks to the author’s genius, they get a completely different meaning and surprise us with incredible fantasy and humor. The author himself writes: “Children, if someone tells you that fairy tales are empty nonsense, do not trust him! Everything in fairy tales, from the beginning to the end, is the naked truth!”
“The Robber’s Story” is a very funny and interesting fairy tale in which real-life events have been brought to an absurdity. How does one become a kind robber? This is the main problem of the story. This absurdity is the basis for a lot of hilarious situations. We laugh at the naive adventures of the young Vagabond who wishes to become a kind bandit, but his desire is not so impossible in the modern world.
The author shows us that besides ordinary robbers, today there exists an entirely new type of bandits – clerks who rob us with a kind smile on their face every day, and we consider it to be fair and normal. That Čapek’s humor from the beginning of the last century is still current, especially in those countries where bureaucracy and corruption are spreading freely.
The problem of the story seems to be not completely childlike, but the fairy tale plot, dynamic action and very colorful characters are elements that entertain children. We added additional meaning and subtext to adult visitors, who can also enjoy our performance.

Slavčo Malenov, Director


Director: Slavčo Malenov
Dramatic Adaptation: Evelina Kjosovska
Language Adaptation: Nedžad Maksumić
Scenography, Puppets and Costumes: Silva Bačvarova and Vasil Rokomanov
Music: Malen Malenov
Puppet Construction: Snežana Grkova, Valja Germanova, Marijan Sejkov, Ganka Kirilova
Decoration Construction: Rumen Benkovski.


Sergio Radoš – The Old Vagabond, The Textile Merchant, The Coachman
Nermina Denjo – The Little Vagabond, The Young Vagabond
Nedžad Maksumić – Father Dominic, The Baker, The King
Diana Ondelj Maksumić – The Princess, The Baker


Slavcho Malenov, a Bulgarian puppet director, left an indelible mark in the development of puppet art in Mostar in the post-war period. For several years now, he comes to this city almost regularly and sometimes brings a whole team of his associates. This influence is manifested in the selection of the repertoire: he has, just like a surgeon, healed the heavy war wounds in this theater thanks to the fact that he is widely conversant of the literature for this theatrical type, as well as a university professor in his own country, and a director whose scope ranges from Japan to Mexico.
The atmosphere of warmth that Malenov shaped during his work, and the love for this art that developed in every member of the ensemble, as well as the emphasized intelligence necessary for this type of expression, contributed to the following: the acting profile was crystallized, and the formulation of the stage story was perfected . Even today, when their performance is viewed, the postulation of voice is brought to full harmony with the movement, gesture, and intonation valeurs.
There is another characteristic related to the director’s work of Slavčo Malenov: he is a director who believes that a good performance can be built on good literature. Now, he decided to bring on the stage the the fairy tale „The Robber’s Story“ written by Karel Čapek. Čapek focused on the question of evil in man and the Lombroso’s idea of ​​a “born criminal”. He transformed the problem into a question: What is more permanent in a human being: good or evil, or, are humans born with preference for evil?
The intrigue is based on an exclusive twist: the robber demands from a religious man to accept to educate his son! A religious man, burdened with the established opinion that a robber can only give birth to a robber, tries to get rid of this obligation, but since the robber sets an ultimatum, he accepts the boy and begins to shape him in accordance to his principles. When the old robber dies, his son returns to the original milieu. His upbringing is put on a difficult temptation: when hungry, there is nothing left for him to do except to apply his father’s means to secure his existence, i.e. to go out, wait for peaceful people and rob them, and, if necessary, kill them. But, at the moment when the crime is about to be committed, the hero actually offers to the „attacked person“ the only thing he had left in his possession. And, of course, salvation comes as well as the prize – the young hero returns to civilization and becomes her integral member. The primitive form of evil, embodied in banditry, is in the new life conditions transformed into robber authorities who rob men “with a kind smile on their face, and we consider it to be fair and normal”.
Through this overview of the play “The Robber’s Story”, we learned a series of facts that occupied us for this performance. Young theater lovers realized that a man is not born with evil within himself, but also that evil can not be exterminated from human history. We saw four mature actors in the realization of as many as ten characters, while each character was provided in their stage fullness. We have seen a mature artwork that teaches through providing a playful imaginative reception among young spectators, but without infantilization and without imposing didactics.

Vojislav Vujanović

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October 11, 2005