“It seems comical, but I remember my wife´s father, who was a teacher. He used to teach during the Slovak State and coincidently, he taught Slovak language, too. I saw one of the textbooks he owned. Whole pages were crossed out from there, since the book was from times of the Czechoslovak Republic. So during the Slovak State, certain information weren´t appropriate, and the same thing continued to happen during communism as well. For example, in the beginnings, when I attended the elementary school, we had pictures of President Beneš and Masaryk on the walls. All of that had to go away, and of course, neither crucifix could be hanging there. It was exchanged for President Gottwald´s picture. Moreover, we were being taught during the history classes, that Beneš was a man towards who we were supposed to have a negative attitude. I remember being examined on this topic and I said in such relevance: ‘Mr. Doctor Beneš’ and my teacher corrected me: ‘Just say Beneš’. So he was even deprived of the ‘Mr. Doctor’ title (literally saying; ed. note).”
“He (uncle Ernest Šmálik) came to Bratislava and wanted to continue in his medical studies. However, he had way too open democratic thinkig and back then, various inspections were carried out at schools. So he was dismissed from the medicine. He left to Zvolen, where a theatre was just founded, but it didn´t take long and he got arrested, because there was a man, who emigrated and returned, and who began to serve the State Security. He used to visit different people, persuade them to emigrate, and then he would tell on them. Thus all those, including father of Milan Kňažko, were arrested. Some were sentenced to many years of prison. My uncle was lucky. He sat in the remand centre for one and a half year, and then he was released, since he found out that the main investigator was his comate from the German captivity. Luck.”
“The truth is that not always, but quite often before the performance our organizer came, called us somewhere to restrooms, where he told us, we should be aware of such a person present in the audience. This used to happen many times when performing e.g. with Jana Kociánová. It is easy to laugh at now, but to live it through was not amusing at all. You always had a felling someone was standing behind your back and keeping an eye on what you said. And whatever you said, he may have twisted and interpreted in his own way. And that was very frequent, of course. You know, it occurs today as well, but you cannot be harmed anymore.”
“I remember all kinds of different social events of the so-called middle class that lived back then in Bratislava, and not only in Bratislava. Those were mainly people supporting the Democratic Party and obviously, they were happy that the Democratic Party won the elections in 1946. However, not even after two years, the communists took over with a great oppression. At the end of 1947 the Democratic Party had been discredited, etc. So we could say that the Prague events of the February 1948 happened in Slovakia yet few months earlier. I remember listening to the speeches in radio. There was a big meeting in Reduta and Široký gave the speech, who was, I guess, the Chair of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia back then. Simply, the situation began to be quite dramatic, reaching its peak in takeover in 1948. That´s when people from our social class happened to be evicted to the countryside. It was called Action B (B standing for byty in SK = flats in EN; note ed.). The people were evicted partly for being marked as politically unreliable, but also because they often lived in very interesting villas below Slavín, where the winners of the new ‘revolution’ wanted to live as well.”
It is easy to laugh at now, but to live it through was not amusing at all
Milan Lasica was born on February 1940 in Zvolen. His father was a bank clerk and because of his work the family moved to Bratislava shortly after Milan was born. That´s where he spent the majority of his life. After finishing compulsory education, Milan continued to study at the Bratislava Grammar School at Grösslingová Street. As a 17-year old he began his dramaturgy studies at the Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava. Yet during the academic years he performed with Július Satinský in authorial theatre shows characterized by intelligent, absurd humor, based on collages taken from everyday life. Since 1959 Lasica and Satinský performed as a comedy duo in Tatra revue and Divadelné štúdio/Divadlo na korze (Theatre on the Promenade) in Bratislava. In years 1964 - 67 he worked as a dramatic adviser of the Czechoslovak television. During the normalization era (1970) the Theatre on the Promenade was closed and the communist regime banned the artist activity of this famous cabaret duo. From 1970 - 1972 they performed in cabaret theatre Večerní Brno. After returning from Czech to Slovakia, Milan Lasica became a member of the operetta and since 1978 was also part of the Drama ensemble at Nová scéna (New State Theatre) in Bratislava. In 1982 a cabaret theatre Štúdio S was founded and the proscribed duo Lasica and Satinský began performing again. Milan Lasica became the artistic director of today´s Štúdio L+S and has helped to manage it up to present day. He has been married twice, and even after over 37 years he is still happy with his second wife Magda Vášáryová, a famous Slovak actress, politician and diplomat. Together they have two daughters. Milan Lasica is a bearer of numerous significant awards and honors in the field of culture.