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Barbara Zemljič

Black Cumin Seed Oil

Family relationships, together with our genes, are the basic building blocks of human character. In the story
on these relationships, we meet the student Borut and his mother, an enterprising and hardworking Monika, a single mother who swears by the almighty healing power of black cumin seeds.

Black Cumin Seed Oil, 2021


World premiere

Performance length is 1 hour and 30 minutes and has no pause.



Barbara Zemljič


Ira Ratej

Set designer

Urša Vidic

Costume designer

Tina Bonča


Miha Petric

Language consultant

Maja Cerar

Lighting designer

Andrej Koležnik

Sound designer

Matija Zajc

Not even the back cumin seed oil, a universal panacea, can ease one’s pain.

We enter their lives one evening in 2001, when Monika invites her future daughter-in-law Viktorija to celebrate her engagement to Viktor, Viktorija's brother. Borut, who despises his mother's promiscuous behaviour as she, in his opinion, changes partners too often, decides to move in with his grandmother ...

Ten years later, Borut, Viktorija and Monika meet again at a memorial service for the deceased Viktor who took his own life because of his debts. Valentina, who once again finds herself in the middle of the battlefield between her embittered son and his domineering mother, now shows her weariness and anxieties about raising a son with special needs.

Ten years pass again. These days, Monika and Viktorija are no longer friends. Is it time now they forgive each other, as Borut has forgiven his mother? But, has he really?

The meaning of happiness, one’s purpose and empathy also depend on which generation one belongs to, what kind of upbringing we have received and what kind of society we live in.

Families are always the intersection of different generations, and therefore the views of the past clash within them, as well as the
demands of the present and the expectations of the future. All these wounds that we inflict upon ourselves in the course of our living together turn into scars of resentment that mark us forever. Not even the back cumin seed oil, a universal panacea, can ease one’s pain.


Barbara Zemljič is a well-established film and theatre director and will direct on the Small Stage her new play about the worlds of three generations, unable to find harmony, or at least empathy.