Slovak dramaturge and poet. A graduate in 1962 of the Department of Puppetry (Katedra loutkářství) of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Divadelní akademie múzických umění, known as DAMU, Jozef Mokoš worked from 1962 to 1981 at the Krajské bábkové divadlo (KBD, County Puppet Theatre) in Banská Bystrica. Before his career as a professor in the Department of Puppetry of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, Vysoká škola múzických umení (established in 1990), he worked as dramaturge, artistic director and translator in different puppet and drama theatres in Slovakia.
With his arrival at the KBD, Jozef Mokoš threw himself into intense creative activity. Having started his artistic career as a puppeteer, he became the company’s playwright (1969-1981) and artistic director (1973-1981), putting his stamp on the theatre’s aesthetic. He freed the repertoire from the narrow limits to which it had been confined (naively didactic pieces mechanically adapted from fairy tales). As an exacting dramaturge, he chose high quality plays. His poetic talent, his ample imagination, and his creativity brought new life to the texts: Diablov most (The Devil’s Bridge), Zvonček a Bambuľka (The Bell and Bambulka, a poetic modern collage). His research brought a new poetic dimension to the puppet theatre. If he couldn’t convey the philosophical impact of a text, he wouldn’t hesitate to find other means of expression, seeking the role that the puppet could play in the metaphorical theatre he envisioned.
Jozef Mokoš created, under the direction of Pavol Uher, a series using black theatre technique, as in the three plays featuring Botafogo as hero: Botafogo, Botafogo v čižmách (Botafogo in Boots), and Botafogovo bohatstvo (Botafogo’s Fortune). The works employed visual puns, silence, and plays within plays, with the progressive nesting pushed to extremes. Mokoš’s poetic sense was manifest in his stage version of the poems of Milan Rúfus, inspired by Slovak folk tales. Thanks to his close collaboration with famous Slovak and Czech directors and designers, he brought to life a theatre of synthesis and metaphor. He was one of the initiators of the famous international triple co-operation with the theatre Divadlo DRAK of the Czech Republic, Puppet Theatre “Marcinek” of Poznań, Poland, currently Teatr Animacji w Poznaniu (Poznan Theatre of Animation), and the Slovak KBD – Krajské bábkové divadlo in Banská Bystrica – on common staging (Jánošík, 1975).
Jozef Mokoš left the KBD in 1981 after staging a final show, Múzeum (Museum), a collage recapitulating past pieces performed at the theatre. He worked in all the great Slovak puppet theatres, including the one in Bratislava, where he was the artistic director from 1987 to 2003. Since 1990, he has taught in the Department of Puppetry of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava.
- Krajské bábkové divadlo Banská Bystrica 1960-1975 [County Puppet Theatre Banská Bystrica 1960-1975]. Banská Bystrica: KBD Editions, 1975.
- Krajské bábkové divadlo Banská Bystrica 1960-1985 [County Puppet Theatre Banská Bystrica 1960-1985]. Banská Bystrica: KBD, Editions 1985.
- Mokoš, Jozef. “Všímajme si meno podstatné” [Attention to the Essential]. Film a divadlo [Cinema and Theatre]. No. 24. Bratislava, 1977.