SAD 4/2016

The issue opens with another part of “End of Post-modernism” series by Miroslav Petříček in an essay entitled “Cultural Engineering”, accompanied by an excerpt from a work “Digimodernism” by Alan Kirby. “Contemplation by Thoughtful Amateur in a Mirror of Letters” follows, together with G.L. Lagrange’s note “V.U.P. and V.I.P.”. The introductory section “The Technologies of… Trolling” is then concluded by Jakub Škorpil reviewing in his essay “Polish Trolling” two Polish guest productions in Prague: Gałgan by director Ewelina Marciniak (Wrocławski Teatr Współczesny) and a substantial adaptation of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People by Jan Klata (Narodowy Teatr Stary Krakow). The section “Sympathetic… X10” is wholly dedicated to Theatre X10 in residence at the Strašnické divadlo. The section consists of an interview with Lenka Havlíková, director and dramatic adviser of Theatre X10 (“To Be Sympathetic with Strašnice”), and Ester Žantovská’s essay “Political, Specific, in a Strašnice Way” dealing with Theatre X10 in 2015–16 season (Emma Göring’s Enigma; The War; Bury Me Tomorrow Again, My Love; Breakdown; Flairs and Falls of Valerián Karoušek). In the section “Direction à la… Nebeský Skutr” Marie Zdeňková writes about Hedda Gabler directed by Jan Nebeský (“Obsessed Hedda in Dlouhá”), and Karel Král (“Work isn’t ennobling! How about love?”) about three productions by the directing tandem SKUTR – Woyzeck (DJKT Pilsen), Foam of the Days (Klicperovo divadlo Hradec Králové) and The Cunning Little Vixen (Revolving Theatre Český Krumlov). The section “Berlin… and the Humanism Syndrome” brings together essays about the theatre responding to actual political events, particularly to the so-called “immigration crisis”. In her essay “Memory – Identity – Migration… Inspiration?” Radka Kunderová writes about selected productions from the Divadelní svět Brno festival: Vůjtek’s celebrated Hearing, Drawers (Schubladen) by the She She Pop ensemble, and Die Ungehaltenen (The Indignant Ones) from the Gorki Theater Berlin. Barbora Schnelle (“How to Do Contemporary Theatre?”) chooses three productions from this year’s Theatertreffen – Ibsen’s Enemy of the People adapted by Dietmar Dath and directed by Stefan Pucher (Schauspielhaus Zürich), John Gabriel Borkman adapted and directed by Simon Stone (Burgtheater Vienna) and The Situation by Yael Ronen at the Gorki Theater – and she adds on Illegale Helfer (Illegal Helpers) by the playwright Maxi Obexer under the direction of Yvonne Gronnenberg (Hans Otto Theater Potsdam). In her essay “#Refugeeswelcome”, Dominika Široká writes primarily on the Milo Rau’s production of his play Compassion. The History of the Machine Gun (Mitleid. Die Geschichte des Maschinengehehrs  -  Schaubühne am Lehnier Platz) but she also looks at performances by the activist group Das Zentrum für politische Schönheit. The whole is brought to a conclusion by an interview with Milo Rau entitled “It is not a Case of Compassion, but of a Common Fight”. The most comprehensive section entitled “In Vienna… Terror and Hope” returns to this year’s Wiener Festwochen. Martina Ulmanová writes about Bogomolov’s production of An Ideal Husband (“Bogomolov’s Regards to the Kremlin”), Heiner Müller’s Mission (Der Auftrag) directed by Tom Kühnel and Jürgen Kuttner (“Müller Plays Müller”), Castorf’s adaptation of Chevengur by Andrei Platonov (“Castorf’s Madness”), The Apparent Life by Kornél Mundruczó (“Humiliated and Insulted…”), Città del Vaticano directed by Falk Richter (“Falk Richter on a Strange Country of Strange Men”), and about the production Our Violence and Your Violence by Oliver Frljić (“Frljić’s Terror through Bad Taste”). Michaela Mojžišová reviews Mieczysław Weinberg’s opera The Passenger directed by Anselm Weber (“Weber Paralysed by the Holocaust”), Milo Juráni writes about Three Sisters directed by Timofey Kulyabin (“Kulyabin Searching for Happiness in Sign Language”), and Jozef Červenka writes about Beethoven’s Fidelio directed by Achim Freyer (“The Scepticism and Hope of Achim Freyer”). The play of this issue is The Silence of Scouts by the actor and playwright Tomáš Dianiška who also takes part in the interview “I Leave All My Emotions at the Theatre” while his shorter text Googling and Fucking is a part of traditional “Comedy Mix”. A further instalment of the comic strip cycle “Theatre Sadism Lessons” by S.d.Ch. is entitled “Arabic Typesetting”.

Tomáš Dianiška was born in Slovakia but he studied dramatic art at DAMU in Prague. His first engagement was in the Divadlo F.X. Šaldy in Liberec and since the 2014–2015 season he has been acting at the Divadlo pod Palmovkou in Prague. Since, in his own words, “nothing was happening in Liberec and this was fun”, he and some friends founded the Divadlo F.X. Kalby (a pun on Liberec’s official theatre, as “kalba” is a Czech slang term meaning an uninhibited alcoholic party), a theatre of (semi)practical jokes, with Dianiška as its main playwright. The best known text from these times is Googling and Fucking or “A Digital Gameplay for the YouTube Generation”. Through a series of short scenes of biting irony, black humour and also a small dose of sentiment it depicts the world of social media, digitalised experience and emotions and also the generation gap between young people who are at home “googling” and their parents who often try in vain to get into it. Dianiška admires “pointed sitcoms full of lines” and he describes himself as a prankster who likes to “make fun of things which used to be taken seriously”. At the same time he is not afraid to produce considerably incorrect humour when it seems that nothing is “sacred” to him. He often seeks inspiration in genre movies like horror films or sci-fi and his works are full of various pop-cultural references. His play The Silence of Scouts is built upon a truly curious history: in the 1950s the sculptress Marie Uchytilová won a competition to design a new one crown coin. However, the paradox was that her portrayal of a young woman planting a lime tree was based on a photograph of Bedřiška Synková, who had been given a ten-year sentence for illegally running a scout troupe. However, Uchytilová did not mention this to anybody and thus the one crown coin with a portrait of a “state enemy” was in use right to the end of the communist regime. The story serves Dianiška as a rough outline which he loosely changes in his own way (although he did not avoid disputes with eyewitnesses who considered his work as disparaging the memory both of women and the scout movement) and – as he puts it himself in the interview – in the style of animated sitcoms like South Park or The Simpsons. The story of Bedřiška Synková (named Synová in the play) becomes something of a hallucination, a nightmare and at the same time a kind of thrilling “test of Scouting Courage”. Dianiška depicts his characters, including the positive ones, virtually as caricatures, and the representatives of the communist power in particular take on the guise of repulsive monsters, even becoming zombies in the end. In spite of this, the play is not unambiguous and straightforward fun but also maintains a considerable degree of cool detachment.