The issue opens with the second instalment of an annotated extract from Alan Kirby’s work “Digimodernism” entitled this time by Miroslav Petříček as “The Dictionary as a Laboratory”. In the section “Changes… Through Fire” it is complemented by Rulanda’s essay “The Golden Chapel to the Chinese”, a translation of an as yet unpublished fragment of a Franz Kafka short story, and Blanka Křivánková’s review of Ivo van Hove’s Broadway production of Miller’s Crucible (“How /Not/ to Tame Wolves”). In the festival section “The Self-Accusation… of Naked Forms” Zuzana Augustová writes about Viennese productions by the director Dušan D. Pařízek – Peter Handke’s Self-Accusation and Bernhard’s Old Masters (“Self-Accusation and Old Masters in Olomouc”), Adéla Vondráková reviews the productions Duck, Death and the Tulip by Lutkovno gledališče from Ljubljana and The Stories of Little Lupitina G. by the Loutky bez hranic (Puppets beyond Borders) ensemble, both of which were introduced at this year’s Skupa’s Pilsen puppet festival (“Let’s Talk about Death”), and S.d.Ch. reports on the second year of the Festival of Naked Forms (“The Non-Frenzied Reporter”). In the section “Lists of… Resurrection” Michal Zahálka writes about “the hushed opera” The Lists of Infinity by Jiří Adámek and Martin Smolka, staged at the Alfred ve dvoře Theatre under Adámek’s direction by Boca Loca Lab ensemble (“Opera as the Infinity Space” – q. v.), Josef Rubeš considers adaptations of Goncharov’s novel Oblomov, directed by Hana Burešová at the Divadlo v Dlouhé (Theatre in Dlouhá Street) and by Jan Frič at the Divadlo Na Zábradlí (Theatre on the Balustrade) (“Oblomov: Operetta or Rock”), and Pavlína Hořejšová reviews the production of Resurrection directed by Michal Vajdička at the Dejvické divadlo (q. v.). In the section “Hellish… Circus” Veronika Štefanová writes about the Montreal Festival Montréal complètement cirque (“Montreal Circus Potpourri”), Šárka Mattová looks back at two productions (Life is a Rehearsal and Finale) introduced in the Jatka78 space at the beginning of the summer holidays (“Summer Jatka”), Karel Král reflects Limbo and five other productions introduced at this year’s Letní Letná Festival (“Behind the Mirror”), and Dana Silbiger Sliuková reviews the latest production by James Thierrée and his ensemble Compagnie du Hanneton entitled The Toad Knew (“The Magic of Dreams…”). The Slovak section “SK… Alternative” opens with Vladimír Mikulka’s essay about the Kiosk festival of alternative and independent theatre and dance which took place in the cultural centre Stanica Žilina-Zárečie (“A Bit of a Different Railway Station”), followed by an interview with Marek Adamov, the leader and co-founder of the Stanica Žilina-Zárečie centre (“We Worked Our Fingers to the Bone Here”). Matúš Porubjak writes about the immersive production Breakdown prepared in Bratislava by Petra Tejnorová (“Stalkville in Bratislava”), and an interview with the actress, dancer, choreographer and author Sláva Daubnerová entitled “Performer… and an Ordinary Woman” foreshadows the first play of this issue, the text guide to her production Solo lamentoso. The direct follow-up to the play is the “Comedy Mix” communicating the play Extracts and Substitutes by the SkRAT Theatre and an interview with its authors Ľubo Burgr, Inge Hrubaničová, Milan Chalmovský and Vlado Zboroň (“On Dildo and Other Alternatives”). The fifth instalment of the comic strip cycle “Theatre Sadism Lessons” by S.d.Ch. is entitled Mangolian Baiti.
The Lists of Infinity
The composer Martin Smolka and librettist Jiří Adámek wrote their “spoken opera” primarily on a commission by the Ostravian festival Ostrava Days (Dny nové opery), where it was also premiered with a full orchestra in June 2014 under Adámek’s direction in the big Antonín Dvořák Theatre. Almost exactly two years later the authors re-worked it for the chamber space of the Alfréd ve dvoře Theatre in Prague. The orchestra was substituted by a string quartet supplemented with a piano, and the choir vanished completely. The set design, too, created like two years ago by Adámek’s usual set designer Ivana Kanhäuserová, is more restrained and combines fluid black costumes with elaborate lighting design. In the seventy-minute production the quartet of actors, who all are brilliant in their voice work (they are part of Adámek’s ensemble Boca Loca Lab), and the vocalist-counter-tenor Jan Mikušek interpret a highly abstract text consisting of several varying approaches to lists, from a list of letters of the Greek alphabet, countries, miscellaneous common abbreviations or mnemonic tools of Morse code to quotations and extracts from famous literary works using listings in a wider sense, for example Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino or The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges. As with the changing of sources and starting points of the libretto, the musical and expressional tuning of the whole also undergo several sudden changes. However, at the same time the Prague incarnation is an exceptionally cohesive, technically utterly precise production that explores the possibilities of theatrical abstraction.
In her essay “About God for the Third Time” Pavlína Hořejšová looks at the new production by the Dejvické divadlo, entitled Resurrection. The author is listed as Daniel Doubt which is the next of the pen-names indicating a collective work of the ensemble. It is the third local direction by Michal Vajdička (and his first in the role of art director): all are united in the motif of God. The ultimate principle recalls the emotional misses of characters from The Seagull: the key love triangle is created here by a novelist Andrew, an editor Annie and a director of a publishing house Ben. Andrew loves Annie, Annie loves Ben and Ben burns only with love of literature. The characters find a solution when Annie offers the writer the opportunity to write his new novel on her body: he thus regains his passion for writing and the reward for Annie and Ben consists in transcribing a new text although they find different reasons for their respective pleasures. The relationships of other characters are similarly substitutional. The final twists are so striking that evidence of God’s existence appears in them as in a miracle. Since there is a wide range of characters they are all, with only one exception, ironically simplified into character types. The exception is the novelist Andrew, the only character who can react in an unexpected way. Thus his performer Ivan Trojan also becomes the lonely leader of the ensemble.