SAD 6/2016

The issue opens with the final submission on the theme “The Passing of Postmodernism”, this time accompanied by an annotated extract from Josh Toth’s essay “Invoking a Ghost”. In the section “Passing… and Time” it is complemented by an excerpt from Griselda Blackhand’s study “From the Life of Trolls”, Ivan Kmínek’s II. article “Mars Attacks”, a “portrait” review of the Wariot Ideal group’s productions (Žantovská: “Mountaineers, Pirates and Robinsons” – q. v.), and Vladimír Mikulka’s review of Andrew Schneider’s performance Youarenowhere, entitled “To Be Caught in the Trap of Time”. In the section “Demonic… Homeland” Markéta Polochová writes in her essay “The Culture, Art of Dining and Death” about productions of Demons and The Duchess and the Cook at the National Theatre Brno, and we also include a critical survey of the production The Actor and Joiner Majer Talks on the State of His Homeland with the participation of Vladimír Mikulka, Jakub Škorpil, Marie Zdeňková, Josef Chuchma, Radmila Hrdinová, Barbora Etlíková and S.d.Ch. The section “Jatka… Putyky” includes an interview with the director of the cultural space Jatka 78, Štěpán Kubišta (“We Run a Festival in a Run-Down Factory”), and a review of two productions by the local home ensemble Cirk La Putyka from Karel Král (“Roots of Black Black Woods” – q. v.). The section “The World… with the Master” is a “Shakespearean” one and it includes Dana Silbiger Sliuková’s essay (“Bloodstained Heads in Comedies”) about productions of Measure for Measure (Cheek by Jowl and Pushkin Theatre) and Shake (Eat a crocodile) introduced at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, Soňa Šimková’s review of Richard III directed by Thomas Ostermeier (“The Whole World is a Circus”), Jakub Škorpil’s review of Hamlet directed by Krzysztof Garbaczewski (“An Infinite Number of Hamlets”), and an anonymous Shakespearean apocrypha entitled “To Have Trust in the Old Master”. In the section “East of Us… Politics” Tereza Krčálová writes (“At the Crossroads of Freedom and the Lack of It”) about three productions (The Time of Women – Belarus Free Theatre, A Life for the Tsar – Teatro di Capua, and Dreams of Lost Roads – DakhaBrakha) introduced at the Prague Crossroads Festival dedicated to Václav Havel’s legacy, and Marta Kacwin-Duman (“In the Theatre You Have to Shout”) writes about the production Roses by the Dakh Daughters ensemble. The opera section “Ring… of Love” consists of Lenka Šaldová’s essay “Quarrel about a Ring (or How Much and What Kind of Wagner is Bearable for Berlin)”, Dana Silbiger Sliuková’s article “In the Time of Fascism (Norma and Così fan tutte)”, and Jozef Červenka’s “Touristic Opera by Bepi Morassi (Love Philtre at Teatro La Fenice)”. In the section “Dramatists of Horror… and an Evangelist” Martina Schlegelová writes in “Tea and Disaster, Beer and Hangmen” about productions of works by Caryl Churchill, Escaped Alone, and Martin McDonagh, Hangmen. An interview with Milan Uhde entitled “The Evangelist” foreshadows the play of this issue which is Uhde’s Mary’s Choice or a Journey through the Night. The “Comedy Mix” includes The Shakespeare Sketch by Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Laurie and the sixth instalment of the comic strip cycle “Theatre Sadism Lessons” by S.d.Ch. is entitled Franklin Gothic Medium.

Mountaineers, Pirates and Robinsons The last three premières by Wariot Ideal have struggled with the themes of brotherhood, manhood, (theatrical) order and disorder and primarily of surviving in an extreme situation with all the existential resonances of such a situation. The production GundR (2014) concerns the Messner brothers and the guilt the older Reinhold had to deal with after their joint climb to Nanga Parbat in the course of which the younger Günther had died. GundR outlines their shared extreme experience and makes a point about the theme of brotherhood as a great ideal in the style of Karl May’s novels about Winnetou, with the help of a good measure of suggestion created among other things by the very slow tempo and an almost incessant noise at the limits of bearability. The world depicted here has a clearly defined value system and a simple bond between cause and effect.
The Pirate and the Apothecary (2015) is based on motifs of a ballad by R. L. Stevenson and lies somewhere on an imaginary border between a production for children and one for adults. The subject of two wicked brothers provides the creators with a springboard for associative ideas, peculiarities, playing with theatrical genres and clichés and insanities and mischiefs of all kind. We can perceive The Pirate and the Apothecary as a celebration of all that is not confined or in a rut; as an anarchist element which, however, directs its irony at itself.
In the framework of this year’s 4 + 4 Days in Motion international festival, Wariot Ideal introduced a work entitled 28 Days. A man, shambling around a room mostly at an almost unbearably slow tempo, fills his time with actions without any general fulfilment or meaning apart from the simple effort to survive. He is partly Beckett’s Krapp who lost his ability of expression, partly Robinson imprisoned perhaps only in a trap in his own head. In the spirit of Robinson’s experience his ability to attain freedom is only the start of the journey.

Cirk La Putyka: Roots and Black Black Woods In his essay “Roots of Black Black Woods” Karel Král deals with the second and the third parts of the family trilogy by the Cirk La Putyka ensemble. Roots, introduced by La Putyka at the Berliner Chamäleon Theater, is dedicated in part to history and to the history of a family line in a vivid portrayal of old puppets. Puppeteers and acrobats used to be seen as “vermin”, too, as the rascally expressions of the actors suggest. Largely acrobatic numbers create a history from the far-gone past up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then the present marches in and its theme is emptiness (a puppet emerges with a mirror instead of a face) and death. However, the feeling of an enjoyable evening with a number of entertaining and exciting acts prevails. The production, during which we can sit at tables, eat and drink, could be assigned without any misgivings to the genre of dinner cabaret, but a spectator going to see a production entitled Black Black Woods expecting a circus may be disappointed as there is not a single somersault. However, visitors are recommended not only to attend the performance itself but also to take advantage of the theatre’s offer and come a few hours earlier. Although this may seem to be a waste of time, it offers an experience of how time flits away and of the effort to fill it. It resembles an artistic installation, the meaning of which a spectator discovers only through introspection. For a long stretch of time the spectator watches Rostislav Novák Jr slowly building a large playing area from wooden panels, then for another long period he writes the sentence “I will do better” around it in fine calligraphy, and then his father of the same name covers the whole surface with orange paint. By this time the performance is already running and the son takes large, neatly lined up cubes of soil from a palette and hammers them with maximum force against wooden panels on the stage. A gigantic, shapeless chunk emerges and – by banging with a big ball – he shapes a kind of throne for the father. It seems that the son had a number of tasks as a punishment but in fact it is a relay race of activity passing down from parents to their children. While the son has enough strength and can perform even gruelling activities with an almost balletic grace, the father brings to mind a weakened, ridiculous clown of lived existence. Their co-existence resembles a battle and in spite of this they are not only alike but very close to each other.