SAD 2/2018

The issue opens with the next instalment of Miroslav Petříček’s “fashion series”, this time entitled “The Tailor Re-tailored”, which is a translation of a more than hundred-year-old novel by Thomas Carlyle “Sartor Resartus”, an excerpt from which is also published. It is followed by “Writing”, Karel Haloun’s second instalment of his course of “messages from streets, squares, carriages, underpasses and toilets”, and two linked essays dedicated to research by John Rowlinson and Ian Shaw on the general ability to perceive “a message” (Abra: “How to Shovel Shit with the Tide”, and Wernicke: “Politicians’ Good and Evil Intentions”). The section “Not a Bit… D’epog” (all q. v.) offers a review of two recent productions by the Brno company D’epog (Etlíková: “Decayed Blossoms of Ancestors”) and an interview with a leading member of the ensemble Lucia Repašská (“Work to Your Utmost Peak and Then Pop Off”). In the section “From Aréna… All the Way to the National Chapel”, Markéra Polochová writes (“Three Times in Ostrava”) about productions by the Komorní scéna Aréna (Aréna Chamber Theatre) – Yasmina Reza’s Art (directed by Vojtěch Štěpánek), Václav Havel’s Memorandum (directed by V. Štěpánek), and Tomáš Vůjtek’s Reconciliation (directed by Ivan Krejčí); Pavlína Hořejšová (“Two Experiments from Dejvice”) reviews two productions by the Dejvické divadlo – Honey (directed by Miroslav Krobot, produced in collaboration with the Cirk La Putyka) and The Murder of Gonzago (directed by Jiří Havelka), and Josef Rubeš writes in his essay “Marysha – the Order Remains the Same” about productions of this classic Czech play in the Prague National Theatre (directed by Jan Mikulášek), the Petr Bezruč Theatre in Ostrava (directed by Janka Ryšánek Schmiedtová), and a “site-specific” production in the coffeehouse Ňáký Kafe (directed by Štěpán Gajdoš). The section “The Error as… Circus Art” features reviews of productions of The Error by director Vít Neznal (Strejčková: “The Error as a Starting Point”) and The Artist by Thomas Mockton (Veselovská: “The Picture of Picture’s Picture”). The section “A Matter of… Morality” merges opera with drama: firstly, Jozef Červenka (“Brittenian Gesamtkunstwerk”) writes about Benjamin Britten’s opera Billy Budd directed at the Prague National Theatre by their head of the drama company, Daniel Špinar, and Jakub Škorpil (“Woman for Woman”) follows with his review of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, directed at the Divadlo pod Palmovkou by the prominent Polish director Jan Klata, an interview with whom entitled “The Art is Compulsory Like Vaccination” is also included. The section “Theatre… and Other Politics” is dedicated to European festivals. Karel Král’s essay “Arrogance and Degradation” looks at the 16th European Theatre Awards and productions Ashes to Ashes by Harold Pinter, presented by Isabelle Huppert and Jeremy Irons, Shakespeare’s King Lear (directed by Giorgio Barberio Corsetti, Teatro di Roma and Teatro Biondo) and Richard II (directed by Peter Stein, Teatro Metastasio), UNTITLED_I will be there when you die by Alessandro Sciarroni, NO43 Filth (directed by Ene-liis Semper and Tiit Ojasoo, Teater NO99), Roma Army (directed by Yael Ronen, Gorki Berlin), The Virgin Suicides (directed by Susanne Kennedy, Münchner Kammerspiele) and Hamletmachine (directed by Robert Wilson, Accademie Nazionale d’Arte Drammatica). Dominika Široká (“After the End of History”) then writes about two productions from the festival Lessingtage 2018 – 1993 by Aurélien Beranger (directed by Julien Gosselin,  Théâtre National de Strasbourg) and Clean City by Anestis Azas and Prodromos Tsinikoris (Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens). The closing section “Before it will be… set on fire here” foreshadows the play of the issue, which is The War Hasn’t Started Yet by the Russian author Mikhail Durnenkov in Tereza Krčálová’s translation and it also contains a review of the production D1W1 merging Durnenkov’s text with a play A Girl with the Pope by Michał Walczak from Poland, staged by Spolek Kašpar under the direction of Šimon Dominik (Pavelková: “Once Walczak, Once Durnenkov”), and an interview with the author entitled “Culture is not Vinegar Preserving a Tradition”. The issue closes with the next instalment of the comic strip Titanium Stalks by Egon Tobiáš and Petr Vydra’s short story entitled The Voice.

Not a Bit… D’epog The essay Decayed Blossoms of Ancestors analyses two recent productions by the Brno company D’epog led by the director Lucia Repašská who talks about her drama company and more generally about her approach to theatre work in an interview entitled Work to Your Utmost and Then Pop Off.
In the first half of her article, Barbora Etlíková considers the way Repašská and D’epog in their production Saldo Mortale treat a classic artwork (specifically The Cherry Orchard) taking from it only few situations and a general mood of powerless stillness and decline. It results in a deliberately chaotic form which turns in on itself, encouraging the audience to invent their own implications and interpretations, but the self-centredness of which could be discouraging. On the other hand, in the monodrama Sakurambo she appreciates that the authors were able to satisfy the audience and at the same time preserve their original poetics. She also praises the original, elaborate and significant spatial arrangement where the audience watches events from above.
A comparison of perspectives from within and without is offered in the interview where Repašská talks among other things about the way the two productions were created and about what the company was aiming to do. However, the interview is primarily focused on her general, and for Czech conditions unusually radical, approach to theatre. Repašská graduated from Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts  in Brno (JAMU) but she also spent a long time in Denmark at Barba’s Odin Teatret; together with fellow students she founded the company D’epog in 2009 and later became its exclusive director. D’epog performs productions in non-theatrical spaces and they often oscillate on the edge of theatre in the narrower sense of the word. Premières are preceded by extended and intensive practice and training and Repašská also describes all this in the interview.
The constituent elements of D’epog’s work include anthropological and biomedical research and the company sees itself as a theatre-laboratory. At the same time Repašská points out that she has only a minimal interest in contemporary theatre and she sees her productions primarily as constructions of para-reality. She finds her inspiration rather in the realms of audio-visual media, graphic design, experimental films or the fashion industry.