The first issue of the year publishes the complete results of the traditional critical survey that forms the basis of the Theatre Critics’ Awards (q. v.). Miroslav Petříček’s essay “Freedom in Oppression” starts a new series on the theme of “freedom” and the first instalment is accompanied by an extract from “An Essay on Free Necessity” by Henri Altan. Loosely connected to this theme is another of this year’s series by Karel Haloun, this time dealing with “The Political Poster in this Country from the End of WWII to the Present”. In the section “Wariot Bufet… In the Depths and Darkness”, Ester Žantovská writes (“A Post-industrial Wariot Ideal”) about the productions Alcohol and The Depths by Wariot Ideal Theatre. Vladimír Mikulka (“Dark Wanderings of Jan Kačena”) writes about three productions by Jan Kačena: Platonov’s Chevengur at HaDivadlo, Miriam on Jakub Deml’s motifs at the A Studio Rubín, and The House That Jacek Built on Daisy Mrázková’s motifs at the Theatre Bufet. Karolina Plicková opens the section “Performances… Trifling and Murderous” with her review of Tim Spooner’s performance Telescope (“Magnetic Dances in Nanometres”) and in his essay “Let’s Bring the Sparkle Back to the Art” Petr Boháč continues with his review of Julian Hetzel’s performance Automated Sniper. The section “Hansel and Gretel… with Czech Heroes” consists of essays on productions around significant moments of Czech history, also on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary celebrations of the founding of the republic. Tereza Pavelková (“The Bartered One and Zbyhoň, or About the Czechs”) writes about productions of The Bartered Bride on Stages of the Provisional, the Estates, and the National Theatres between 1868 and 2018 (directed by Petr Erbes and Boris Jedinák, KALD DAMU), and Zbyhoň! (directed by Jan Frič, National Theatre). Jakub Škorpil (“What about a Hero?”) reviews the productions Opletal (directed by Michal Hába, Divadlo na cucky Olomouc) and Colonel Švec (directed by Jiří Havelka, National Theatre). Petra Zachatá (“Shall We Learn a Lesson One Day?”) writes about Františák’s production of Topol’s End of Carnival at Divadlo na Vinohradech, and Josef Dubský (“From Saint Wenceslas to TGM”) about productions Masaryk/Štefánik (directed by Patrick Lančarič, Municipal Theatre Zlín and Theatre Aréna Bratislava), Republic Králové (directed by Zuzana Burianová, Klicpera Theatre) and Saint Wenceslas (directed by Rastislav Ballek, Horácké Theatre Jihlava). In the section “Slovak Graveyards… of Slovak Giants” Martin Marcinčin (“Only Hatred Pleases at Heart”) writes about the adaptation of Eco’s Prague Cemetery staged at the Prešov National Theatre under the title Moral: Insanity, and Martina Ulmanová (“Slovak Myths”) uses examples of many productions to examine how Slovak theatre copes with the representation of heroes from its own history. The play of this issue is René Levínský’s historical playlet Under the Windows of TGM. The “Comedy Mix” starts a new series dedicated to contemporary German cabaret and in its opening instalment introduces Horst Evers’s short story The Secret of Dance Theatre. A list of the contents of last year’s editions is also included, as is now traditional for the first issue of the year.
The Theatre Critics’ Awards The Awards are a continuation of the former Alfréd Radok Awards. They are traditionally based on the sums of votes in a survey held by the Svět a divadlo (World and Theatre) magazine in which 80 critics participated this year. The Best Production of 2018 was won by Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, directed by the Polish director Jan Klata at the Prague theatre Divadlo pod Palmovkou (see SAD 2/2018, Škorpil: “Woman for Woman”). This guest appearance together with dramaturgy and primarily organization of the international festival Palm Off Fest were among the most often mentioned reasons for Divadlo pod Palmovkou being voted as the Best Theatre of 2018. The Best Actress category was won by Pavla Gajdošíková for her role of Marysha in a production staged at the Petr Bezruč Theatre of Ostrava by director Janka Ryšánek Schmiedtová (see SAD 2/2018, Rubeš: “Marysha – The Order Remains Tough”). Saša Rašilov, playing character of Mephistopheles in Goethe’s Faust presented by Jan Frič in the Prague National Theatre (see SAD 5/2018, Rubeš: “Frič’s Big Ride”), won the Best Actor of the Year category. The Best New Czech Play of the Year was Petr Zelenka’s Elegance of a Molecule, produced under the author’s direction with dramaturgy by Olga Šubrtová by Dejvické divadlo (for the complete text of the play see SAD 6/2018). The Best Set Design of the Year was created by Marek Cpin for Mikulášek’s production of Bernhard’s Woodcutters at the Divadlo na Zábradlí (Theatre on the Balustrade) (see SAD 4/2018, Zachatá: “Woodcutters in Czech Fashion”). The award for the Best Music of the Year was carried off by Ivan Acher, the composer of an operatic rendering of Ladislav Klíma’s novel The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch, presented by the National Theatre Opera, directed by Michal Dočekal with musical production by Petr Kofroň (see SAD 3/2018, Král: “Honourable Audience, Surprise!”; a CD with the soundtrack of the opera was released by SAD and the National Theatre in the form of a supplement for subscribers). The Talent of the Year is actress, singer and musician Tereza Marečková, impersonator of Vitka Kaprálová in the eponymous production by Anna Petrželková in the Husa na provázku Theatre, and of the witch Kuhmist in Acher’s Sternenhoch.