SAD 5/2018

The issue opens with the next instalment of Miroslav Petříček’s series reflecting on changes in perceptions of fashion. This time his text “Life is Art” is accompanied by an excerpt from Roman Meinhold’s essay “Fashion and the Moving of the Souls”. It is followed by the fifth instalment of Karel Haloun’s cycle dedicated to “graphics in public spaces”, this time dealing with manifestations of art in politics. The following articles in this section are written by Kornel Fabricius (“Glitch”) and Mahathir Cornelius (“Power and a Deal with the Devil” – both q. v.). The section entitled “Fausts’… Puppets” includes essays by Barbora Schnelle (“Demons of Colonisation”), Josef Rubeš (“Frič’s Big Ride”) and Karel Král (“Crooked Wicks”) – all q. v. This section then closes with Hubert Krejčí’s “short play in a mixed style” A Bad Ending of Clerks. The section “With Eggs… and Murders” focuses on puppet theatre and Jakub Škorpil (“Trays of Spools”) writes about two productions by the director Jakub Maksymov: an adaptation of London’s short stories staged under the title A Thousand Dozens and Thunder. Enter Three Witches., which is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The section “Pathos… in the East” is introduced by Kateřina Veselovská (“Two Lessons in Emotional Blackmailing”) and her review of two new circus productions: Infinita by Familie Flöz and Backbone by Gravity & Other Myths. The next two articles focus on the Tanec Praha international festival: Petr Boháč writes in his essay “Neither Anything More, Nor Anything Less” about the productions East Shadow by choreographer Jiří Kylián and Refuge by Viliam Dočolomanský, while Blanka Křivánková (“To Ask Neurosis to Dance”) writes on Sunday Neurosis by Jiří Pokorný and Radim Vizváry, and Sunny by Emanuel Gat. In the section “The Obsessed… Extremists” Michaela Mojžišová (“Wild Passions”) writes about two productions from this year’s Salzburger Festspiele – Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, and Strauss’s Salome directed by Romeo Castellucci. Barbora Schnelle presents Elfriede Jelinek’s new play Am Königsweg (On the Royal Road) and its productions in the Schauspielhaus Hamburg (directed by Falk Richter) and Deutsches Theater Berlin (directed by Stephan Kimmig). In his essay “What Should I Do with this Fanatical World”, Matěj Nytra writes about Angélica Liddell’s and Rodrígo García’s productions (What Should I Do with this Sword and Evel Knievel vs Macbeth in the Land of Dead Humbert). The phenomenon of “Live Art”, a specifically British branch of “performance art” is dealt with in the section “Live Art… Young” where Barbora Etlíková first sums up her experience from London’s alternative scene (“A London Refuge for a Dreaming Self”) and then interviews Rachel Young, actress, director and originator of “live art” projects (“People Want to Have Their Own Representation in Theatre”). The play of this issue is A Feast for Hawk, the Scout (An Un-scored Game about Everything) by Miloslav Vojtíšek aka S.d.Ch. (q. v.), a traditional short story by Petr Vydra entitled Jealousy, and the fifth instalment of Egon Tobiáš’s comic strip Titanium Stalks.

The Theme of Faust runs throughout the issue. The section entitled “Fausts’… Puppets” includes criticism by three authors. The first two deal with “wild” productions of Goethe’s drama. In her essay “Demons of Colonisation” Barbora Schnelle writes about the Faust which was Frank Castorf’s farewell to the Berlin Volksbühne. Here a deal with the devil is interpreted as the moment of birth of a modern “bastard” and the way across worlds and eras accompanied by Mephistopheles is a lesson in how to become him. Castorf blends big political themes with comic numbers in a cabaret-spectacular spirit. Josef Rubeš’s essay “Frič’s Big Ride” deals with a similarly spectacular production at the Prague National Theatre by director Jan Frič. Rather than a political representation we see a grotesquely brutal picture of the present day: the first part is an on-going dance-erotic party, the second shows a disintegrating world of genetic experimentation and ecological disaster. In his essay “Crooked Wicks” Karel Král considers the folk puppet tradition of Faust’s story. Puppeteers adapted Marlowe’s tragedy in their own ways while his Clown became one of the major characters, Mister Punch among puppeteers, “a crooked wick”, a cunning fellow who is only an uneducated herdsman but nevertheless outwits both lords and devils. The tradition of Faust puppetry is strong in the Czech lands and has had a significant impact. Jan Švankmajer approached it in his own way in his film Faust (1993): he focused on a worn out contemporary individual willingly seduced to the role of Faust. Tomáš Hájek also paid special attention to the traditional puppetry approach of using an overhead projector to animate drawings on films: in his 2012 version Faust won because only his doppelganger was sent to hell along with Punch while he escaped. Conversely, three of this year’s productions (Puppets and Cake, Handa Gote Research & Development, Drak Theatre) are bound by tradition. This is why the author complemented the Faustian theme with a reflection of a very loose puppet version of Eric Powel’s comics entitled Goon: Bloody Revenge! The production, with its junkyard aesthetic, is consistently un-serious and politically incorrect, which perhaps is why it depicts the world so accurately: it is so brutal that it is almost ridiculous. The Faustian theme can also be found in two works of fiction. Kornel Fabricius writes in his essay “Glitch” about an intentionally failed manipulation of digital data by two MIT graduates: “If science makes deals with the devil and serves only power, then art is entitled to try to redeem this science in a way that it will set the chaos of paradise against the order of hell.” In “Power and a Deal with the Devil”, Mahathir Cornelius offers a testimony of a physician assisting dying people. He testifies that it is not in fact a desire for knowledge that brings Faust to make the deal but a pathological urge for power. The deal concerns those who consider power itself to be the biggest pleasure, meaning mainly politicians. The play of the issue, “A Feast for Hawk, the Scout”, written for the World and Theatre magazine by the author using the pseudonym S.d.Ch., is also a Faustian work of a sort. Jaroslav “Hawk” Foglar, the famous scout and writer, when at death’s door, reflects on his own life as being dedicated to eternal boyhood.