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SAD 1/2012

SAD 1/2012

Summary 1/2012

The first issue of this year is dominated by the full summary and results of the annual critical survey which forms the basis for the Alfréd Radok Awards. Miroslav Petříček’s essay “Comics among Philosophers” is a commentary on translated excerpts from Ron Novy’s essay “What is it like to be Batman?” In the section “Russian Hopes Put on Ice”, Marie Reslová (“The Spark of God”) writes about a production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, directed by Rimas Tuminas, and Pavel Trenský introduces Vladimir Sorokin’s dystopian Ice Trilogy, which was used as a model for the production Ice by the director Kornél Mundruczó and Hungarian National Theatre. The section “Life, the Universe and Everything” is dedicated to two productions by Alvis Hermanis: his own Ziedonis and Universe from the Jaunais Rigas teātris (Mikulová: “Ziedonis and Universe) and Chekhov’s Platonov staged at the Burgtheater (Lollok: “Misha Platonov Does Not Grow Old”). Next, Hermanis’ production, Munich’s Call of Wilderness, was a guest performance at last year’s Prague Festival of German Language Theatre. Zuzana Augustová looks back at that performance in her essay “The Lost Theme”. She also writes on Kriegenburg’s production Thieves by Dea Loher, Dunkel lockende Welt (A Darkly Alluring World) by Händl Klaus of Schauspielhaus Zürich, and she praises an “adaptation” of Tolstoy’s War and Peace staged at the Burgtheater by Matthias Hartmann. The section “Solitude and Money” closes with Ester Žantovská’s review (“Love in Times of Capitalism”) of a production of Dennis Kelly’s Love and Money at the Divadlo v Dlouhé (Theatre at Dlouhá Street) directed by Jan Mikulášek. In the section “From Swimming Pool to Spa” Jakub Škorpil writes about King Lear directed by Jan Nebeský at the Prague National Theatre (“Riddle Without Clues”) and Dana Silbiger-Sliuková (“Spa Classics”) reviews productions of European classic works at the Theatre Royal Bath: Calderon’s Phoenix of Madrid, Marivaux’s The Surprise of Love, and Shakespeare’s Henry IV. The section “Resurrection and Revival” is operatic in theme and includes a review by Eliška Aguirre of Heřman’s production of Dvořák’s Jacobin (“Heřman’s Jacobin /Dvořák’s Scenic Resurrection/”) and another by Rudo Leška looking at two productions of Ján Cikker’s operas: Coriolanus at the State Theatre Košice and Mister Scrooge at the Slovak National Theatre. In the section “Kings with Grandmothers” Martina Černá writes about productions presented during the Korean Showcase at the Performing Arts Market in Seoul (“Winning the Fight for Place”). The closing section “The End & Puppets” includes Jackson Curtis’s essay “Getting Over the End”, Kateřina Fojtíková’s report (“Abduction of the Spectator”) on the joint project of the Russian “engineering theatre AKHE” and a group of Finnish students, called Abduction of Europe; and Lenka Dombrovská writes in her essay “Bedtime Stories for Audacious Adults” about a series of production by the Cakes and Puppets ensemble staged as homage to famous movies. One of these screenplays, The Fly Reloaded by Radek Beran, is also the play of this issue. Besides the traditional kaleidoscope, the closing section also includes the contents of last year’s volume of SAD magazine. The Comedy Mix bids farewell to Peter Cook with the sketch Mini Drama and the issue closes with the first instalment (entitled Before the Première) of the new comic strip Open Season by Lucie Lomová.

The Alfréd Radok Awards A total of 82 critics took part in the annual survey organized by the Svět a divadlo (World and Theatre) magazine. Individual awards presented by The Alfréd Radok Awards Foundation are decided by simple sums of votes. The Production of the Year 2011 went to The Break of Noon by Paul Claudel, directed by Hana Burešová at the Divadlo v Dlouhé. Helena Dvořáková also won the Best Actress of the Year award for the main role of Ysé in this production and critics also gave it the award for the set design by Martin Černý. The Best Actor of the Year award went to Martin Pechlát for the role of Andreas Karták in the production of The Legend of the Holy Drinker, an adaptation of Joseph Roth’s novel directed by David Jařab. It was staged at the Prague Chamber Theatre – Divadlo Komedie, which was recognised as the Theatre of the Year. The New Czech Play of the Year chosen by critics is David Drábek’s Eaters of Chocolate, staged by the author at the Klicperovo divadlo in Hradec Králové. Miloš Štědroň’s music for Uhde’s Janáčkovian play Leoš or Faithfully Yours, staged by Vladimír Morávek at the Divadlo Husa na provázku, was voted Music of the Year. Talent of the Year 2011 went to the actor Michal Isteník, who is linked primarily with the Buranteatr of Brno. For the majority of voters the Greatest Foreign Theatre Experience was War and Peace presented by the Burgtheater and directed by Matthias Hartmann.

Riddle Without Clues In his essay Jakub Škorpil writes about the production of Shakespeare’s King Lear by Jan Nebeský at the National Theatre. Rather than a traditional production this is a pictographic and associative scenic essay on the Lear theme. Nebeský himself asserts that the main themes of his production are the violation of order and common rules and the appeal of evil. Working with the dramaturg Iva Klestilová they reduced Shakespeare’s text not only by omitting some plot strands (particularly the war conflict), but also by cutting those scenes they retained until often only a few sentences are left. This framework is then wrapped into scenic images and semi-improvised acting (the title character is played by one of Nebeský’s traditional actors, David Prachař). Though Edgar is costumed as a Joker and there are also hints of Nazism and concentration camps, the production is not just a simple updating of Lear. Nebeský’s poetics and directorial character are always striking primarily for their imagery and interpretative ambiguity and in his best productions these two “components” are ideally intertwined. There are several very visually striking scenes in Lear, but these offer so many possible interpretations and associations that a spectator can easily get a sense of engorgement. A more rational, intellectual reception of the work is called for and this results in a feeling of a “cool production”, which is difficult to grasp clearly. It is a real puzzle with no real ability to entice viewers to decode its solution.

Bedtime Stories for Audacious Adults and The Fly Reloaded In their most recent project, the now legendary Czech Cakes and Puppets ensemble returns to one of their traditional sources of inspiration, and in their tetralogy “Reloaded” they pay homage to the cult horror and sci-fi movies Psycho, Barbarella, Jaws and The Fly. According to the author of the project, Radek Beran, they return in this way to the very old foundations of puppet theatre, traditionally built on displaying “spectacular horror and haunting” together with “a pinch of good cheap humour”. The audience gets a good deal of the latter in particular, as “Cakes” construct their benign spoofs mainly on puns and associations linked with carnality. This low-brow (but not cheap) humour merges with references to other works, imaginative stage design and playful delivery to create a highly entertaining production. However, for the reviewer Lenka Dombrovská there is always a risk of invoking boredom and unintentional awkwardness. The Fly Reloaded is a good example of “the former category” and its screenplay is also published in this issue. According to Dombrovská, the latter category is represented by the apparently “hastily rigged up” Barbarella Reloaded.

2014 - XXV. VOLUME



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