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SAD 2/2012

SAD 2/2012

Summary 2/2012

The issue opens with the next installment in Petříček’s series “Philosophy and Icons”: this time his commentary of Karin Fry’s essay “Oh My God! They Killed Kenny… Again”. The section “Through a Black Hole into Komedie” opens with Bowman’s “Collapse as Inspiration”. Two reviews of the Divadlo Komedie follow: a production of The Last Days of Mankind (Uhde: “Theatre of Appeal) and Martin Pechlát’s performance in The Legend of the Holy Drinker (Křivánková: “Everybody is the Architect of His Own Miracle). The next section consists of Krejčí’s playlet Bleeping and reviews of productions of Leoš or Faithfully Yours at the Husa na provázku (Šaldová: “The Arrogant Genius) and Radúz and Mahulena at the National Theatre Brno (Lollok: “Radúz and Mahulena from Two or More Pieces). The following “Ostravian Phenomena” offers a portrait of the actor Norbert Lichý (Varyš: “You Have Deserved Nothing Better) and an article dedicated to the productions Bluesmen, Moscow->Petushki and Celebration (Horák: “Two Experiments and One Slash into Vital Parts”). The section “The Playwright as a Diminutive” consists of Švejda’s essay “Petr Kolečko or On the Generation that Does not Deal With «It»” and a review of David Drábek’s production of his own work Eaters of Chocolate (Zahálka: “In a World of Artificial Meerkats”). The following section is dedicated to the Divadlo Na zábradlí (Mikulka: “Halfhearted Times or Life is Elsewhere”). “EuroHeroes” is an assessment of the last spiel’zeit europa (Schnelle: “Too Much Ado – Too Little about Theatre) and reviews of Polish productions of Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk’s Lost Czechoslovakia (Fehérová: “Czechoslovakia Lost in Poland), Stemann’s Threepenny Opera (Veselovská: “Abstracting the Abstracted) and 13 by Mike Bartlett (Damien: “How to Write a Political Epic). In the section “…And Mythic Characters, Too there are essays about a new Czech opera (Král: “From National Enchantia”) and two productions by Theater an der Wien (Mojžišová: “Circe and Orfeo in Vienna”). The section “Theatre in Quotation Marks opens with an essay about a project A Trilogy of Crisis by Árpád Schilling (Jászay: “An Introduction into Theatre Crisis Management) and continues with a reflection on Teatr.doc’s production Two in Your House (Král: “NonTheatre.doc”). The script by Yelena Gremina is included. The Comedy Mix is dedicated to Stewart Lee. Another installment of the comic strip by Lucie Lomová is entitled Gunshot.

Halfhearted Times or Life is Elsewhere One of the most celebrated Czech theatres, Divadlo Na zábradlí (Theatre on the Balustrade), has been going through hard times in the last ten years. Following the tragic death of its artistic director, the outstanding Czech theatre director of the 1990s, Petr Lébl (1999), the theatre has never fully regained clear vision and style and has lost its privileged status. Vladimír Mikulka’s study looks at the period since the engagement of the new artistic director David Czesany in autumn 2010. Although he has managed to stabilize the theatre‘s operating conditions and has brought a number of new collaborators, none of his four productions to date was sufficiently noteworthy to attract much attention from critics or audience. The new director has moved the theatre towards deeper social-political engagement rather than popular drama. Following his debut he staged Roland Schimmelpfennig’s Ambrosia, Miroslav Bambušek’s Czech War, My Home Country by Jiří Pokorný and Redevelopment by Václav Havel. The anti-communist Czech War has become the most controversial production; it sides with those who decided to take up arms against the regime in the 1950s. However, the greatest interest of both theatre-goers and media was aroused by the production of Redevelopment, particularly because by pure coincidence it premiered only three weeks after Václav Havel’s death. Redevelopment originated shortly before the fall of communism and it deals in allegorical form with the relations between totalitarian power and society against the backdrop of modern Czechoslovakian history. In the Divadlo Na Zábradlí (Theatre on the Balustrade) they successfully emphasized the comic merits of the play and the theme of taking responsibility for one’s own deeds, but an attempt to update the play and bring it into the season’s theme of controversial urbanistic changes in Prague was considerably less successful.

Petr Kolečko or On the Generation Who Does not Deal With “It” Playwright and dramaturge Petr Kolečko (born 1984) is the most prolific author in the contemporary Czech theatre and can be seen as a representative of the generation that grew up after the fall of the communist regime. In 2007 he graduated from the Prague's Academy of Performing Arts with a degree in dramaturgy and then took up the position of an artistic director at A Studio Rubín. From 2010/2011 season until this May he has also worked as a literary manager for the Municipal Theatre in Kladno. He presents himself in interviews as an ordinary boy who has “just” been lucky to be born with a dramatic talent and he takes his writing quite pragmatically; his plays are often commissioned. At the same time he sometimes wants to say something more serious and radical. Kolečko speaks about his attempts to jolt audience‘s out of the “established stereotypes in their train of thought”. The question is how to bring together pragmatic and ambitious modes of writing. Kolečko’s plays have a distinctive character, they are written in a contemporary, comically informal language that bears the seal of how young people speak today; it is a language filled with vulgarity, slang and trendy phrases and at the same time it is skillfully stylized. The themes regularly approached by the playwright are also close to contemporary youth: sex (partnership), sport, alcohol, the world of art (pop-culture). Kolečko has succeeded in turning the A Studio Rubín into one of the theatrical centers of today‘s young generation.

From National Enchantia Karel Král deals with the production which - judging by the interest and reactions of audience - might become one the most successful ones this year. Despite being a new Czech work, it is specifically – as the subtitle puts it – “a family opera expedition based on Gerald Durrell’s book The Talking Parcel”. The music was composed by the young composer Marko Ivanović, and the director Petr Forman collaborated with Ivan Arsenjev and Radek Malý on the libretto. Scenography and costumes are by Matěj Forman and Andrea Sodomková. An essential feature was the participation of the Forman brothers, sons of the movie director Miloš Forman. Their productions show ever more marked features of the puppet theatre (where they started out) and the nostalgic circus, which is their particular field today. They bring the whole theatre into play as an enigmatic place that is identical to Mythology-Enchantia, a territory populated by mythical beings such as centaurs or unicorns, but also endangered species of meerkats or gazelles. The whole theatre is a preserve of the endangered. Theatrical and other arts are also endangered. Spectators enter through the backstage and scenery, they are ushered to their seats in the dusky auditorium by singing fairies, while on the balcony above them the gigantic puppet phoenixes are sitting in their nests. With the help of the imposing music and beautiful scenography, this creates a feeling of an all-embracing magical place where the spectator is part of the narrative, a fabulous fight of apparently weak good against strong evil. Obviously the good wins, or rather there is reconciliation. The audience leaves with a sense of a shared journey and unity, bidding farewell to each other like believers at the end of a church service. This inspires even more complicated questions. Is art only a substitute for religion or is it an escape from reality? Is it still possible to distinguish between art and kitsch? Is there danger that “living art” could be replaced by an antique shop where all that used to be beautiful would be nostalgically kept alive?

2014 - XXV. VOLUME



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