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SAD 4/2012

SAD 4/2012

Summary 4/2012

Miroslav Petříček’s next essay in the series “Philosophy and Icons”, “Life is Football”, considers a reflection by Paul Hoyningen-Huene. The section “Political Species… and Figaro” consists of Josef Herman’s essay “National Political Theatre?” on several productions of the National Theatre Drama Company, followed by a “political questioning” of Drama Company artistic director Michal Dočekal, and Michal Zahálka’s essay “Figaro Here, Figaro There” about new Czech productions of Beaumarchais’s play – all q.v. The section “Prague… Chamber Strašnice” looks at two companies, based in Strašnické divadlo and Pražské komorní divadlo. The first one will replace the latter on the stage of the Divadlo Komedie (essays by Jakub Škorpil, “This is the End!” – q.v., and Michal Zahálka, “An Indistinct Account of Things to Come). The section “Through the Labyrinth… to Children” links two texts. Lance Hackett is the author of the essay “A Negative Icon in Post-Industrial Times” (the subject is an artist-neurotic escaping from today’s social networks). Ester Žantovská writes in her essay “Through the Eyes of Teenagers” on two productions featuring children (Before Your Very Eyes by the ensembles Campo and Gob Squad and South City of Dreams by the Prague Street for Art Festival). The section “The New… Latvians Arose” has the essay “In Motion” in which Inga Sindi introduces young Latvian directors. In her essay “Before Everything Changes” (in the “Comic Opera… 2012” section) Lenka Šaldová assesses four productions staged at the turn of the Homoki and Kosky eras. In the section “America… in Bath”, Dana Silbiger-Sliuková’s essay “Winter in the Garden” reflects on productions of American plays at the Theatre Royal Bath. “Postcards… from Vienna” offers essays by Soňa Šimková, Michaela Mojžišová, Martina Ulmanová, Dana Silbiger-Sliuková, Jana Wild and Marek Lollok about eight productions from this year’s Wiener Festwochen festival. “Dramatically… on the Kriváň” is a section dedicated to Slovak theatre. In his essay “Isn’t It Neat in Our Country?” Jakub Škorpil looks at productions introduced at the Nová dráma (New Drama) festival. The new production by the Bratislava original theatre GUnaGU is dealt with in Milo Juráni’s essay “The Winding Road to the Kriváň Hotel” while the text – Mutants - is published here (q.v.). In the Comedy Mix there is the script of Political Cabaret or Put Away This Shit! with an introduction by Jakub Škorpil (q.v.). The traditional Kaleidoscope is here too and readers will also find another instalment of Lucie Lomová’s comic strip “Shooting Star”.

Political Species… and Figaro Josef Herman in his analysis „National Political Theatre?“ looks at three political productions staged by the National Theatre in Prague in the 2011/2012 season. Two of them were new texts by noted Czech authors and Enron was the Czech première of the world famous play by the young British playwright Lucy Prebble. Petr Zelenka is a playwright of the middle-aged generation and wrote his Endangered Species as a comedy of moral ambivalence about the futility of obvious resistance against the consumer capitalist society (he also directed his play); Karel Steigerwald‘s My Distant Country is a comment on the insufficient reconciliation with the iniquities of the communist regime; and Enron seeks the more general roots of the global economic crisis in the example of the homonymous American company’s bankruptcy. Josef Herman particularly praises Enron for the ability of both playwright and director to show complex economic problems in a potent and theatrically inspiring exaggeration, but considers Endangered Species a shallow and theatrically tedious attempt at a rather simplistic critique of capitalism. The artistic director of the National Theatre Drama Company and Enron’s director, Michal Dočekal, also speaks about „politics and political theatre“ in the interview entitled „The System Needs a General Repair“.
Michal Zahálka’s essay “Figaro Here, Figaro There” is dedicated to three productions of Beaumarchais’s Marriage of Figaro – at the Klicperovo divadlo of Hradec Králové, at the Divadlo Petra Bezruče of Ostrava and at the National Theatre of Prague. The author is critical of the fact that while all the directors emphasize the political dimension and relevance of the work, only David Drábek’s loose variation has really attempted to set this proven classic in the context of contemporary world. Zahálka also focuses most on Drábek’s production while he tags the other two attempts as solid repertoire titles which contemporary audiences will see as well performed comedies.
Rather than the traditional “Comedy Mix”, the political theme is supplemented in this issue by the publication of the complete script of a Political Cabaret or Put Away This Shit!, staged at the Prague MeetFactory by the director Braňo Holiček, with Jan Tošovský as dramatic advisor. According to Jakub Škorpil, whose brief essay introduces the piece, the cabaret’s greatest interest lies in its direct and uncompromising description of the “corruptness” of the whole society and its refusal to see unambiguous politicians as the only culprits.

That’s All, Folks! In his essay Jakub Škorpil maps the last season of Pražské komorní divadlo. He seeks charecteristic elements and tendencies in the six premièred productions that are representative of the company, which will come to the end of their time at the Divadlo Komedie on 31st July, 2012 after ten years. Pražské komorní divadlo is one of the top Czech theatres. They are valued primarily for their intellectually demanding and uncompromising dramaturgy focusing particularly on launching dramas from the German-speaking world (Fassbinder, Handke, Katharina Schmitt and Peter Stamm in this season) and original adaptations of outstanding literary works from both home and abroad (Conrad’s Heart of Darkness). Led by directors Dušan David Pařízek and David Jařab, the theatre has succeeded in concentrating around them a unique group of collaborators and the de facto permanent dramatic ensemble has shown a rarely seen level of teamwork and a command of apparently minimalistic and natural – but at the same time theatrically effective – dramatic resources. However, a paradox of Škorpil’s essay is that as artistically most interesting production of the season he counts Koltés’s In the Solitude of Cotton Fields directed by the fine artist Michal Pěchouček, which departed from the traditional line of the theatre in its artistry and preference for imagery instead of words.

Viliam Klimáček: Mutants The hotel in the play’s subtitle The Last Waltz in the Kriváň Hotel has the same name as a famous peak of the Slovak High Tatras, and the ascent of a mountain is the theme of the play. Viktor is gay, he has cancer and when tired he drops off and dreams about a sort of Kriváň Hotel and its lavatories where he cannot escape from a Lavatory Attendant who turns out to be the Virgin Mary and also the aggressive Skin and Death from Bergman’s Seventh Seal. Both Skin and Death have the countenance of Viktor’s partner René. René wants to improve Viktor’s mood and appetite by culinary specialities of various countries. However, Viktor has a sense that their relationship is suffering and René “confirms” this by confessing to an infidelity; that he is aroused by his pet – a spider. But Viktor has a plan: they should have a child. They find a young woman for the task on the Internet but when interviewing the “escort” Lila they discover their mistake: her posting was meant as a sex game (“spanking, baby powder, nappy”). It will not happen. The two remain alone – except for Death gambling for Viktor’s life.

2014 - XXV. VOLUME



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