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The Theatre Critics’ Awards 2020

Summary 1/2021

The first issue includes the traditional critics’ survey that forms the basis of the Theatre Critics’ Awards (q. v.). Miroslav Petříček’s essay “I Doubt, Therefore I Must Think Differently” is accompanied by excerpts from Charles Sanders Peirce’s essays, “Ideas, Beliefs and Habit” and at the same time it introduces one of this year’s thematic series, on ground-breaking or even revolutionary changes. Continue in 2021 will also Karel Haloun’s series “truth and lies on the road” (in this issue the Mexican “Hasta la vista”) and Petr Fischer’s cinematographic “documentary papers” (“Shelling the Difference”). The first contribution from the series focused on fine arts Marie Reslová dedicates to an installation by Matěj Al-Ali and an exhibition by Kurt Gebauer (“From the Hospital Lobby to the «Courtyard» of the Gallery”). The opening section “Doubts… about Ground-Breaking Movements” is rounded out by a translation of the essay Politics in the Viral World. In the following section “Which Way… from a Locked-Down Theatre” we publish the so-called “first challenge of the Svět a divadlo magazine” entitled “Theatre Needs Theatregoers!” which emphasizes the necessity of interaction with an audience, and this is followed by “Plans for Freedom”, the third “quarantine survey” in which questions are answered by figures from contemporary Czech experimental theatre. The second challenge from Svět a divadlo is entitled “New Directions for Use” and it is inspired by “destatic poetry” of Jiří Kolář (from whom its title is also borrowed). In the section “The Czech… School” it is accompanied by the first of the “new directions”, Ewald Murrer’s Games from his upcoming collection Traumonium. In the section “Terrain… for Testing” Barbora Etlíková (“Low Rates, Transformations of Matter”) conducts a survey of the first season of the Brno platform Terrain, Veronika Štefanová (“Danger Called Fear”) writes about Eliška Brtnická’s new cirque “walk” Hang Out, Jitka Šotkovská (“A Pre-Christmas Cruise through Brno”) describes an urban game for children Voyage to the Queen of North by Divadlo Polárka, and Ester Žantovská writes about a film Frame Raté 18 by the group Wariot Ideal. Vladimír Mikulka (“Festival in Times of Covid”) reviews productions from this year’s February festival Cirkopolis 2021 and the section closes with S.d.Ch.’s report “Theatre Travels”. The play of the issue, Camping, “the third instalment of the Havel trilogy”, is by the same author and it is also the first play in a series of short comedies “From Evolution Revolution and the Other Way Around” written for SAD. The seventh instalment of the comic strip Twins by the duo Klimáček-Danglár is entitled Wodka Flames and the issue closes with the Contents of the 2020 volume.

The Theatre Critics’ Awards are traditionally based on the sum of votes in a survey held by Svět a divadlo magazine. 66 critics participated this year. According to the critics, The Best Production of 2020 was Zahradníček / All Mine Is Yours by the JEDL Theatre Company, directed by Jan Nebeský. The play was written by Lucie Trmíková who also won Best Actress of 2020 for her performance in the production. The Best Actor of the Year category was won by Karel Dobrý for his role of Franz in Egon Tobiáš’s Kafkaesque Der Kleine Fratz (also directed by Jan Nebeský and staged by the JEDL Theatre Company). The Best Theatre of 2020 was the Cirk La Putyka, particularly for its activities in times of pandemic. The Play of 2020 was won – like last year – by Tomáš Dianiška, this time for his text The Magnificent 294, a traditionally distinctive homage to all those who aided the anti-Nazi resistance. The award for the Best Set Design of the Year was split between Hza Bažant, for the set for The Cabinet of Miracles or Orbis Pictus by the Naive Theatre Liberec (directed by Michaela Homolová), and Zuzana Krejzková who designed the set for Heretical Essays by the Prague Studio Hrdinů (directed by Miroslav Bambušek). The Best Music of 2020 was also shared by two laureates: Marko Ivanović for his opera Monument (National Theatre Brno, directed by David Radok), and the duo PΛST (Ivo Sedláček and Dan Kranich) for their music for the production The Mad Hercules (directed by Tomáš Loužný, Tiger in Distress company). The Talent of the Year was the director Jakub Maksymov.