Vsevolod Mejerchold: Výbor z díla – 1. Díl
This selection of writings on theatre by the well-known Russian avant-garde director Vsevolod Meyerhold includes Meyerhold’s book – On Theatre – and several other articles, papers, and notes on performances. The book also contains excerpts of notes from Meyerhold’s theatre rehearsals and an illustrated supplement. It will be published in late 2018/early 2019.
Sara Stridsbergová: Tři hry
Sara Stridsberg (born 29 August 1972) has won a number of literary prizes. She arrived on the literary scene in 2004 with her novel Happy Sally, and she made her debut as a playwright two years later with Valerie Solanas for President of the United States. This volume of work by her will contain three plays: Dissecting a Snowflake, Returns, and The Art of Falling.
Dissecting a Snowflake is centred on a modern-minded and, in gender terms, sharply defined female monarch, a historical figure one may infer is based on the controversial Queen Christina of Sweden.
In Returns, which is set in the now closed Beckomberg psychiatric clinic in Stockholm, the author tries to get inside the clinic’s patients, for whom the facility represented both hope and hell.
The protagonists in The Art of Falling are a mother and daughter, surnamed Beale, once famous figures in American show business. When their careers are over they grow poor and are forgotten, and ultimately find themselves together in an old, half-run-down house on the Atlantic coast, where they try to recover from their former fame.
Joël Pommerat: Tři hry
Joël Pommerat (born 28 February 1963) is one of the most respected French playwrights and directors today. He has won France’s prestigious Molière Award several times, his collected works were acknowledged by the French Academy, and in 2016 he won the important European Theatrical Realities Prize. The collection of plays the Arts and Theatre Institute is preparing to publish will be the first time Pommerat’s plays are being published in the Czech language, in translations by Zdeněk Bartoš and Michal Zahálka. The volume will contain three plays: The Reunification of the Two Koreas, Breaking the Ice, and I Tremble.
The Reunification of the Two Koreas is made up of twenty scenes that are united by the more general theme of love in its various forms. These oftentimes grotesque, humorous, and tragic tales with more than sixty alternating characters have already made their way onto a number of stages around Europe.
Breaking the Ice is a tragicomedy about a group of supermarket employees and the store’s despotic owner, who out of the blue just leaves the entire supermarket to the staff. Under the leadership of the idealistic Estelle, the employees begin to rehearse theatre performances in their boss’s honour – but the whole matter is actually a bit more complicated...
The main hero of I Tremble (1 and 2) announces to the audience right at the start that during the performance, right before their eyes, he will die. There then erupts a panoptical cabaret in which the hero presents the strange things that have happened to him in life – and that he wants to come to terms with before he dies.
Luigi Pirandello: Hry 2 (Plays 2)
This second volume of plays by the Italian playwright, writer, poet, and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature will contain dramatic works never before translated into Czech and new translations of familiar works. This volume and the preceding one will together represent the most comprehensive collection of dramatic works by one of the most important twentieth-century authors, praised for achieving a ‘daring and intelligent renaissance of the dramatic and scenic arts’. Volume 2 of his plays will include Six Characters in Search of an Author, Henry IV, Each in His Own Way, The Wives’ Friend, Diana and Tuda, Either One or No One, Tonight We Improvise, When One Is Somebody, and The Mountain Giants. Each volume also contains a study on Pirandello’s body of work, a list of his writings, and notes. This volume is being prepared in cooperation with the Institute of Romanesque Studies at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, edited by Alice Flemrová; the translations are by Marina Feltlová, Alice Flemrová, Jiří Pelán, Tereza Sieglová, Kateřina Vinšová.
Personalities in Czech Scenography
Marie Zdeňková: Irena Marečková
Irena Marečková is an artist specialising in puppetry and costume and stage design, and she is the subject of the 9th volume in the publication series Important Figures in Czech Scenography. She studied visual art and technology in the Department of Puppetry at the Drama Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts, where she also later taught (1990–2003, Department of Alternative and Puppetry Theatre, in 2003 she was appointed docent). She also taught in the Department of Nonverbal Theatre at the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and taught drama education for the hearing impaired at Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno, and she headed a course in scenic design at the Loutkářská Chrudim festival of amateur theatre. Her distinctive artistic style, which is strikingly apparent in both her designs and in the final work, predestined her to be involved in projects that have a strong visual component, whether in puppet theatre (e.g. Alfa Plzeň Theatre, Drak Theatre in Hradec Králové) and in drama (e.g. the National Theatre in Brno), or opera (the National Theatre in Prague) in theatres in the Czech Republic and abroad (Germany, Switzerland, France, Japan, Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Slovakia). Her director ‘allies’ in puppet theatre include Karel Makonj (A Button for Luck, 1980, The Heaven above the Angel, 1997), Tomáš Dvořák (Maugli, 1986, Groans from the Pilsen Torture House, 1995, The White Doe, 2006), Josef Krofta (Capocomico, 1990, The Beatles, 1991, A Plague on Your Houses!!!, 2001), and in drama, opera, and movement theatre they include Ctibor Turba (The Hobbit, 1983, Declownisation, 1986, Ship of Fools, 1989), Zbyněk Srba (The Blue Bird, 1989, The Little Prince, 1990 and 1998) and Hana Burešová (Rigoletto, 1995, The Flying Doctor, 1996). The author of this Czech-English publication is Marie Zdeňková, who works at the Arts and Theatre Institute.
Vlasta Koubská: Karel Glogr
Scenic and costume designer Karel Glogr, who is the subject of the 10th volume in the Important Figures in Czech Scenography series, studied scenic design under professors Jan Dušek and Albert Pražák at DAMU in Prague (1985), where he has been teaching since 1999 (in 2005 he was appointed docent). In distinct ways he ties in with the tradition of Czech scenic design, employing his sensibility for the metaphorical power of space, shape, and colour and applying it, in most cases, to classic dramatic works. He is no stranger to working with modern drama either and also has experience working on opera productions. He has worked for theatres throughout the Czech Republic and abroad, in Germany, Russia, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Estonia, Italy, and Greece. Some of his most striking creations have come out of his collaboration with directors Jan Burian at J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen (Yerma, 1990, The Seagull, 1991, Maryša, 1996, King Lear, 2004), Ladislav Smoček at Vinohrady Theatre in Prague (The Soul Is a Vast Domain, 1992) or at the Drama Club (Heda Gabler, 1996, Mrs Warren, 2014), and with director Hana Burešová at Prague’s National Theatre (The Wonder-Working Magician, Rigoletto, both 1995), and at other Czech theatres (Don Juan and Faust, Labyrint Theatre, 1992, Wyrd Sisters, Theatre in Dlouhá Street, 2001). The author of the Czech-English monograph is Vlasta Koubská, who specialises in theatre studies and teaches at DAMU.
Martin Bernátek, Anna Hejmová, Martina Novozámská: Česká divadelní fotografie (Czech Theatre Photography)
Czech Theatre Photography traces the history of theatre photography in the Czech state. The book is the outcome of several years of research conducted by the Arts and Theatre in museum and archive collections around the country and this is the first time some of the photographs have ever been published. The book covers a time span of more than 150 years, from the first photographs that emerged in the late 1850s up to the present day. Theatre photographs have until now primarily been valued for their evidentiary function as documents that provide unique visual testimony on the history of theatre. This publication seeks to alter this view and present theatre photography as an artistic genre in its own right, with irrefutable aesthetic qualities, and thereby to help situate Czech theatre photography in a wider historical and artistic context. The collected chapters introduce readers to a selection of themes, photographs, and figures (studios in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Karel Váňa, František Kutta, Josef Heinrich and Karel Drbohlav, Zdeněk Tmej and Václav Chochola, Jaromír Svoboda, Věra Caltová and Olga Housková, Jaroslav Krejčí, Viktor Kronbauer and others). The publication’s authors, Martin Bernátek, Anna Hejmová and Martina Novozámská, describe the basic trajectories along which this field developed – as well as the development of subjects and artistic techniques, they focus also on technological innovations, which are often a catalyst for wider changes. The book is published in English and Czech editions.
Czech Theatre Magazine 34/35
This double issue of Czech Theatre Magazine, which is published in English, presents information about Czech theatre and events of the past two seasons, artistic trends, and important artistic figures. This double issue devotes increased attention to scenography. It also contains a kaleidoscope section covering the most successful Czech productions, annotations on new plays, information about theatre awards, and statistics.
Divadelní revue (Theatre Review) 1–3/2018
A peer-reviewed theatre arts periodical published three times a year that offers readers studies, analyses, essays, interviews, reviews, and documents on theatre history and theory.
Martin Pšenička, Honza Petružela: Czech Theatre Review 2010-2015
The publication comprises a selection of ten articles on theatre from the journal Divadelní revue (Theatre Review), originally published in the years 2010–2015, in English translation. The individual texts focus on a variety of historical and theoretical issues related to Czech theatre culture.
Jan Roubal: Divadlo v průsečíku reflexe: Antologie současné polské divadelní teorie (Theatre at the Intersection of Ideas: An Anthology of Contemporary Polish Theatre Theory)
This anthology presents Polish thought and reflections on the theatre in the last two decades, which in an international comparison tend to be characterised by an undeniably unique quality, professional erudition, and a poignant relevance for the present. They reflect the vitality and originality of Polish theatre, and the broad professional foundation of Polish theatre research and its openness to impulses and inspiration from contemporary theory, methodology, and growing interdisciplinarity. The more than twenty selected texts by eighteen different authors seek to acquaint readers with indicative theoretical approaches that treat theatre as a unique art form, and to describe theatre’s wider sociocultural and cultural-anthropological contexts. As well as methodological reflections on current issues in theatre theory, historiography, criticism, dramatology, and methods of acting, the anthology also offers a selection of writings inspired by phenomenology, semiotics, cognitivism, gender studies, theatre anthropology, and performatics. This anthology can in many ways serve as a useful, stimulating, and auxiliary contribution to the search for new paths in contemporary Czech theatre studies.
Studies published in a peer-reviewed periodical
Věra Velemanová: ‘Čekání na Godota na českých jevištích.’ (Waiting for Godot on the Stage), Divadelní revue 2/2018
A study devoted to the scenographic treatment of S. Beckett’s play in productions on the Czech stage.
Johana Černá: ‘Macháčkova Bílá nemoc.’ (Macháček’s White Disease ) Divadelní revue 2/2018
A study of director Miroslav Macháček’s production of White Disease at the National Theatre in Prague in 1988.
Milan Pospíšil: ‘Opera Švýcarská rodina. Historie libreta a pražská provedení.’ (The Swiss Family: The History of the Libretto and the Prague Production of This Opera) Divadelní revue 2/2018
A study focusing on Prague productions of the three-act Singspiel by Joseph Weigl, Kapellmeister at the court theatre in Vienna, composed to the libretto Die Schweizerfamilie by Ignaz Franz Castelli.
Martin J. Švejda – Věra Velemanová: ‘Divadlo Na zábradlí pod uměleckým vedením Jaroslava Chundely.’ (Theatre on the Balustrade under the Artistic Direction of Jaroslav Chundela) Divadelní revue 3/2018
A study examining the work of Theatre on the Balustrade between 1975 and 1978 in terms of both its artistic production and its overall operations in the given social and political context at that time. The main attention is paid to the most important productions created during that period (The Deer King, The Emigrants) and major events in the life of the theatre itself (the forced departure of stage technician and director A. Krob from the theatre in connection with a staging of Václav Havel’s The Beggar’s Opera at Theatre on the Rounds in 1975 in Horní Počernice; the theatre’s response to the emergence of Charter 77).