directed by Jiří Havelka
cooperation on the script Petr Erbes
dramaturgy Eva Suková
translation of specialist documentation Ján Dvořák
stage design Dáda Němeček
costumes Adriana Černá
assistant choreographer Tomsa Legierski
premiere 19 December 2017
Simona Babčáková, Klára Melíšková, Zdeňka Žádníková Volencová, Tomáš Jeřábek, Martin Myšička, Ivan Trojan
The production was nominated for the 2017 Theatre Critics' Award in the category of “First Staging of an Original Czech Play“.
“Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing
Confederate season, else no creature seeing” (Hamlet, W. Shakespeare)
This production created on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Dejvické divadlo is an experimental work by director Jiří Havelka combining principles of documentary drama and stand-up comedy. An original text mingling several layers of stage reality – theatre as a reflection of current social events, as a legacy of the Shakespearian tradition as well as a mosaic of performers’ speeches, gives the overall format a unique feel. Looking through this perspective, it seems that the murder of King Gonzago in Hamlet is not that far from the elimination of Alexander Litvinenko the former KGB agent and severe critic of the current Russian president’s administration. This original and exceptional production in the Czech context is looking for answers to questions about the actual essence of art, its authenticity, truthfulness and about illusion, guilt and innocence. It pricks audiences’ conscience and provides a truly self-reflective experience.
“This new work by the author and director Jiří Havelka shifts the borders of drama, amazes with its formal as well as ideological innovativeness and absorbs with the intensity of the actors’ performances. The two and a half hour production has no need for visual or sound tricks and does not allow the audience to breathe a sigh of relief for even a moment.”
SAŠA HRBOTICKÝ, AKTUÁLNĚ.CZ, 28 December 2017
“Although the topic does not look all that sexy and the dialogues are full of details about chemicals and espionage, there is nevertheless the spirit of the Dejvické Divadlo scene once again, the unique teamwork of the ensemble which manages to present a very heavy theme with a powerful persuasiveness.”
TOMÁŠ ŠŤÁSTKA, IDNES.CZ, 21 December 2017
The director, author, actor, and host Jiří Havelka (1980) is one of the most versatile personalities on the Czech cultural scene. In 2003 he graduated from directing at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU Academy which he has been also managing since 2011. His career started at Studio Ypsilon (mj. 2005: Drama in a Nutshell, 2008: Drama in a Nutshell, Attempt No. 2), and at present he directs at other studio scenes: Dejvické divadlo – Black Hole (2007), Wanted Welzl (2011), Kakadu (2014), The Murder of Gonzago (2017); HaDivadlo – Indian in Danger (2008), World in Danger (2012); Divadlo na Zábradlí – Madness (2014), Beautiful Typewriters! (2016). At the New Stage of the National Theatre in Prague he made a successful production The Mouse Paradise Experiment (2016) or an adaptation of Medek’s play Colonel Švec (2018). With his own ensemble of Vosto5 Theatre, he staged highly regarded studies of Czech history (Pérák, 2011; Brass Band, 2014 – Theatre Newspaper Award), the present (The Fellowship of the Owners, 2017 – Theatre Newspaper Award) or the future (a cosmic mystification Colonisation, 2016).
In past editions, the Flora Theatre Festival has featured productions by Vosto5 that Havelka co-produced (Caravan Europe, Operation: Left Hook or the improvised Stand'art Cabaret) and has also featured his directing profile, the 19th Flora edition featured his dance production Correction, an illusory homage to the film magician – George Mélièses’ Last Trick, a silent grotesque production Madness and a generational docudrama Regulation of Intimacy. His cooperation with the Slovak National Theatre Bratislava Elites did not escape the festival dramaturges’ notice (2017).
Dejvické divadlo (DD) has from its establishment in 1992 worked its way up among the most renowned Czech theatres. In 1996 when the founding ensemble around Jan Borna decided to leave for Divadlo v Dlouhé, a new opportunity opened for fresh graduates of the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU Academy – led by their teacher Miroslav Krobot who started working there as the artistic director. The original ensemble which is still represented by Klára Melíšková, Jana Holcová, Zdeňka Žádníková, has gradually been added to by experienced as well as new artists such as Ivan Trojan, Igor Chmela, Martha Issová, Jaroslav Plesl, Hynek Čermák, Simona Babčáková and others.
The theatre is held in affection by audiences as well as theatre critics. Among the highlights of their work, one can mention The Brothers Karamazov (2000) directed by Lukáš Hlavica, which was performed through 14 seasons, was adapted for film (directed by Petr Zelenka, 2008) and the festival audience in Olomouc had a chance to see the production in 2002. The adaptation of The Man without a Past (2010) based on Aki Kaurismäki in Krobot’s direction resulted in a genuine award harvest – winning the Theatre Newspaper Award as well as the Radok Award plus additional Radok Award for the performance of David Novotný. Two years later, the situation was similar – A Blockage in the System directed by Michal Vajdička received the Radok Award 2012 as well as Ivan Trojan for his role of God. Trojan had by that point also received the Theatre Newspaper award for Teremin in another awarded production of the same name directed by Petr Zelenka (2005), and the Thalia Award for Oblomov (directed by M. Krobot, 2000). After nine years, DD returned back to the Flora Theatre Festival with their production Dealer’s Choice, which brought the Thalia Award to Václav Neužil for his role of Mugsy in 2011.
Michal Vajdička became the artistic director in 2014 followed in 2017 by a long-time member of the theatre, the actor Martin Myšička. The dramaturgical plan is still dominated by plays by contemporary authors, original Czech and Slovak texts (Zelenka: The Elegance of the Molecule, Dabing Street), but literary classics also hold a secure position there. The theatre invites like-minded authors such as Jiří Havelka and Petra Tejnorová. The theatre has followed the success of the TV sitcoms The Fourth Star (2014), where the entire ensemble acts as well as Dubbing Street (2018) with a new comedy-mystification series Zkáza Dejvického divadla.
photo: Hynek Glos