In the first episode of this two-part series we got to know Barbara Day, who first came from England to Prague in 1965 and whose life has been closely connected to this country ever since. She talked about her interest in Czechoslovak theatre, and her involvement with some notable Czech theatres over the last five decades. Azadeh Kangarani continues the story.
You may be surprised to hear that one of the events to mark the hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia was held at the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University in Britain. On October 29 a plaque was unveiled commemorating a secret academic link set up between the university and Czechoslovakia at the height of normalisation in the 1980s. Czech and Slovak students who found themselves unable to go to university because they or their families were out of favour with the communist regime were given the opportunity to study secretly
Forty years ago this week, on 8 April 1975, Václav Havel sent an open letter to Czechoslovakia’s President Gustav Husák. The letter was to become one of the key documents of dissent during the period of “normalization”. It outlined the creeping fear, apathy and humiliation faced by Czechs and Slovaks amid the cultural stagnation in the first years after the Soviet-led invasion of 1968. Today times are very different, but the warnings in the letter remain as relevant as ever. Azadeh Mohammadi is a Prague-based student from Iran, who came across the
Prague’s Divadla Na Zábradlí (Theatre on the Balustrade) swept the boards at the annual Theatre Critics’ Awards on Friday night. It was named Theatre of the Year for 2014, its Velvet Havel was named Production of the Year and it picked up several other gongs in other categories. The winning production was a dramatic, music-infused interpretation of the life of late president and playwright Václav Havel, whose career took off at the theatre in the 1960s. The awards are organised by the magazine Svět a divadlo.
If Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Ivana Trump were locked up together in one room, what would happen? In the world of theatre, anything is possible, and in Radka Denemarková’s “Spací vady“ (Sleeping Disorders) this is exactly what happens. David Vaughan talks to the author about her remarkable play.
The Prague Na zábradlí theatre will unveil a memorial plaque to the late former Czech Presiden Václav Havel, who was also a frequent collaborator. In the 1960’s Mr Havel worked in the theatre, as a member of the stage crew, actor, head of the drama department and playwright. The bronze plaque, which should be unveiled on December 18, was created based on the design by the “bad boy” of the Czech art scene David Černý. Mr Černý told the press that it is a classic memorial plaque and that it will be funny, but respectable. The theatre has been trying to gather the necessary funds to produce the plaque.
The late Václav Havel is now being remembered as a great statesman and human rights advocate. But he was also a prominent literary figure. In fact, before he became an opposition leader in communist Czechoslovakia, he was already established playwright whose plays appeared on stages worldwide. Václav Havel’s literary agent Jitka Sloupová, from the Aura Pont agency, talks about what inspired his dramas that quickly gained acclaim both at home and abroad.
In this week’s Arts, I talk to David Peimer, professor of theatre at University College in the UK, also involved with the Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing in London. In our interview Mr Peimer discusses In Other Rooms - a production in English of lesser-known short plays by the late Nobel Prize laureate Harold Pinter. While not as widely-known as Pinter’s most famous work, the short plays are highly recommended – and Czech audiences will have a chance to see them this weekend when the production, co-directed by Mr Peimer, comes
Prague’s Divadlo na Zábradlí is known mainly for staging former President Havel’s plays but in the last couple of years, it has also focused on producing English-language plays. Thursday will see the premiere of a play acted in English with Czech subtitles on the theatre’s main stage. The play, written by a young Polish author Dorota Maslowska, has a rather complicated title: A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians in English with Czech Subtitles.