Clowns, puppeteers, acrobats, mimes and many other striking, colorful and often frightening street artists will take over Prague’s center on Monday as part of the annual street theater festival Behind the Door (Za dveřmi). Around twenty troupes from more than 15 different countries will be performing next week in the afternoons and evenings in the heart of Prague, at Wenceslas Square. It will be the fifth year of Behind the Door, and for this week’s Arts, Masha Volynsky had a chance to speak to a member of the festival team, Adam Ondráček, about
The corruption and spying scandal that toppled the centre-right government of prime minister Petr Necas will be the subject of a new play by a group of young actors who specialize in political satire. According to the internet news site lidovky.cz director Tomas Svoboda is working on a play centring around the love triangle of the outgoing prime minister, his wife and his mistress and chief-of-staff. The play will reportedly contain authentic dialogues from police wiretappings. It is expected to premiere at Prague’s Divadlo pod Palmovkou in the autumn.
Divadlo Hurvínka a Spejbla – the theater of Hurvínek and Spejbl – has been a favorite destination for children in Prague for the past 65 years. It is home to the country’s most popular puppets, father Spejbl and his son Hurvínek. The Dejvice theater just returned to its original location that was closed down for two years due to renovation. Sarah Borufka visited the new space and even met the voice behind the puppets.
The 12th annual Prague Fringe Festival begins on Friday evening in the Czech capital. As always, the fest offers a wide range of theatre from all around the world. Prague-based playwright Stuart Mentha, following on the success of his debut, Déjà Vu, last year, is also back. Friday sees the premiere of his new play ‘False Friends’. He told us more about it at Czech Radio this week.
Prague gas workers checked for potential gas leaks across the city over the course of Monday following an explosion in the capital that damaged buildings near the National Theatre earlier this month and injured around 40 people. The amount of an olfactory indicator added to natural gas has been doubled to help residents detect leaks. Anyone in Prague suspecting a leak should call line 1239.
A strong explosion rocked a building and surroundings in Divadelní Street in Prague’s Old Town near the Smetana embankment on Monday morning, blowing out windows and sending debris into the streets. Response teams including fire fighters, ambulance crews and police arrived at the scene within minutes. The explosion, thought to have been caused by a gas leak, injured 43 people, at least one of them seriously. A good number were treated in hospital. Many of the injuries were cuts from broken glass. Initially there were fears that individuals could be buried under rubble at the site: but a search found no one, nor is anyone unaccounted for, the city's police chief confirmed. Both the Motol and Vojenská hospitals during the morning set aside scheduled operations to provide additional emergency assistance, if needed.
Students, lecturers and other staff at the FAMU film school and Charles University’s Faculty of Social Sciences, both located in the direct vicinity of Divadlení 5 where Monday’s explosion took place, were among those evacuated from the area. According to the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Jakub Končelík, between 300 and 400 students were evacuated from the building. The film academy had windows broken in the blast and was also emptied. Staff and visitors were also evacuated from the nearby National Theatre and the Academy of Sciences. The shockwave reached as far as the National Theatre, shattering some glass at the theatre’s Nová scéna (New Stage). Students were among the first to post photos and news of the accident on the social networks.
A two-kilometre stretch of the Prague embankment – from the Smetana
embankment to Palach Square – as well as Narodní třída and smaller
streets in the surrounding area, have been closed to traffic. There were
several reports over the course of Monday morning that gas could be
detected in the air, and several sources said there was a danger of an
explosion taking place, leading to an evacuation of locals and bystanders.
In the afternoon, traffic on the Smetana embankment was allowed to resume but only briefly after more gas was registered by a monitoring vehicle. City Hall has set up a crisis hotline – 800 100 991 – for those needing assistance and is ready to set up a shelter, if necessary. The building in question was not residential, however, housing mostly offices.
My guest today is Marketa Goetz Stankiewicz, a professor emerita at the University of British Columbia. Born in 1927 in the Czech town of Liberec, Marketa left Czechoslovakia following the communist putsch in 1948. She established herself in Canada as a professor of comparative literature, author and essayist, focusing in particular on publishing samizdat literature, and also writing about the work of Czech playwrights such as Pavel Kohout, Josef Topol, Ivan Klíma, and her friend the former president Václav Havel.
The Czech Actors' Association is to present the prestigious annual Thalia Awards at Prague’s National Theatre on Saturday night. The awards are given in recognition of exceptional performances in the fields of drama, opera and ballet as well as for lifetime achievement. Actors from Prague theatre houses have nine nominations, Ostrava has seven nominees, Brno five and Plzen two.
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