The first year of what looks set to become the biggest annual theatrical event in the country launched at the weekend. The nine-day Theatre World Festival in Brno will feature ensembles from a dozen countries. However, the main attraction comes from the Czech Republic, in the form of the complete works of playwright-president Václav Havel, some of which will receive their world premiere.
One of the greats of Czech film and theatre, Ladislav Smoljak, died at the age of 78 at the weekend. As a director, screenwriter and actor, Smoljak, brought his special humour to the stage and screen over more than four decades. He will perhaps be best remembered as one of the creators of the fictional Czech character Jára Cimrman.
Former Czech president Václav Havel was applauded before and at the end of the US premiere of his latest play “Leaving” at Philadelphia’s Wilma Theatre on Thursday night. The former dissident and first non-Communist president after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 attended the premiere with wife, Dagmar. In the audience were former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and singer Suzanne Vega. During the afternoon Havel took part in a discussion about the play which was attended by the main actors including male lead, Oscar-nominated David Strathairn. Theatre director Jiří Žižka, who is also directing the play, said he first became interested in theatre at the age of 15 after seeing a performance of a play by Václav Havel in Prague. Tickets for the performance have been sold out for several weeks, the theatre is considered one of the city’s best. Mr. Havel will be returning to the Czech Republic after the premiere and a three-week stay in the US.
The Nové divadlo (New Czech Theatre) was established in the Canadian city of Toronto in 1970. Since then it has enjoyed several high points: the great actor Jiří Voskovec appeared in one production, Josef Škvorecký wrote a play for the amateur group and it staged the world premiere of the Czech language version of Václav Havel’s Temptation. Recently the New Czech Theatre received an award from the Czech Foreign Ministry for its work in promoting the good name of its founders’ native country. After the ceremony, I spoke about its beginnings with
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.
It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since the Forman brothers’ Loď Tajemství (Mystery Boat), an avant garde theatre with performances held on an 84-metre long barge, first set out on the Vltava River. But over that period, the theatre, which runs from May through October, has become a Prague favorite. The 10th season has promised shows not only by the Forman brothers but close partners Theatre Aqualung and Dno (The Bottom), as well as international performers.
Former Czech president Václav Havel, a playwright by profession, will attend the US premiere of his play Leaving on May 26, the Czech news agency has reported, saying he will accompanied by his wife Dagmar, and his personal secretary. The play is to premiere in the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia. The main role is to be performed by actor David Strathairn. According to ČTK, the theatre, which is managed by a Czech-born couple, is one of the more respected in the US. The play Leaving by Mr Havel focuses on the difficulty of a politician’s giving up power after many years in office. Later this year, a film version, shot in the Czech Republic and directed by Mr Havel, is expected to go into production.
Former Czech president Václav Havel has told Czech TV that the filming of his play Leaving should begin in June and that the feature film would most likely premiere in Czech cinemas next March. The play, which examines the difficulty of giving up power, will star Mr Havel’s wife Dagmar as well as other well-known actors: Josef Abrhám, Jaroslav Dušek, and Eva Holubová. The play Leaving premiered at Prague’s Archa Theatre two years ago and has also seen foreign productions and translations into numerous languages. The screen version will mark Mr Havel’s debut as a film director.
After two years of reconstruction, Prague’s famed marionette theatre “Divadlo Spejbla a Hurvínka” is reopening its doors on Thursday. The newly renovated location is the home of the Czech Republic’s most famous puppets, the father-son pair of Spejbl and Hurvínek, and will also feature a puppet museum. Sarah Borufka reports.
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