The legendary Czech experimental theatre revolution, Laterna Magika, is marking its 60th anniversary. Combining black light theatre, film and dance, the revolutionary concept premiered at the Expo 1968 exhibition in Brussels has since performed all around the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Summer Olympics in Athens.
The Czech Actors' Association presented 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.
Tereza Dočkalová and Daniel Bambas picked up the main prizes in the drama category, the former for her lead role in Ibsen’s Nora, the latter for his performance in the play Beauty. Maida Hundelingová won in the opera category.
Lifetime achievement awards were handed out to actor Petr Kostka, puppeteer Bohuslav Šulc and the founder of the Prague Black Light Theatre Jiří Srnec, among others.
On August 25th, 1968, just four days after Russian tanks rolled through Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring reform movement, eight brave Russians staged a daring protest on Moscow’s Red Square, unfurling banners that read “Hands off Czechoslovakia!” and “Shame to the Invaders!”. They were quickly surrounded by communist police, beaten up and arrested. Most of them spent years locked up in prison, labour camps or in psychiatric institutions.
Prague police were called out to Prague’s National Theatre on Friday
evening following a suicide threat, the Czech News Agency reported. A woman
had phoned a helpline saying that she intended to kill herself during a
performance of the opera Carmen at the historic venue.
The woman later called again saying she was no longer planning to take her life. The opera was not cancelled but the presence of numerous uniformed police officers drew a great deal of attention from audience members. A police spokesperson described it as an “unusual and complicated situation”.
Number of theatres in the Czech Republic has tripled since the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and about twice as many performances take place each year, the Czech News Agency reported on Saturday, referring to the data by The National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture. The number of theatre-goers has increased from 4.3 million in 1993 to about six million last year. Last year, there were 189 permanent theatres in the Czech Republic which featured nearly 31,000 performances.
A dramatisation of Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by the
Belarus-born Svetlana Alexievich gets its premiere in Prague on Tuesday
evening. The piece has been created by the Spitfire Company and is being
performed at the Jatka 78 venue.
Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2015 for her groundbreaking work recording the testimonies of people in the former Soviet Union. The production of Secondhand Time marks 10 years of existence for the experimental Spitfire Group.
The opera singer Gabriela Beňačková has been inducted into a new Hall of
Fame at the National Theatre in Prague on Thursday.
Beňačková, who is 70 years old, is the third person honoured in this way. She was preceeded by actor Vlasta Charmostová and ballet dancer Vlastimil Harapes.
Beňačková specializes in the music of her compatriots, notably Bedřich Smetana and Leoš Janáček and is considered to be one of the greatest 'Jenůfa's' in Janáček's opera of the same name.
Speaking at Thursday’s induction ceremony, the head of the national Theathre Jan Burian highlighted Beňačková’s succesfull international career.
The Czech Republic on Thursday marked the 602nd anniversary of the burning at stake of reformer priest Jan Hus with numerous events highlighting his legacy. Masses were celebrated around the country, among others in Jan Hus’ birthplace Husinec and at Bethlehem chapel in Prague, where the reformer priest preached. The chapel had a new bell cast in Hus’ memory on the 600th anniversary of his martyr’s death at the stake and a special installation was unveiled on the side wall of the chapel –a sign reading For the Truth which can only be seen in sunny weather –a reminder of the fact that the truth is sometimes hidden. The events linked to the anniversary included theatre performances, debates, music concerts and film screenings dedicated to the reformer priest.
After a pause of ten years, the Forman brothers have returned to Prague with a new show called Deadtown, inspired by the Wild West. The Belgian minister of culture hailed the performance, saying it was better than anything she had seen at the Cannes film festival this year. With the Czech premiere of Deadtown the Forman brothers have also launched their new festival called Arena, which will run at Prague’s Smíchov embankment until Sunday.