The Czech theatre group Vlastenecka Omladina, or Patriotic Youth, was founded 120 years ago in Vienna. It performs two productions annually for the Czech-speaking minority in Austria. But this week audiences in Prague also have the chance to enjoy its work, as the group takes part in a mini-festival entitled Open Arms 2006.
Theatre director Pavla Dombrovska has long been fascinated by Romany culture; inspired by the vigorous, joyful and often tragic tone of Gypsy music, and enthralled by this people's storytelling tradition. So she set out to adapt for the theatre a collection of Romany folktales: they were compiled - or rather, lovingly transcribed - by the noted scholar Dr Milena Hubschmannova, in the '60s and early '70s. But the play got off to a difficult start: Dombrovska was shocked to find how little she really understood of these "naïve" fairytales, and how
The Jezek and Cisek theatre here in Prague is most unusual in that all of its members either are homeless or have spent time on the streets in the past. Its dramaturg, or artistic director, is a young man called Petr Sourek. I caught up with Petr after a recent show at Prague's NoD club, and began by asking him to tell me a bit about the history of the Jezek and Cisek theatre group.
Just a month ago former First Lady Dagmar Havlova - wife of playwright and ex-president Vaclav Havel - admitted she was suffering serious health problems - with her thyroid gland and her heart - requiring quiet and rest. That clearly hasn't prevented the former First Lady from going ahead with plans to return to the stage: in the spring she will appear in a tragicomedy written by US playwright Israel Horovitz. It will be the first time theatre fans will be able to see the actress on stage since 1997.
Every first Thursday of the month the Czech Center in New York hosts an informal party called DOH-BREE DEHN, a phonetic transcription of the Czech for 'hello'. This month New York artist, Eleanor Dubinsky, presented a video installation taking public transport as its inspiration. The images were projected on multiple screens of subway trains from New York City and Prague and accompanied by Ms. Dubinsky's live performance, using dance, cello and voice. The piece is entitled 'Transit', and she was first inspired to create the work while she was living
One of Prague's most venerable theatres is celebrating its 90th birthday this week. From playing host to such stars as Jan Werich and Jiri Voskovec in the 1930s to Helena Vondrackova and Marta Kubisova in the 1960s, the Rokoko theatre has always had a reputation for providing top-quality entertainment for Prague audiences. Nevertheless, despite the festive atmosphere surrounding its anniversary celebrations, the curtain seems set to fall in this theatre for the last time.
Even in his youth, Vitezslav Jandak was a character actor, resigned to playing second fiddle to the leading man. In the immensely popular film "Tri Orisky Pro Popelku" (1973) - the Czechs' take on Cinderella -- Jandak plays a bumbling fool attending the handsome prince on a hunting trip. Thirty years later and just shy of 100 days into his role as Culture Minister, Jandak -- with his bulbous nose, protruding belly and receding hairline -- has become the nation's most popular politician.
Former president Vaclav Havel has said he is hard at work on a new play. His last wrote a play in 1988, the year before the Velvet Revolution which swept him into office. Mr Havel stepped down as president in February 2003. Before entering politics, he wrote fifteen plays for the theatre. Mr Havel said that, like "all of his previous work," the new play would explore the nature of human identity and address themes of morality and accountability.
A replica of England's famous Elizabethan-era Globe theatre burnt to the ground on Saturday. The round wooden structure, a faithful duplicate of the theatre where many of William Shakespeare's plays were first performed, was built on the Holesovice fairgrounds of Prague in 1999. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
Under communism it was practically impossible to be homeless in this country. Since the 1989 revolution that has changed dramatically, with one survey finding there were over 3,000 people living on the streets in the capital alone. For the down and out, getting back on their feet is no easy task. But for a few years now a Prague theatre group has been helping the homeless regain some self-esteem, and a semblance of normality. On Monday it premiered a new play.
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