After a break of 18 years, the playwright and former Czech president Vaclav Havel has finally finished a long-awaited new play. Called Odchazeni (Leaving), it has been receiving some perhaps unwelcome coverage in the media. After a few months of talks with the Czech National Theatre, Mr Havel has now decided to withdraw his play from the theatre, because it refused to cast his wife Dagmar Havlova in the main role.
The story of Faust, the doctor who makes a pact with the devil in his pursuit of knowledge, has captured the imagination of some of the great Czech dramatists. In 1985, Vaclav Havel tackled the legend in his play Temptation, or Pokouseni, as it is known in Czech. Just under a decade later, animator Jan Svankmajer tried his hand at the story, producing a grotesque feature-film called Lekce Faust.
Productions of Faust are not hard to come by in Prague. It is a staple of the city's black light theatres, and posters advertising a high-profile production of the play earlier this summer can still be seen all over the town. But, on Wednesday night a production of the play with a difference was premiered. Rosie Johnston has the details:
Only a few blocks away from the Old Town Square is the oldest permanent puppet theatre in the Czech Republic. It is called Rise loutek (Kingdom of Puppets in English) and despite its fame and a tradition of almost 80 years it has always been largely made up of amateurs. Currently, Rise loutek has about 40 members, performs every Saturday and Sunday, and premiers two pieces per season. Klara Lichtagova has been with the theatre for eighteen years.
The outdoor Summer Shakespeare Festival at Prague Castle has been a great success in recent years. However, it is not the only such seasonal theatrical experience available to audiences in the city; Prague's Vysehrad, one of the most important locations in the history of the Czech nation, has recently being playing host to its own summer theatre project called Faust in Gorlice. Dita Salavova has more.
On Thursday, the Prague Quadrennial International Competitive Exhibition of Scenography and Theatre Architecture opened its doors to the public. The exhibition introduces visitors to the most up-to-date theatrical creations from all corners of the world. Up to 40 daily live events and activities will be held on the streets of Prague to accompany the ten-day event.
The Czech premiere of Tom Stoppard's recent play Rock 'N' Roll was one of the big literary and social events of the year, attended not just by the playwright himself, but also by many prominent former Czech dissidents. The level of interest was not just because Tom Stoppard is of Czech origin, born in Zlin in 1937, but also because of the very Czech subject matter of the play.
The English-speaking community in Prague has few chances to see drama performed in English. But this is just about to change, as The Prague Post - the country's leading English-language newspaper - has decided to encourage English-language theatre in the city, and founded its own festival of short plays.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events