There are various marionette theatres in the Czech Republic but few which enjoy as cutting edge a reputation as Buchty a Loutky (Cake & Puppets), a troupe founded in Prague in the early 1990s which took Czech theatre in new directions. The group’s name is a take on the famous Bread & Puppet Theatre based in the US since the 1960s, known for serving free bread to the audience as a means of creating community. One of the group’s founders, Marek Becka, explains naming his troupe Buchty a Loutky was a bit of a joke, not without a measure of irony.
Babicka or The Grandmother by Bozena Nemcova is unquestionably one of the icons of Czech literature and, as a regular item on school reading lists, it is known to literally every Czech child. Published in 1855, the book saw more than 350 editions, dozens of theatre productions and several film adaptations. Now, for the first time ever, an adaptation of Babicka has reached the stage of the Czech National Theatre.
When Vaclav Havel stepped down as president after three terms in office he said he was planning to return to his creative roots. His first play in two decades –called “Leaving” or “Odchazeni” in Czech – draws on his experience in the world of politics and has generated a lot of media attention. Prague’s top theatres jockeyed for the honour of presenting it but finding the right stage for Mr Havel’s new play has not proved easy.
It was the literary headline of the year, when Vaclav Havel’s first play for nearly two decades was published a few weeks ago and we can be every bit as sure that the first performance of the play next year at Prague’s Na Vinohradech Theatre, will be a huge event. When Havel became president after the spectacular fall of the communist regime in 1989, many predicted that he would never write again. The new play “Odchazeni” (Leaving) proves them wrong. Not only has Havel shown that he can still write, but he has also drawn directly from his political
Prague’s National Theatre is one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic. Located by the River Vltava at the end of Narodni trida, the 19th century Neo-Renaissance building, with its distinctive gilded cupola, is also one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. But today it is landmark in need of a facelift. Some work has already begun on the roof, while the main reconstruction work on its facades will get underway in around a year and a half’s time.
Vaclav Havel was back in his original role as playwright on Wednesday, when, at a theatre in Prague, the former Czech president presented the book form of "Odchazeni", or "Leaving". The long awaited and widely discussed play will appear in the bookshops in less than a two week's time. However, Mr Havel's first new play in 18 years will not be premiered until the end of May or the beginning of June.
There are few comedians in the Czech Republic of such high calibre as Petr Ctvrtnicek (known for his antics in a now legendary satiric show Czech Soda) and Jiri Labus of the Ypsilon Theatre. A few years ago the two teamed up to perform in Ctvrnicek's play Ivanek, Buddy, can You Talk? which the duo recently took on a tour of Czech prisons. Now, they've scheduled two special performances at a Prague courthouse, with the proceeds going to the Confederation of Political Prisoners. The aim is to raise at least 100,000 crowns for those who suffered under
According to reports, a new play by former president Vaclav Havel, called The Leaving, will have its world premiere at Prague's Vinohrady theatre. The play is to be directed by David Radok, while Mr Havel's wife Dagmar, an actress by profession, will appear in the lead role, which Mr Havel wrote specifically for her. The agency behind the play, which has signed a contract with Vinohrady theatre, will now pursue the Czech-born US-based actor Jan Triska for another of the leads. The play is expected to premiere in May or June of 2008. The Vinohrady theatre picked up Mr Havel's play after negotiations with Prague's National Theatre met with failure earlier this month.
A trip to the theatre in the Czech Republic has long been within the reach
of ordinary people, and in Prague alone, there are scores of theatres to
account for all tastes. Theatre is not just the conversation topic of the
intellectual elite, but something you will hear discussed by many Czechs
down the pub. Why? It could be to do with ticket prices being affordable
most. And why can most people afford to buy a theatre ticket? Perhaps
because there is a strong tradition of the state funding the theatre.
Though all this could be about to
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“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery