Hundreds gathered outside Prague’s National Theatre on Sunday to witness an eight-hour-long protest against the way the arts are funded in the Czech capital. The event - comprising of performances, speeches and concerts staged by Czech stars - marked the opening of the ‘Dny neklidu’ (‘Days of Unrest’). The festival, which calls on Prague City Hall to change the way it deals out its culture budget, has been largely masterminded by actors and producers at the capital’s Švandovo Divadlo. I paid this Smíchov theatre a visit to talk to event organiser
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” The opening sentence of Franz Kafka’s story Metamorphosis is one of the most famous in world literature. But the writer himself will always be something of an enigma. Kafka was born in Prague in 1883 and spent nearly all his life in the city, dying at just 41 in a sanatorium near Vienna. A Kafka symposium was recently held in the Czech capital and one of the most interesting talks was given by the US-born Canadian academic, Anthony
Prague’s seventh annual Fringe Festival, a marathon of theatre, dance, comedy, music and film from around the world, gets underway in the Czech capital on Sunday. Running for eight days, it will offer 227 English, Czech or non-verbal shows performed by 39 companies. Steven Gove, the man behind the Prague Fringe Festival, told me what is on offer this year:
In this week's Arts, a look at the first new play by former Czech president Václav Havel in twenty years. "Leaving" - about a politician's painful adjustment to a new life after leaving politics - opened at Prague's Archa Theatre on May 22nd, marking a return to the stage for Mr Havel, a world-renowned playwright when he entered politics in 1989.
Last-minute rehearsals before the long-awaited world premiere of Václav Havel’s latest play at Prague’s Archa Theatre on Thursday night. Leaving or Odcházení, is the first play the former Czech president has written in more than two decades. It tells the story of a high-ranking politician who leaves his post and sees his world fall apart. The play is inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear and Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard and is about the passage of power from one generation to the next. The former dissident insists that it is not based on his own experiences,
Jaroslav Marvan was one of the most prolific Czech actors of all times with more than 150 film roles and many more theatre acts. He appeared in his first – silent – movie in 1926, and he made his last film in 1973, a year before he died. In this edition of Czechs in History we look at the extraordinary career of Jaroslav Marvan, a theatre and film star before the war as well as in communist Czechoslovakia.
The Czech and American governments have reached a deal under which a US radar base would be based in central Bohemia. With most Czechs opposed to the project, Prague’s American Center, part of the U.S. Embassy, has launched a photo exhibition entitled “Life with the Radar”. It documents life on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which hosts the radar facility that could one day be moved to the Czech Republic. Radio Prague talked to Miroslav Konvalina, the head of the American Center and a former Czech Radio correspondent in the United
In 1996, Mission: Impossible put the Czech Republic on the international map of film-making locations. It wasn’t just that the city provided a backdrop to much of the action in the film; it was also the fact that a major Hollywood production made use of the crew and facilities of the city’s Barrandov film studios –something that had been done with great effect in 1984 with Miloš Forman’s Amadeus. In the years that followed, Prague became an “A-list” location with everything from James Bond to Oliver Twist coming to the city. But today, a weak dollar
Meda Mládková is a Czech art collector who spent more than half of her life in exile, mostly in the United States. In 1968 she established a collection of Czech art which she brought to the US from behind the Iron Curtain. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Meda Mládková returned to Czechoslovakia and donated her entire collection to the country. I met Mrs Mládková in her museum on Prague’s Kampa Island and started by asking how she became involved in art collecting in the first place:
Anifest, a weeklong festival dedicated to animated film has fast become a firm fixture on the Czech cultural calendar since it was established seven years ago. This year’s event, which was held in the picturesque South Bohemian town of Třeboň, screened 320 films in various competitive categories as well as several animated works out of competition from all over the world.