Kus: Česka 2018 / Ein Stück: Tschechien 2018

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From the end of May till mid-July 2018 the 3rd festival of contemporary Czech drama took place in Berlin and it was organized by the forum for translation and theatre Drama Panorama: Forum für Übersetzung und Theater in cooperation with the Arts and Theatre Institute and Czech Centre Berlin. The festival offered the audiences in Berlin two guest performances and stage reading of three theatre plays. There is a new generation of playwrights working in the Czech Republic, whose texts are topical in the European context, yet they are not very well-known abroad.

The festival opened with the Studio Hrdinů’s cult production Actor and Carpenter Majer Speaks about the State of His Homeland written by renowned Czech writer David Zábranský with the production taking place on 26th May in Theatre Aufbau Kreuzberg in Berlin. Stanislav Majer received the Theatre Critics’ Award 2016 for his performance in the play, while the production has become a frequently discussed topic in Czech theatre and media environment last year and the author provokes with his analyses of the attitudes of Czech social elites.

Three contemporary Czech plays were presented at stage reading in Czech Centre Gallery in Berlin on 6th June. David Drábek, one of the most famous Czech comedy authors, presented his play The Shot, a grotesque deconstruction of the myth of a successful socialist sport career; René Levínský, the chameleon of Czech drama, hailed as “the Czech Stoppard” by Czech theatre critics, presented his play Nawratilowa, Szymczykowa, in which two women take a journey into the Czech- German past, guided by the stories behind their tattoos; Roman Sikora, the master of contemporary political grotesque, introduced his latest play The Chateau on the Loire, a satire of the Czech political situation portraying the Czech social and political situation in the dialogues of three footmen who imprisoned the wife of a top-ranking Czech politician at the French rococo chateau. Sikora’s play won the main prize in the dramatic competition of Talking About Borders competition organized by Staatstheater Nürberg in 2017 and celebrated its world premiere there.

The stage reading event also presented the launch of the new anthology of contemporary Czech drama Von Masochisten und Mamma-Guerillas (edited by Barbora Schnelle in cooperation with Henning Bochert, Berlin: Neofelis 2018). The book is the first volume of the Drama Panorama series, which started as a partnership of Drama Panorama and Neofelis Verlag publishing house. It presents nine contemporary dramas written by Czech playwrights.

The Czech production of 2016 Olga: Horrors from Hrádeček staged by LETÍ Theatre arrived in Theater Aufbau Kreuzberg in Berlin. Based on young Czech playwright Anna Saavedra’s play, director Martina Schlegelová created a sitcom-like tragicomic production dedicated to president Václav Havel’s first wife. She portrays the story of Olga’s life bearing in mind historical irony and absurdity as she gets even with the time before and after 1989. Pavlína Štorková, the main actress, was awarded the Theatre Critics’ Award for the best actress of 2016 for her role of Olga.