„I love my life so much I sometimes feel I will suffocate.“
The performance is based on short stories by Finnish novelist and playwright Rosa Liksom, which are characterised by black humour and insight into the tangled fates of the main characters. A policeman who barely manages to arrive at the scene of a crime while sober; a burnt-out priest who is fed up with our petty, everyday sins; Finland’s fattest woman who is proud of every ounce of her… These and many other outsiders, who are usually not listened to and who remain hidden in the shadows, in the dirty side streets of the big city or in the desolate countryside, get their say in short, tragicomic stories. An original collage with a strong musical component represented by a live band composed of actors and employees of Divadlo Na zábradlí captures a comic, absurd world where no one knows what the next day will bring, and where we have no choice but to laugh at the merciless games of fate.
About the company:
Divadlo Na zábradlí (Theatre on the Balustrade) was founded in 1958. Over a short period of time, the theatre has become a multi-generational venue with a uniquely intimate atmosphere and a loyal audience base. In 1959, the drama ensemble was joined by Ladislav Fialka’s pantomime troupe, which drew inspiration from the work of the French mime Marcel Marceau, who later took part in the International Pantomime Festival (Mezinárodní festival pantomime) held at Divadlo Na zábradlí. The pantomime ensemble was active at the theatre until 1994, when – three years after the death of Fialka – it finally ceased operations.
In 1962, Jan Grossman was named the artistic director of the theatre and, along with stagehand-turned-dramaturg and playwright Václav Havel and stage designer Libor Fára, he began to develop a Czech brand of absurdist theatre at Divadlo Na zábradlí. In addition to the world premieres of Václav Havel’s plays, the 1960s saw the production of works by the most important absurdist playwrights, such as Eugène Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano (Plešatá zpěvačka, 1963), Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (Čekání na Godota, 1965) and the famous, internationally recognised production of Alfred Jarry’s King Ubu (Král Ubu) directed by Jan Grossman and starring Jan Libíček in the title role.
In the 1970s, the theatre offered asylum to renowned directors of the so-called Czech New Wave, such as Juraj Herz, Jiří Menzel, Jaromil Jireš, Jan Kačer, Ivan Rajmont and Evald Schorm, who faced bans on their activities. Political pressure eased with the end of the 1980s and a new era at Na zábradlí began in 1993, under the leadership of Doubravka Svobodová and artistic director Petr Lébl. After Lébl's tragic death in 1999, a number of important Czech directors worked at Divadlo Na zábradlí, including Jiří Pokorný, Jan Antonín Pitínský, Jan Nebeský, Jiří Havelka, Jan Frič, Juraj Nvota and David Czesany.
Since the 2013/14 season, the theatre has been led by Petr Štědroň (director), Dora Viceníková (artistic director) and Jan Mikulášek (in-house theatre director). Their dramaturgy foregrounds original productions, dramatisations of novels and radical interpretations of the classics. Divadlo Na zábradlí is a key venue on the Prague theatre map, presenting four premieres per year and making regular guest appearances at domestic and international venues and festivals. The theatre regularly performs in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Germany, as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Colombia, the USA and other countries.