The Phantom of the Stadium
THE PHANTOM OF THE STADIUM
The plot of the play is not presented chronologically, but in reverse order. The main character hates detective stories and is afraid of them. Everything begins in 1938 at a newly opened Strahov stadium, where the gathering of Czech gymnastic organization Sokol is about to start. We learn about this from a radio reportage by two presenters: Czech Karel and Slovak Ján. A new sport is to be introduced – figure skating. Figure skater Vera Bauman is very late and when she finally arrives, she is covered in blood. She was kidnapped into the catacombs of the stadium by the Phantom of the Stadium. The disfigured hero wants to skate with her, but Vera’s coach Emil turns up and stabs him. In the next scene we return back in time. Vera was supposed to dance with Zdenek, a self-centred eccentric. In contrast to Vera, he is not Jewish, he is circumcised only to enhance the aerodynamics of his pirouettes. He energizes himself for the performance by pricking his nipples with a brush. But when he is supposed to lift Vera up, he fails to hold her. Vera feels as if she is being watched by someone from above. The Phantom appears, puts Vera to sleep and drags her away. We then continue in the backward journey through time to the moment when the coach accepted the then 14-year-old Vera to train her. The plot then returns to the situation when the coach attacked the Phantom. It turns out now that Vera, who was protecting the Phantom, killed her coach in affect. When she runs upstairs covered in blood, she is followed by the Phantom: he dances with her and then he dies. The presenters conclude that figure skating will become fashionable and that now all Jews have bright future ahead of them.