The first issue of the year publishes the complete results of the traditional critical survey that forms the basis of the Theatre Critics’ Awards (q. v.). Miroslav Petříček’s essay “The Psychology of Fashion” starts a new series and this first instalment is accompanied by an extract from the homonymous sociological study by Georg Simmel. Loosely connected to this is another of this year’s series by Karel Haloun, “Pictures and Typeface in Public Spaces (or Tidings of Streets, Squares, Carriages, Subways and Toilets)”, dedicated to forms that fall under the rather loose title of street art. Klaus Scharfschwerdt writes in his essay “Play on Play” about theatre offering spectators an opportunity to experience a particular role. The section “A Saga… and Live Speech” is – as a supplement to the survey – dedicated to the theatre in Czechia. In the essay “The Rise and Fall of the Lehman Family”, Markéta Polochová writes about the production of Stefano Massini’s play Dynasty at the Husa na Provázku theatre (directed by Michal Dočekal); Ivan Žáček in “The Opera Deceased in Lord’s Peace (The Funeral Should Be Ensured)” offers a critical analysis of the production of Michal Nejtek’s new opera Rules for Good Manners in the Modern World staged at the National Theatre Brno (libretto and direction by Jiří Adámek); in her essay “Even Too Much Wood Can Cause Harm”, Ester Žantovská appraises productions from the most recent festival One Flew Over the Puppeteers’ Nest, and in the review “A Biased Letter to the Director (As a Document on a Student Performance)” S.d.Ch. is delighted to reflect on a production of Peter Handke’s play A Walk about the Villages by students of the Theatre Academy Prague (directed by David Pizinger). “The Curse… of Polish Theatre” opens with Vladimír Mikulka’s essay “So This is the End of Theatre” in which he reflects on two productions at last year’s Palm Off Fest in Prague: Thomas Bernhard’s Histrionics from Łódź (directed by Agnieszka Olsten) and The Curse, staged at Teatr Powszechny by Oliver Frljić – this scandalous production in Poland took first place in the category of the Best Foreign Theatre Experience of the Year in the survey by Czech critics. The essay is followed by an interview “We Want to be a Theatre of Dialogue” with the directors of Teatr Powszechny Warsaw, Paweł Łysak and Paweł Sztarbowski. “The German Light… and Collective Dreaming” includes a review of several productions from the 22nd Prague Festival of German Language Theatre (Petra Zachatá: “Quo Vadis, Europe?”) and a write-up on the latest production by Daniel Wetzel and Rimini Protokoll Dreaming Collectives. Tapping Sheep (State 3) staged at Staatsschauspiel Dresden (Tereza Pavelková: “Collective Dreaming about 2047”). Within the section “In India Women… and One Elephant”, Barbora Etlíková writes about the IAPAR (International Association for Performing Arts and Research) festival in Pune in India (“Through Pune into Other Times and Spaces”). The closing section entitled “À Propos… The Divided Land” foreshadows short plays about Brexit (by David Hare, Abi Morgan, James Graham, Meera Syal and A. L. Kennedy), which are published within this issue. Ester Žantovská in her essay “To Stay or to Leave (Brexit in Nine Ways)” looks at all the monologues on the theme of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union commissioned by the British daily The Guardian and the Headlong Theatre Company, and their film versions. The “Comedy Mix” brings the first of Petr Vydra’s short stories (In the Train) and the first instalment of a new comic strip Titanium Stalks by Egon Tobiáš. The Kaleidoscope of Brief News from the World, the Contents of 2017 editions and the Errata are also included.
The Theatre Critics’ Awards The Awards are a continuation of the former Alfréd Radok Awards. They are traditionally based on the sums of votes in a survey held by the Svět a divadlo (World and Theatre) magazine (80 critics participated this year). In a break with tradition, there are three Best Productions of the Year: an expressive adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the author and director David Jařab at the Divadlo na Zábradlí (Theatre on the Balustrade) in “basic English” and entitled Macbeth – Too Much Blood (see SAD 5/2017, Rubeš: “Macbeth in Prague…”); Alois Jirásek’s Lantern (Lucerna) directed by Hana Burešová and staged at the Divadlo v Dlouhé (see SAD 5/2017, Škorpil: “The House is Sold Out”), and Jan Nebeský’s production of The Thief’s Journal staged by the Masopust Theatre and linking a text by Jean Genet with a poem by the baroque Jesuit author Bedřich Bridel (see SAD 6/2017, Žantovská: “To Sing Out an Artist’s Soul”). The latter production was the most successful in this year’s Theatre Critics’ Awards because it won acknowledgement for its lead Miloslav König as Best Actor of the Year and for the composer Martin Dohnal (present on the stage) the award for the Best Music. The Best Actress category was won by Ivana Hloužková for her role of Emmi Kurowska in a production based on Fassbinder’s movie Fear Eats the Soul (directed by Jan Frič at the National Theatre Brno – Reduta). The Best Theatre of the Year is the Komorní scéna Aréna Ostrava, whose repertoire also includes the Best Play of the Year – Reconciliation by their dramaturge Tomáš Vůjtek, which is the final part of a trilogy (With Hope and without It, Hearing, Reconciliation) inspired by significant Czech events of the twentieth century. The award for the Best Set Design of the Year was carried off by Kamil Bělohlávek for the set design for the production by the Naive Theatre Liberec of There Are Places Cherished by Darkness where There is Never and Nothing Hiding on Remote Islands. The actress and singer Eva Hacurová was nominated by the critics as Talent of the Year (among other things, for her role of the Young Duchess in the winning Lantern).