This issue’s instalment in the series of Miroslav Petříček’s essays is entitled “Portraits of Time and Signals of Stars” and it is accompanied by an extract from George Kubler’s book “The Shape of Time”. In the section “Time… for Herostratuses” this is supplemented with essays by Marie Reslová on František Skála’s exhibition The Riding School (“How František Skála Has Saddled Up the National Gallery”), Cristian Barcellos on a remarkable slash between reality and fiction (“Tatu Moderno”) and an annotated documentary with a similar subject matter – “Physical Theatre (In a Wax Sculptures Museum)”. The section “The Magic… of Sinking In” is devoted in its entirety to a project of the immersive theatre Pomezí. It consists of the “SAD survey” entitled “On the Borderline of Theatre”, Kateřina Veselovská’s review (“To Feel a Space”), an interview with the authors of the production Lukáš Brychta, Štěpán Tretiag and Kateřina Součková (“Interaction of Attraction”) and a short review of a recent project by the same authors – Please Do Not Touch! (Karel Král: “The Father of the Nation and His Children”). In the section “Germany… Pluralist”, Dominika Široká writes in her essay “To Play or to Perform! Above All Collectively!” about a production of Schiller’s Robbers directed at Munich’s Rezidenztheater by Ulrich Rasche and about a project Point of No Return, prepared by Yael Ronen with actors of the Münchner Kammerspiele. In the section “World… Opera Hits”, Josef Červenka (“Three Hits”) writes about three productions by the Slovak National Theatre Opera: Puccini’s Triptych directed by Roman Polák under the musical direction of Rastislav Štúr, Vivaldi’s Arsilda directed by David Radok and conductor Václav Luks, and Jacques Fromental Halévy’s La Juive directed by Peter Konwitschny and conducted by Robert Jindra. In the following essay, Michaela Mojžišová also deals with Peter Konwitschny’s productions and writes about Strauss’s Elektra at the Oper Stuttgart (conductor Ulf Schirmer) and Peer Gynt by Werner Egk at the Theater an der Wien (conductor Leo Hussain). In the section “England… Talks, Sings and Dances”, Jan Šotkovský writes in his essay “Genie, Singer and Boots (Between the Story and the Show)” about the musicals Aladdin by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin, Dreamgirls by Tom Eyen and Henry Krieger (both productions in direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw) and Kinky Boots by Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper (direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell). In his essay “On Collapse and Ecology”, Michal Zahálka reviews the productions Red Barn by David Hare and directed by Robert Icke (National Theatre – Lyttleton), Oil by Ella Hickson directed by Carrie Cracknell (Almeida Theatre), Lucy Kirwood’s Children directed by James Macdonald (Royal Court Theatre), and David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s musical Lazarus directed at the King’s Cross Theatre by Ivo van Hove. The section closes with Dana Silbiger Sliuk’s essay “Two Stories about Jealousy” in which she writes about two Shakespearean productions: Othello directed by Richard Twyman at Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and The Winter’s Tale staged by Cheek by Jowl and directed by Declan Donnellan. Vladimír Mikulka’s essay “Those Others and Harry” provides an outline of the play of the issue, which is Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen translated by Ondřej Pilný. Mikulka writes about three productions of this latest play by McDonagh – at the Činoherní klub of Prague, directed (and exceptionally also translated) by Ondřej Sokol, at the Jihočeské divadlo České Budějovice, directed by Martina Schlegelová, and at the Klicperovo divadlo Hradec Králové, directed by Jan Frič. Hubert Krejčí’s playlet in the “Comedy Mix” section is entitled Chrudim’s Impression (The Monologue in the Eastern Bohemia Vernacular) and the ninth instalment of the comic strip “Theatre Sadism Lessons” by S.d.Ch. is entitled HP Simplified.
Pomezí Project The section of essays entitled “The Magic… of Sinking In” is dedicated to immersive theatre, particularly to the production Pomezí (Borderline), which captivated both spectators and critics (the Award for the Best Set Design of 2016). The production takes place in many rooms of a three-storey building where an uncanny world of a small border town is created. Spectators can choose whether they follow some of characters or wander through the house as they will. The first is the survey “On the Borderline of Theatre” in which critics deal with the problem of to what degree the performance is theatre or drama and whether it is possible to re-tell its story. In her essay “To Feel a Space” Kateřina Veselovská reflects on the production and compares it to the work of the Punchdrunk group which was the original inspiration. A personal view of their work and this kind of theatre reveal its authors, the directors Lukáš Brychta and Štěpán Tretiag together with the dramatic advisor Kateřina Součková, in an interview entitled “Interaction of Attraction”. They discuss many themes: for example their first immersive production The Aviator dedicated to Saint-Exupéry and his women; the careless or marketing use of the term “immersive theatre”; novels by John Fowles and the Twin Peaks series which were one of their sources of inspiration; that they did not want the story of Pomezí to be resolved; the borderline of interplay with the spectators; and forthcoming projects. The section closes with a reflection written immediately after the première. Karel Král in his essay “The Father of the Nation and His Children” writes about a project Please Do Not Touch! taking place in a former apartment, now a museum of the Czech scientists and politicians of the 19th century, František Palacký and František Ladislav Rieger. Spectators divided into groups find out about Rieger’s daughter, his son and his fiancée and their relationship problems. Socio-political themes remain somewhat in the margins although Palacký’s ideas could inspire a discussion about flattering autocracies, the European Union or the belief that the Truth prevails.