This is not the subject of a Latin American soap opera or an endless series from a city periphery, but the fate of the young heroine of an ancient tragedy: her father murdered his own father, her grandfather, and slept with his mother. Hence with her own her mother. And therefore also with her grandmother. Her brothers kill each other, and one of the brothers is not allowed to be buried by her future father-in-law. And then her mother’s brother. Or her grandmother’s. Whichever. And it is not exactly easy with her sister, either. Or is her sister having problem with the herione? It’s hard to say… Oedipus complex, Psyche, Eros. Only the Xanax is not a Greek word, but it might as well be. Either way, walking up to the very threshold of adulthood with such a load on your back seems more like a Pyrrhic victory. What did she do to deserve it? Why could not she have been born into a normal family? Is there even a normal family?

The heroine would like to finally take her destiny into her own hands. But she is confronted with an absurd ban that brings back all the shadows of her family’s past. But why should she be the one to bear the weight of wrongs and misdeeds committed by someone else? It seems that in order to live a normal life at all, she has no choice but to fundamentally reassess her relationship to authority, to her parents, to those close to her, to the world and, ultimately, to herself.

Following the theatrical road-movie The Journey, devised reworking of the ancient myth based on the motives of Sophocles’ tragedy is the second of the new cycle of productions by the Drak Theatre aimed at teenage audiences. The production is co-produced by Městská divadla pražská

Foto Tomáš Roček

In the media:

“In the ‘theatre in a theatre’, Drak once again proves its greatest strength: a high standard of collective acting and musical versatility, the ability of instant animation, a feeling for timing and a sense of humour.   The instructive production of suppressed gestures, high emotions, real fire and steam from the sauna of responsibility for yourself and the family in which one finds oneself, without being asked, has a great chance to reach its audience and ignite interest in both antiquity and in theatrical imagination. I hope so for the audience and for Drak.”  Antigone has a chance to wow sensitive audiences, Petr Mareček, MF DNES, 21 May 2022 | rating 75%

“Antigone in DRAK is definitely not a literal adaptation of Sophocles’ play. The key situations are placed in a completely ordinary context that is close to us and thus the ancient heroes as performed by the individual actors appear completely authentic. Vašíček and Jarkovský have managed to find a theme in an ancient Greek myth tailored to their audience, to bring one of the oldest dramatic stories to the present day, all without losing that which makes ancient poetry so specific.” Veronika Švecová, Ancient teen dramedy, Puppeteer 2022-2

The Journey

The original The Journey production explores the theme of initiation journey which is present in American literature from Mark Twain and Jack London, through Jack Kerouac to Cormac McCarthy and its aim is to mediate this phenomenon (described e.g. by Joseph John Campbell) to current coming-of age audiences. Our hero (we call him Jack, referring to the duo of vagabond-authors London-Kerouac) is a literature student fed up with overly theoretical studies completely detached from real life and creativity. He is sick of conformist city life and predictable prospects rooted in the American dream. So he decides to escape such presence and future: he packs his stuff and hits the road. Hitchhiking, he meets his counterpart, Huck (echoing Huckelberry Finn, the first famous vagrant in history of American literature), a free-spirited, spontaneous homeless tramp. The two are joined by the third member – Carolyne, a girl who runs away from her fiancé and the upcoming wedding. The three set out for San Francisco – the westernmost outpost with the reputation of free paradise. Via the drivers giving them lift, they experience a rich portrayal of the society. They encounter pragmatism of an insurance agent, explicit racism of a Southern farmer, proud patriotism of a veteran, or a pensive fatalism of a Native American descendant. Simultaneously, they experience alcohol and drug intoxication; they develop erotic relationships as well as a firm spiritual bond which makes them determined to spend their entire life on tour. Yet, the originally playful fooling around grows into dangerous balancing on the verge of law as well as of self-destruction. They step over the borderline once and end up in prison, where they meet an old vagrant – an image of their possible future. This experience affects each of them differently, which ultimately leads to their separation. Therefore, they never reach San Francisco (which becomes their unfulfilled dream destination). Carolyne returns to her fiancé, Huck continues in his wanderings, whereas Jack sets out for a different, symbolic journey – a journey of his own creativity. In the media: “The Journey, the new production in the studio of Hradec Králové’s Drak Theatre from director Jakub Vašíček and dramaturge Tomáš Jarkovský, is highly playful and an actor’s and musician’s tour de force aimed at teenagers. It aims at them with American literature, music and the jazz poetry of the beat generation.” “It is perhaps better to not reveal the strength of some of the scenes on Kamil Bělohlávek’s stage, where the audience members sit across from each another, or the magic of Daniel Čámský’s musical motifs. The Journey can be highly recommended, and not only for school. It may be wishful thinking that the play would kindle interest in the students to read the American classics of the 50s and 60s, but it will definitely move sensitive souls to not only sit back and enjoy the ride, but mainly to experience every moment and bear the consequences for it.” Petr Mareček, MF DNES, 30.11.2019 | rating 80% “It is a piece that is as fizzy as champagne, while also as pungent as flat beer at times. Jarkovský and Vašíček, in cooperation with excellent musicians, manage to properly measure out the situations (…). The interactivity is entertaining, as is the free and playful atmosphere and subsequent sadness, when euphoria is followed by the dark side of drifting. And one more thing: Jazmina Piktorová is the literal embodiment of femininity and she is a wonderful singer. Yeah, I saw it a second time, and I would go again.” Jana Soprová, Bulletin of the 69th Loutkářská Chrudim Festival

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