Princess Turandot

Princess Turandot, the daughter of the Chinese Emperor, does not know what love is and does not want to get married under any circumstances. Thus she asks her father to ordain a cruel condition for all of her suitors. Whoever wants the hand of the princess has to guess three of her riddles otherwise he will lose his head. And the heads are rolling because Turandot is terribly clever. But is she wise, as well? And whatever will become of her meeting with the Czech lad Honza, who has also joined the ranks of her suitors and also therefore those who await an (almost) certain death?

Little Red Riding Hood

Once upon a time there was a little girl who wore a red bonnet on her head, and so everybody called her Little Red Riding Hood. One fine day she packed a basket full to bursting. Clothing, something to eat, a few trifles as keepsakes and her own story. Then she headed out on a trip to a completely foreign forest.

A Czech/Ukrainian production of the classic fairy tale than is well known by children and adults in both countries. There are two actors. Marina lives in Kyiv, Petr in Divec. Now they have come together in Hradec (which is not even close to being halfway) in order to tell the same story together. But Marina speaks Ukrainian and Petr Czech. And each knows that story a bit differently. It seems that if there is going to be a happy ending, they will have to learn how to make themselves understood.

Third Time’s A Charm…

The production Third Time’s A Charm… is a meant for the youngest audiences and is based on classic fairy tales as recorded by Karel Jaromír Erben, Božena Němcová and others. It is inspired by the celebrated tradition of folk puppet and fair theatres and the phenomenon of cantastoria, while looking for new, modern methods of expression for them. Thus we will be telling the trio of tales, in which the magic number three plays a triple role, similarly to how folk puppeteers have been doing it for centuries. But differently nonetheless…

What a challangel!

Imagine that one fine day an angel suddenly falls into your home. Right out of the blue. Just a moment ago he was flying somewhere above the clouds and suddenly he’s here. He doesn’t understand our world, he doesn’t know its rules, and he would like to return to where he came from. But how can he? How can we help him? Perhaps mother could tell us, but she somehow thinks we made the whole story up. But the angel is here. Everyone can see him, everyone can hear him, no one can overlook him. Or can they?  

A new production bordering on poetic physical theatre and clownish slapstick by the established creative trio of Riedlbauchová – Stránská – Čtvrtník, which has already prepared a successful and award-winning production Bedtime! for Drak Theatre. In their new production, apart from Petra Cicáková and Luděk Smadiš, who have already abundantly displayed their extraordinary art of movement and sense for gags in Bedtime!, you will get to see the two youngest members of the Drak ensemble, Edita Dohnálková Valášek and Šimon Dohnálek.

In the media:

“A really strong experience (…) was the production of What a Challengel! bordering between physical theatre and clown grotesque The simple plot (…) is developed by the actors into several brilliant and incredibly funny movement etudes, through which they work their way to a touchingly reconciliatory conclusion. Their surprisingly artistic performances are dominated by the ethereally stylized angel of Luděk Smadiš, and especially by Petra Cicáková, who possesses an unlimited range of grimaces as the tragicomically conceived mother figure. One of my picks for the acting performance of the year!”

Kateřina Kykalová, 25 June 2023, divadelni-noviny.cz, Ritual Regions (No. 2)

White Fang

The far north is a hostile place during the rough times of the gold rush, where White Fang, a cross-breed of dog and wolf puppy, is growing. Characterised by wildness and effervescence, White Fang cannot easily fit in with a pack of wolves or even among people; he is neither accepted, nor does he accept easily. As he grows up, he encounters violence and hatred as well as kindness and even love. What will eventually be imprinted in his soul? https://youtu.be/WqpG9xRmJj0 Quotes from reviews:

“In the role of White Fang, Milan Hajn gives an absolutely exceptional and complex performance, which combines stage work with modern recording techniques (the use of live cinema) as well as very personal acting in a first-person narrative. His concentrated acting vividly depicts the gradual domestication of a wild animal, without it seeming inappropriate or even embarrassing to the audience. Hajn is absolutely dominant and unmistakeable in this production. Such a role is quite unique in the sphere of puppet/alternative theatre based on interplay and that makes his performance all the more valuable.”

2019 Thálie Awards, commentary of the expert committee on the nominations

 “They move across the stage as Indians, gold diggers, a pack of wolves, a dog sled team. And, from the big picture to the big details they shoot animal and human lairs, cages, fierce dogfights and hunts, escapes, maws, muzzles, lightning in their eyes, the landscape around the river in a sea of snow… The effect is perfect. The camera’s magic aspires to the realm of poetry.”  P.J. Kříž,  White Fang immortalised through new techniques, 6.3.2018  Právo p. 11, Northeast Bohemia)  “Because director Jakub Vašíček works with that most of all, with images, with atmosphere – and he works with it wonderfully, sensitively and carefully. Above all, the intensity and authenticity of the situations make the production of White Fang a powerful experience for audiences young and old.” Nikola Škvarová, Child: White Fang, 19.4.2018 Divědové na blogu “An abbreviated version of the world-famous novel. The production abounds with amusing moments, such as loot splitting among pack members, dog fights in wooden rink, etc. Yet, the production also features “chilling” scenes, so typical of the book. The production combines theatre and created live film, which is also projected live. This concept suitably fits the nature of performance and enables the spectator to understand the story from the perspective of the main animal character. Entertaining, yet respecting the value of the original book, the production is suitable also for younger audiences. All male cast present a captivating show with their playing and performing. The strong story is rendered originally, enabling the audiences to experience being in the wolf’s skin.” Antonie Holubová, 5. 4. 2018, divabaze.cz „White Fang is an adorable performance. I think it contains the most clever use of camera on stage I have ever seen. Not only that. The whole concept is precise, well thought over, actors are great. The protagonist of main character is unbelievable.“ Mojca Redjko, Slovene National Theatre Maribor Awards and Acknowledgements ERIK Award for the “Best Puppet Performance of the Season” Theatre Newpaper’s Award in category „The Best Direction of The Season“ in the field of Alternative and Puppet theatre for director Jakub Vašíček Skupa‘s Pilsner Awards for Tomáš Jarkovský, Jakub Vašíček and Antonín Šilar for the concept of the performance Thalie Award for the main protagonist Milan Hajn in the field of Alternative and Puppet Theatre

The Registered Association of Czech and Slovak Puppeteers presents: Kašpárek and Zbojník

Did you know that Czechoslovak puppetry is on the UNESCO World Heritage List? It’s true! Thus, Czech and Slovak puppeteers, as well as their loyal audiences, have earned worldwide recognition, which culminated the long-standing efforts of generations of our predecessors.

Contemporary Czech and Slovak puppeteers have now gathered to join all their forces, all their skills and the best of their traditions to celebrate this important success together. And how else to celebrate the Czechoslovak puppet tradition than with the première of a brand new, yet completely traditional and mainly perfectly Czechoslovak puppet play, or piece? Thus, we searched the theatre storerooms, archives and museums on both sides of the Morava River, organised public collections and now we present the result of all this effort to you.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the registered association of Czech and Slovak puppeteers presents a traditional Czechoslovak puppet play: Kašpárek and Zbojník! The 30th anniversary of the dissolution of Czechoslovakia offers a unique opportunity to theatrically reflect on an extraordinary phenomenon, which is the unique closeness of two nations, which joined their historical development for 75 years and which is probably unprecedented in the world. But how do we perceive it today? And how is it perceived in both countries by children, for whom coexistence in a joined country is now only a chapter in the history books? We want to examine these questions through a Czech/Slovak production that, on the layout of an original story, looks at the various forms of the current relationship between Czechs and Slovaks. Its political framework has disappeared, the joint television programs are also gone, so what remains to link them? Just a few YouTubers that are popular here and there? It seems that there is actually more…

Foto: Juraj Starovecký

In the media:

“The production confirms that well-crafted theatre can turn out well, even if it does not actually come up with anything ground-breaking or fundamental. (…) It offers such many tiny ideas and jokes, whether “kindly ironically national” or purely puppetry, that they reliably make for an honest hour of excellent Czechoslovak entertainment.” Vladimír Mikulka, 26.6.2023, nadivadlo.blogspot.com “The Bratislava Puppet Theatre and the Drak Theatre have realized a joint project that entails a lot of demanding production work. They responded to the topic with sincerity, humour and opinion. And this is more beneficial and much more stimulating for thinking about our identity than official gala programmes.” Lenka Dzadíková, LOUTKÁŘ 1-2023

“The supremely self-ironic production is not at all outdated, but on the contrary boldly layers the still resonant Czech-Slovak clichés, going beyond the edge of correctness with courage. For me, the puppet highlight of the festival so far.” Kateřina Kykalová, 29 June 2023, divadelni-noviny.cz, Ritual Regions (No. 5)

Oddball

The planet Odd has a single, solitary inhabitant. He lives here contentedly all by himself in a world that perfectly suits him. Until the planet starts to overheat for some unknown reason, and there is nothing left for him to do by to look for a different refuge. And at that moment he himself probably doesn’t anticipate just what an adventure it will be. “I like the colour blue. It comforts me. It gives me a feeling of certainty. A blue world is a world that is just ne. Tranquil, balanced, safe. Blue is a perfect colour. It has so many forms, so many shades, why would I need any other? The colour of happiness, for example, is light blue like the sky, while sadness is dark blue like moonlight. But not that evil, disturbing sadness that chokes you up. Blue sadness is serene, reconciled. It rises from the depths and disappears again in the depths. And blue happiness sounds quiet, doesn’t shout in intrusive tones, doesn’t bubble rudely to the surface, doesn’t rave, doesn’t whoop it up. It holds it nicely inside and gently trembles. My world is blue because it is all mine. And it is all mine because it is blue.”

 

The Seven Ravens

Once upon a time, a girl lived with her parents in a humble dwelling close to the castle in a small village. They gave her the name Bohdanka. During one of her many expeditions to the old attic she discovered seven boys’ shirts at the bottom of a dusty chest. And with them, the terrible truth that she decides to face head on, with her innate obstinacy. No sacrifice can be large enough to stop her. Perhaps only if love crossed her path?

The original production, based on the motifs of a classic fairy tale about looking for peace in an impetuous mind, about will power and about a restless soul, which can only find peace with a considerable amount of self-denial and with the courage to sacrifice herself for others, joins the ranks of Drak Theatre‘s productions that are built on well-known fairy tales. After the successful Sleeping Beauty, the theatre‘s director Jakub Vašíček returns to the adaptation of a well-known tale in a production meant for audiences aged six and up.

Huckleberry Finn

Huckleberry Finn is a young boy who stands out of the crowds. It could be said that he has a problem adapting to his surroundings, but that wouldn’t quite be true. That’s because he doesn’t even try to. He takes his own path. Sometimes he strays from it, sometimes he gets burnt, but he rarely regrets anything. One day, through a combination of various circumstances, he joins his fate with that of a fugitive slave Jim, and this unlikely duo embarks on trip on a raft together down the Mississippi. A ride that is one great depiction of the flight to freedom. But, as it turns out, becoming free does not just mean getting rid of injustice and oppression, but perhaps also of your own prejudices.

An original production based on the motifs of the famous novel by Mark Twain, which is considered one of the founding titles of the tradition of the great American novel. The production is thematically linked to two previous titles from the same production team, White Fang and The Journey, and it forms a complete trilogy of adventure stories about freedom inspired by great works of American literature.

Foto: Tomáš Roček

In the media:

“Dominik Linka excels in acting. He was given well-deserved space in the production and his character of Huckleberry Finn is dramaturgically well devised and directed. The spectator can believe his childish naivety and obedience, anger, unstoppable aggression and fear, which is at times quite concrete, at other times only vaguely suspected, manifesting even romantic reverie or inner confusion. (…) The actor’s deployment during the performance directly corresponds with the commitment, passion and anguish that the main character goes through in his story.” “Theatrically, and above all socially, it is valuable that Tomáš Jarkovský and Jakub Vašíček, together with their colleagues, are able to reach young audiences to show them that individual inner chaos and struggle is not unique in human society. It is directly related to the possibility of choice; hence it is a part of free life and gives people the opportunity to develop.” Zuzana Sikačová, LOUTKÁŘ 1-2023

Log leg

An original production about the unwavering desire to move and dance. Young Jazmína loves jumping and dancing above all else. One day, however, she has an accident and all of a sudden she cannot dance. She starts to observe everything around her that is moving and dancing. An adventure of the imagination and the love of the game can begin, blending fantasy and reality! A tenderly fierce and true story about the joy of movement for children and the children in us.

Quotes from reviews:

“And ultimately the most beautiful, most innocent, most naive and most sensual in its beauty: hope. The inexhaustible, undeviating, unlimited, pure hope of a child. No fears, doubts or limitations. The hope that we adults used to have. When following the performance, we get the impression that there is no reason why we shouldn’t trust the child in us again. One strong reminder that theatre and the imagination transcend any handicap.” from the review of our performance by dramaturge Stela Mišković at the FIAT International Festival of Alternative Theatre in Montenegro, August 2020

“Jazmína Pitkorová meets the audience personally one by one in the foyer to lead them to the studio. Due to her charm, she immediately wins everyone’s favour; one is only worried that children may immediately join her on stage. Lock in the poetic title suggests a plaster on her broken leg, which prevents the girl not only from dancing. Physical theatre and dance fuses with lyrical clownery without words, yet understandable. Jana Bačová Kroftová as a visual artist quickly animates a Degas-like ballet dancer, floods the scene with insects while the dancer strugglers with itching under her plaster, or magically bleeds colours into space-like worlds and fantasies. This seemingly a cheap trick has an enormous impact; both the artists and the dancers complement each other by coexisting in the same rhythm. If there was an awmeter, I believe both young and adults would show the same level. Špalková and her collective entered their memories without referring to a Star Rover for the young. They created an inspiring, memory-opening miniature economical with words. Their 40-minute performance is a celebration of movement, dance, theatre and fantasy regardless of any limitation.” Petr Mareček, MF Dnes, 25. 2. 2019.

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