Review: The Eden Game
Sam Beckwith finds much to enjoy in a staged reading of Jock Doubleday's Havel play
Launched six months ago, the Prague Film & Theater Center has quickly established itself as a vibrant presence on the expat cultural scene, breaking new ground with its events and productions. March 23's staged reading of The Eden Game, a play by Los Angeles-based writer Jock Doubleday, was no exception.
Held at Malé Vinohradské divadlo, this unusual production offered a Prague audience a chance to experience a work-in-progress with a distinctly Czech theme: Václav Havel.
The concept -- actors seated in a semi-circle, reading from scripts -- might sound unpromising but both the play and the performances were lively enough to make for an entertaining evening.
Heading a pleasingly diverse international cast, Scott Williams -- perhaps best known in Prague as the lead singer of Joy Division tribute band Dead Souls -- brings more than a touch of the tormented rock star to his portrayal of Havel, an unconventional casting decision that works surprisingly well.
Other stand-outs include Australian actress Kathryn Hume-Čvančarová as a psychologist with a secret and American journalist Grant Podelco as an avuncular-yet-sinister prison warden.
Although hindered by an over-complicated Brechtian play-within-a-play structure, Doubleday's script benefits from lively dialogue (lucky, really!) and the sheer novelty value of seeing familiar historical characters -- Havel, his wives Olga and Dagmar, and former Foreign Minister Jiří Dienstbier among others -- presented in a unashamedly amplified fictional context.
Straddling historical fact and outright fantasy in its portrayal of Havel's transition from imprisoned dissident to overstretched statesman, The Eden Game is occasionally a little too ambitious. Doubleday's depiction of post-1989 Prague -- particularly his characters' preoccupation with McDonald's -- can also seem a little obvious and simplistic at times. Despite that, there is much to enjoy in The Eden Game, a full production of which would be a welcome addition to Prague's English-language theatre scene.
I am looking forward to a full production of the play in Prague -- in both Czech and English.
Photos of the staged rehearsal:
My adventures thus far getting the play produced in Prague :)
A production of the first act of the play in New York State (before the second act was written):
The play has also been adapted for the screen.
Thank you again for your cogent comments on the play.
Author of The Eden Game
April 3, 2012
Video on YouTube
The Army Museum in Prague-Žižkov by Adam Urwin - Prague.TV (Foto: Prague.eu)
Stand to attention and get ready to march through the turbulent 20th century at Prague’s Army Museum
Win Free Tickets to Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring in Concert by Prague.TV - JV Agentura
Win Free tickets and more with Prague.TV and JV Agentura!
Local Theatre Company Brings Out the Blood, Love, and Rhetoric by Glyn Rebl - Prague.TV
For seven years now, BLR have been entertaining Prague audiences
The City of Prague Museum by Adam Urwin - Prague.TV (Foto: muzeumprahy.cz)
Take a step through the ages to see what makes Prague the city it is today
Do you think that’s funny? by Emily Prucha - Prague.TV
How stand-up comedy is making people laugh in Czech (and in English)
Museum Of Communism Prague by Adam Urwin - Prague.TV
Museums in Prague
National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror by Adam Urwin - Prague.TV (Foto: Prague.eu)
Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády
Playing I Spy with Alfons Mucha by By Brittan Bates — Anglo American University (Foto: Czechtourism.com)
Exhibitions runs till Dec 31st 2016 @ National Gallery Prague
Saying Goodbye to the European Capital of Culture 2015 by Pilsen 2015 - European Capitals of Culture
Pilsen - European Capital of Culture 2015
We are FAT animals by Nedori
Photographic series "we are FAT animals" mirror up to obese society
Prague.TV users have a 50% discount on Pivovar Lužinys...
Sunday Brunch @ Meze for only CZK 595,--
Authentic Argentinian Steaks & Cocktails in the Center of...
Ready-made company from COMEFLEX
Armádní muzeum Žižkov
Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády
Goout.cz Tickets for Cultural Events in Prague
Contemporary art center in Prague