Theater festival Divadlo to take place in Plzeň

Troupes from the CEE region will show new productions

The 24th edition of Divadlo, an international theater festival, will take place in Plzeň, West Bohemia, from Sept. 7 to 14. All of the plays in the main program will have English surtitles. The festival has domestic productions as well was visiting ones from Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Russia. There is a side program as well, with films, discussions, exhibitions and street theater, but not all of it is English-friendly. Plays will be at the New Theater, Grand Theater, Depo and Alfa Theater.

The festival aims to show new trends in European theater and to provide inspiration for not only the audience but also theater professionals.

A highlight among the foreign talent is Polish theater director Krystian Lupa, who was last at the festival 20 years ago. He is presenting an adaptation of Thomas Bernhard's controversial novel Woodcutters, about a snobbish dinner reunion that devolves into a farce as hidden tensions come to the surface.

Lupa has been a big presence in Polish theater, and one of his students is also coming to the festival with a production. Director Krzysztof Garbaczewski presents his new staging of Hamlet, incorporating butoh dance and other elements to both break down and expand the theatrical space.

From Hungary, there is the play Disgrace, based on a South African novel by J. M. Coetzee that takes place after apartheid, but has a universal message for societies undergoing a large change. The production by Proton Theater, directed by Kornél Mundruczó, was praised for its Brechtian elements and humor.

Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov and Gogol Center will stage an updated version of Marius von Mayenburg's Martyr. This production transposes the characters into a contemporary Russian context to create a warning against creeping fascism. The anti-clerical fable becomes “a merciless diagnosis of modern Russian society, which the authors give no hope of survival,” according to the catalog.

One Slovak entry is Mojmír II or the Sunset of Empire, by Viliam Klimáček. It is presented by the Slovak National Theater. Director Rastislav Ballek likes to examine forgotten works of literature and obscure historical figures. This production looks into the conflict between Eastern and Western thought at the end of the Great Moravian Empire. A second Slovak production is Solo lamentoso, a one-woman show by Sláva Daubnerová. It examines a lonely woman who comes into conflict with her town over a mundane incident.

Most of the rest of the program is by Czech companies. The productions include classics like Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale by Dejvické divadlo and Chekhov's Uncle Vanya by Brno's HaDivadlo, alongside more contemporary works. Czech author Jaroslav Havlíček's novel Oil Lamps will be staged by the National Theatre Brno. Contemporary Czech literature will be covered with Bohemia is by the Sea, based on children's poems by Radek Malý, staged by Naive Theater of Liberec. The show, which includes puppetry, is aimed at a young audience.

Other productions are by Divadlo Drak and Klicperovo divadlo of Hradec Králové; Arena Theater of Ostrova; NoD Experimental Space, divadlo Disk and divadlo Na Zábradlí of Prague.

There are also concerts from Sept. 8 to 10 at 8 pm at Zach's Pub under the banner Music Before Sleep and an exhibition of Polish theater posters at Europa House Gallery in conjunction with the festival.

For more information, see

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