Black Black Woods

Cirk La Putyka, Prague, Czech Republic / Rootlessroot, Athens, Greece, 2017
Directed by: Jozef Fruček, Linda Kapetanea

about the production

The relationship between father and son is an existential and fundamental relationship in a man’s life. The archetype of father versus son and an authentic relationship of a father – actor Rostislav Novák Sr. – and his son – equally actor and principal of the Cirk la Putyka collective, Rostislav Novák Jr. – form the core of the several hour-long epic Black Black Woods. The autobiographical story was adapted by director Jozef Furček and choreographer Linda Kapetanea of Rootlessroot Company, and forged into a contemplative performance with a mythological atmosphere. (Black Black Woods is the third piece in a theatrical trilogy, following Family and Roots, which centre on familial and workplace relationships. Family Roots in Black Black Woods would be an apt name for the trilogy as a whole.)

By means of physical theatre, Black Black Woods portrays the intricate and unpredictable nature of love, hate, strife and reconciliation, life and death between parent and child. The creators frame the Novák family story by quotations from the Finnish national epic Kalevala, a family saga about the mythical Kalevala and his issue. The connection with Kalevala is no coincidence.

The Novák family comes from a lineage of well-known Czech puppeteers by the name of Kopecký, and Rosťa Novák Jr. is thus their direct successor. Clear reference is also made to the so-called ‘fratricidal’ Peloponnesian War. This philosophical/physical epic is literally a meditation, in the course of which the life story of a human being, his birth and coming of age, unfolds minimally but actively. The son loves, hates and admires his father, he defies him, imitates him and reproaches him. The train of events proceeds slowly, but nevertheless as if in real time, until the moment we realise that the son has matured and the father has grown old. Suddenly, time runs out. The final 80 minutes are devoted to action and the deed. The door of the hall is closed and the audience can no longer move around freely. Everything fashioned and built is torn down, ridiculed – the brick foundations give way, the throne slants and the white surface is covered in writing. Then comes sharp conflict that ends in exhaustion and reconciliation.

The dynamic, virile and most importantly live musical accompaniment of Vassilis Mantzoukis infuses both actors with energy. The degree of their physical engagement becomes magnetic for the audience, who have until then observed the course of time and of the life of two individuals, but who, thanks to the tremendous force of the performance of both Rosťa Novák Sr. and Jr., are suddenly plunged into their naked and intimate world.
Dáša Čiripová

“Directors Jozef Fruček and Linda Kapetanea have completely given up on the audience and offer them long, routine images. Only with their help, however, can we really become attuned to the portrayed wave of family relationships that arise in entirely different temporal dimensions. …

The five hour-long experience inspires respect for the performance of both actors, but also for the ability to serve the audience an uncompromising yet infinitely attractive theatre piece.”
Tomáš Štástka: In black woods, Rosťa Novák builds his father a throne of clay,, 5. 11. 2016

“Ultimately, the piece stands on the force of the actors’ performance, which involves a high degree of physical and mental exertion for both protagonists. Over the course of nearly five hours, the process of the inception of the performance itself is brought to light, the transparent and open scenic composition clues the audience in on life’s turning points (child- hood, youth, placing one’s father on a pedestal, rebellion against him, madness, art, support).”
Barbora Čiháková: Cirk La Putyka’s family saga pushes the boundaries of theatrical language. Aktuálně.cz, 26. 9. 2016



direction and choreography: Jozef Fruček, Linda Kapetanea
scenography co-operation: Hynek Dřízhal
art co-operation: Michal Pěchouček
dramaturgy: Martin Kubran
costumes and make-up: Kristina Záveská
music (composer): Vassilis Mantzoukis
music (assistant): Christos Parapagidis
musicians: Merlin Ettore, Jan Balcar, Veronika Linhartová, Adam Novotný, Šimon Marek
sound design: Jan Středa, Eva Hamouzová
light design: Perikles Mathiellis
graphic design: Mike Rafail
production: Michal Sikora
producer: Cirk La Putyka
cast: Rostislav Novák Junior, Rostislav Novák Senior


Jozef Fruček (1975) graduated at the Academy of Performing arts in Bratislava. Between 2002 and 2005, he was member of the Ultima Vez company founded by Wim Vandekeybus, where he performed in projects such as Blush (theatre and film version) and Sonic Boom. In 2005 – 2006, he collaborated with the Classical Flemish Theatre in Brussels (KVS). Since 2012, he has lectured at the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Krakow.

Linda Kapetanea (1973) was trained at the Greek National School of Dance in Athens. She later studied at the Merce Cunningham Studio, at Movement Research and at Dance Space in New York. She has collaborated with a number of collectives in Greece and abroad. In 2002, she was named ‘Best Performer of the Sea- son’ by the Greek Ministry of Culture. Between 2002 and 2005, she performed with the Flemish collective Ultimate Vez in productions such as Blush, Sonic Boom, Puur, Here After Movie.

In 2006, Fruček and Kapetanea founded RootlessRoot, a platform for their own productions, research and tuition. Together, they work on the Fighting Monkey research program, whose purpose is to introduce martial arts method- ology into the education of dancers, actors and performing artists. Between 2006 and 2011, Fruček and Kapetanea taught at the Pedagogical Faculty of the National School of Dance in Athens. In 2008 they first appeared at Divadelná Nitra with a piece titled Sudden Showers of Silence. They regularly organise workshops at international festivals, for prominent dance companies and at schools across Europe and Canada.

Of his collaboration with RootlessRoot, Rostislav Novák Jr. said: “Jozef Fuček asked me if I wanted to work on a production that would be successful in Prague, or a production that would push the boundaries of the performative arts of today. Try guessing my answer.”

Materials available

Video of the production: yes
Script of the production: EN

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