Chance ´89

Archa Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic, 2009
Author: Anna Grusková, Archa Theatre
Directed by Jana Svobodová

about the production

A Window of Opportunity is a term used by NASA. It names a complicated constellation of conditions under which a spaceship can start its way to the space. In the figurative meaning, it is a unique chance which has to be used because it can occur again after a long time. Have we used the chance the year 1989 brought to us?

The evening of documentary theatre, Chance 89, is based on the principles of a successful project of the Archa Theatre from 2008 – Misunderstanding 68. It is a theatrical form formally based on the documentary drama approaches – it combines existential drama with visual-art installation, it uses the drama-in-education, epic theatre means etc. It searches for a new theatrical form, new “policy of realizing the aesthetics of responsibility”; that is why it works with various amounts of audience’s participation – beforehand prepared and informed students are taken to the stage, theatre action is connected with an authentic debate between politics scientists, politicians and sociologists. The frame of the whole evening is created by a fictive life broadcasting of the RADIO 89 FM. Its core line will be a dramatic comic strip entitled Kurt and Květa.

Kurt and Květa is a story about a mixed German-Czechoslovakian married couple which lives in Pardubice, the Czech Republic. The couple tries to escape the discovery of their collaboration with the former regime. The past, however, remains an open bill which concerns the present and the future. The story itself is fiction, but it consists of many real details and events of the period such as the adventurous escape of some East-German citizens to West Germany in a helicopter in 1975 from the Lipno dam in Southern Bohemia.

There are basic issues of human life opened under the stylised plot of the strip such as freedom, betrayal, feeling of guilt and forgiveness. The strip consists of three parts which take place in 1975, 1989 and 2009. Every part is followed by a discussion of politics, politics scientists, historians and sociologists. The discussion will be dealing with topics concerning real or simulated freedom, escapes for freedom, escapes from the past, the connection between private and political worlds, borders between what “had to be done” during the totalitarian regime and what was already considered as intentional collaboration.

The project will be presented at the Divadelná Nitra after its premiere at the Archa Theatre in Prague, planned for 16 September 2009.  Later, on 10 November 2009, it will be introduced in the Czech National House in New York. Every show is an unrepeatable opening and closing performance at the same time. The project is to be participated by college and university students who see the acts of their parents by the eyes of those who were born already in a free society. Students are co-creators as well as participants of this theatrical form.
The evening includes an exhibition on the theme “Totality in Us”, taking place in the Andrej Bagar Theatre’s Studio.
Anna Grusková



project authors: Tomáš Vrba, Ondřej Hrab, Jana Svobodová
script: Jana Svobodová, Anna Grusková
text of the Kurt and Květa radio comic strip: Anna Grusková
poster and the visual conception of the Kurt and Květa radio comic strip: Danglár
light design: Pavla Beranová
sound and music: Jan Středa
production: Helena Rousová
set design and directed by: Jana Svobodová
dramaturgy: Ondřej Hrab, Tomáš Vrba
dramaturgy assistant: Marie Vojáková
cast: Jaroslav Rudiš, Eva Hromníková, Philipp Schenker and students o universities and high schools
discussion guests: Martin C. Putna, Martin Bútora, Milan M. Šimečka
The project is developed in a co-production with the Václav Havel Library and in co-operation with the Institute of Contemporary History in Prague and the Institute of Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany


Jana Svobodová (1962) graduated in Puppetry at the DAMU (Academy of Drama) in Prague and is an artistic director of the Archa.Lab Theatre Research Centre at the Archa Theatre. Since 1988, she has worked as a director, scriptwriter and performer in projects in many European countries as well as in a Czech- JAR project which resulted in a number of performances (1997 – 2004). From 2003 she focuses on cooperation between professional artists and representatives of specific social groups (SenAnderSen – New York, 2006 and Plzeň, 2007; Chat – Dengerously Easy Liaisons– Cardiff, Tokyo, Vienna, Berlin). Since 2004 she has been dealing with the subject concerning foreigners who would like to find a new home in the Czech Republic. She developed a project called I’m Leaving You at 11.20 am! following the series of workshops in asylum seeker camps where the performance also took place. At present she works on a new project dealing with the coexistence between the majority population and foreigners.
Director Pavel Koutecký made documentary films Come Along, Sweetie and I’ll Have a Beautiful Life! based on her socio-theatrical works.