Chekhov – Boxer

GUnaGU, Bratislava, Slovakia 2002
Author: Viliam Klimáček
Directed by Karol Vosátko

about the production

It is the fifth time that Viliam Klimáček won the prestigious Alfréd Radok Foundation Award for best original Czech or Slovak play. This time the dramatist, in recent years striving for new interpretations of Chekhov, was awarded for the play Chekhov – Boxer, by which he responds to the theatre world. Being inspired by Chekhov’s plays as well as his family and social background, Klimáček wrote an original play, which, on the one hand, alludes to many historical realities of the 19th century and situations from several chronically familiar Chekhov’s plays, but, on the other hand, also subtly applies them to present-day aspects by language, situations, characters and even social subtext.

The author sets to work with great zeal, and soon he writes the introductory part of Three Sisters. His femme fatale – Lika Mizinova, a TV presenter of the Russian Sky, formerly Weather, is the first reader of the play. Lika forwards the script to dramaturge Dorn, who immediately intuits a visionary of new forms in Chekhov.

It is shot in exteriors, in a sun-lit summer dacha of actress Arkadinova, who, naturally, plays the part of Olga. The serial Three Sisters was innovative in several respects. Chekhov knew that Tsarist Television had modest funds for its realization; therefore the story was set in Prozorovov sisters’ house. The genre was defined by Chekhov’s laconic "nuzhna sidet v komnate" (it is necessary to sit in the room) – from which the popular abbreviation "sid –kom", later "sitcom" was derived. It was completely live broadcasting, the technology of recording was at its beginnings, and therefore no part of Chekhov’s sitcom was left.

The television production of A. P. Chekhov,

by Viliam Klimáček on the basis of Tsarist Television archives, SaD 3/2001

 Viliam Klimáček enjoys playing with history, commenting on current Slovak and Central European realities, and searching for historical parallels. (...) Employing subtle irony, Klimáček revealed our contemporary elite society – theatre and film producers. And above all he disclosed the bottom of the writer’s heart. As Chekhov states in the play: "My play was hissed off – I sat behind the scenes and felt how it was turning into a fiasco – when I am unsuccessful, I grow strong – when I am applauded, I would hide myself under the table.

Silvia Hroncová, Sitcom či Tri sestry/Sitcom or Three Sisters?, Divadlo v medzičase 1/2001

 ...Klimáček’s language amply draws on Chekhov’s dramatic world and, at the same time, subtly works with anachronisms at thematic (television, box, etc.) and formal (see the language of the sitcom Three Sisters) levels...

Jakub Škorpil, Chastushky, introverts and postmodernism, SaD 3/2001



directed by Karol Vosátko
set: Tomáš Lupták
costumes: Ľubica Cintuľová
music: Marián Čurko
Darina Abrahámová, Gabriela Škrabáková, Martina Lašovská, Viliam Klimáček, Robert Laurinec, Ivan Macho, Peter Sklár


Karol Vosátko (1965) 

He graduated in stage direction from the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Bratislava, and since then, as being frustrated with the situation in Slovak state theatres, he has been working only in the non-state GUnaGU theatre. On the one hand, he works with texts by Viliam Klimáček, on the other hand, he employs the method of spontaneous speech, when actors themselves produce rejoinders in improvised situations. He also works as a television director of music programmes and television documentaries. He has produced a large number of music videos for young music bands, for which he won the prestigious Grammy Award (96, 97, 98) three times. He himself is a singer and guitarist in the GUnaGU theatre’s meta-pop music band Big Bastard Beat Band.