Handa Gote, Prague, Czech Republic, 2012
Author: Veronika Švábová, Tomáš Procházka, Jakub Hybler, Robert Smolík
Directed by Veronika Švábová, Tomáš Procházka, Jakub Hybler, Robert Smolík

about the production

The project Clouds focuses on the phenomenon of „small history“. While in the first, similarly focused project Ekran, Handa Gote made use of photos and films made by unknown people that they had found in or near waste bins, in this project they are being more personal. At a more general level, this project is aiming at a search for answers to the following questions: How did our ancestors affect our lives? What did they tell us and what did they keep from us? Which part of their lives is repeated in our lives as well? We are watching an intimate story of a family and a house. A house which has been lived in by the family of the performer Veronika Švábová since 1938. The story of her ancestors is a characteristic illustration of the fact how generally well known historical events affect an individual’s life. Nazism, and especially its anti-Jewish aspect during the occupation of the Czech lands, or the 1950’s political trials in Czechoslovakia sound with an immense intensity in the context of the story of an individual family. The Clouds, therefore, are not only a story of a family, or rather a house, in which this family lives. It is an evidence of a direct impact of great historical events on the life on an individual.

Thanks to the projection and a live camera, the viewer is able to watch an unusual, intimate get together of the performer with her ancestors. Projecting photos from a family album is meant not only as an illustration but also as a symbolic possibility for Veronika Švábová to meet her family. She enters into a pictorial dialogue with them, looks for imprints of their life fates in her own life, and is reincarnated into them and vice versa. The title of the performance, in which the symbolic meaning of the word in connection with people’s life fates is associated with her grandmother’s cake, is the best proof of it.

“Within the Prague alternative theatre the performance The Clouds is a rather exceptional event, taking into account the refinement of its view at the Czech history and the often tragic lives of individuals. The more so, with its more existential and less ideological character. Handa Gote has also demonstrated that they have discovered a method how to create a smoothly flowing and yet profound stage poem with a combination of dance and technological enchantments.”
Roman Sikora:

 “Maybe the most powerful moment comes when she reveals who had denounced her family during the Nazi occupation.
,Only my grandma knew it and she kept it secret all her life. Only on her death bed she told it to my mum. And she passed it on to me.´ Then Švábová takes the loudspeaker and shouts towards the audience ,It was the Cajthamls.´ An inconspicuous but well-taken revenge.”
Vojtěch Varyš: Týden 4/2012



prepared: veronika švábová, Tomáš Procházka, Jakub Hybler, Robert Smolík  


The artistic group Handa Gote research & development is an ensemble with one of the most distinctive poetics on the Czech independent scene. It cannot be described exclusively as a theatre group. It is a music band, a dance and movement group with a sub-group of „media archaeologists“. Its members characterise themselves as a project the aim of which is research and development of the dance, movement and visual art theatre, as well as sound design and science and art integration. This is the reason why the title Handa Gote, which is a Japanese expression for a blowlamp, is followed by the sequence research & development.
In their work the effects of minimalism can be traced most distinctively, also those of the movement DO IT YOURSELF as well as inspiration by the cult Cargo spread mainly in the South-West Pacific.  After the Second World War its followers started imitating the landing of Japanese and American airplanes in order to attract the multitude of goods which had been stored there during the war by both conflict parties. The artistic group Handa Gote often tries to „reconstruct“ various working techniques. Naturally, in their case, the aim is not an ambition of a material profit, but rather fascination with everything that is associated with a human being living within industrial spaces. They equally claim allegiance to the Japanese aesthetics of Mono no aware and Wabi-sabi.

Handa Gote has three permanent members. Veronika Švábová (1974) is a graduate of the Prague Duncan Centre and she also studied theory of dance at the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. As a choreographer, she is active in the environment of independent stages but, from time to time, also in regular theatre houses. For the National Theatre in Prague she has created choreographies for the operas Beauty and the Beast and A Well-Paid Walk. Tomáš Procházka (1973), a graduate of the department of alternative and puppet theatre, has been working mainly with the sound. In addition to a number of musical project, he writes music for the ensemble Cakes and Puppets where he works as an actor and director. Also the third member of the Handa Gote Robert Smolík (1977) intensively works with the above-mentioned group, which also performed at Divadelná Nitra in the past. As a visual artist he cooperates with a number of Czech independent ensembles as well.


Materials available

Script of the production: CZ

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