Theatre On the Balustrade, Prague, Czech Republic, 2004
Author: Gabriela Preissová
Directed by Jiří Pokorný
about the production
The director Jiří Pokorný is one of the pioneers of the coolness wave in the Czech Republic as well as an investigator of new tendencies, therefore we cannot expect from him to stage the play Gazdina roba, the classical 19th century realistic drama from Moravian Slovakia, as an archaic ethnographic treasure.
In the production of the Prague Theatre On the Balustrade, Pokorný thoroughly cleaned the play from its folklore layer the only ironical reminder of it rests in the character of the wife of the notary wearing a folk costume, performed by Doubravka Svobodová, the director of the theatre.
Kateřina Kolářová, Mladá fronta Dnes
The text of the play, which is directed by Jiří Pokorný, is over one hundred years old – and like Stroupežnický‘s play Our Our Fanfarons directed by Petr Lébl some time ago, or Mrštík Brothers’ Marysha under the direction of Vladimír Morávek – Pokorný’s Gazdina roba expresses without sentimentality something very substantial and truthful about the nature of people – and not the Czech people only. It shows with dramatic irony the conflict of a strong, exceptional personality with generally accepted conventions, social and religious prejudice, the conflict of egoism and love. Moreover, it shows a rather funny discrepancy between the idealistically biased – fully intellectual – belief about the wisdom of rural community and the harsh, boorish reality.
(…) Pokorný in his directorial approach does not construct, he rather discovers the hidden, subconscious motives of the characters, and he guides the actors to reveal them – sometimes even in shocking sincerity. Social conventions and the weakness of Mánek’s character are far from being the only pressure that unavoidably draws near the tragic end of Eva. The cause also lies in her sometimes almost pathological, blind defiance and self-overrating power. The dark appearance of Kristina Maděričová in the leading role echoes the image of the heroines in Greek tragedies: black closefitting dress, dark hair, beautiful face with strongly chiselled features, strangely calm, she radiates something different from the others, almost morbid, a kind of strange, fascinating and fatal attraction to death.
Marie Reslová, Czech radio 3 – Vltava
Jiří Pokorný has taken full advantage of the opportunity to show the play Gazdina roba in the light of modern provocative theatrical poetics, and to demonstrate the liveliness of the story in our socially not completely emancipated and progressive era. Just right from the introductory image of an emptied Moravian-Slovak folk festival with a local beauty contest there is no doubt that Pokorný’s copy of the original drama will be provocative, nevertheless anything but less urgent than the courageous expression of the author in her time. (...) It has preserved the same ambiguous oscillation of the human being between his/her courage and cowardice, ingenuity and pettiness, bravery and shallowness, truth and lie. Only the decoration of the setting has changed. The problem of the conflict of life concepts has remained, and the winners are usually the representatives of the crouched, blindly obedient, who do not march to a different tune.
Jiří P. Kříž, Právo
directed by Jiří Pokorný
dramaturgy: Radka Denemarková, Ivana Slámová
stage design: Jan Štěpánek
costume design: Kateřina Štefková
music and music’s selection: Michal Ničík
choreography: Petr Tyc
characters and cast:
Eva, tailoress: Kristina Maděričová, Aunty: Jaroslava Tvrzníková, Mešjanovka: Zdena Hadrbolcová, Mánek: David Švehlík, Mr Black: Igor Chmela, Mr White: Vladimír Hampl, Maryša: Natálie Drabiščáková, Samko: Pavel Liška, Zuzka: Magdaléna Sidonová, Doctor: Jaroslav Fišer, Notariusess: Doubravka Svobodová, Huspeka, advocate: Richard Stanke, Danyš: Josef Polášek, Jožka: Lukáš Vydržal, Baron: Leoš Suchařípa, Baroness: Marie Fišerová and Marta Sovová, Petra Nesvačilová, Barbara Chybová, Kristýna Lišková-Boková
Jiří Pokorný (1967)
A playwright, theatre director, pioneer of the „coolness“ wave in the Czech Republic. A graduate of the directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, a visiting Tempus artist in Antwerp, and a participant of the Royal Court Summer School in London. In 1993 – 1997 he worked as the artistic director of the Drama Studio in Ústí nad Labem, until 2002 he was the artistic director of the experimental HaDivadlo in Brno – Faust (Faust Is Dead) production – participant at the Divadelná Nitra 2001). Since 2002, he is the director and artistic manager of the Theatre On the Balustrade, where he continues in the tradition of the outstanding, exceptional and controversial artists of this artistic house (Jan Antonín Pitínský, Petr Lébl). Jiří Pokorný has won the Alfréd Radok Award for the best Czech original play in 1997 – for Daddy Scores Goals and in 1998 – for the play Rest In Peace.