Golden Sixties or Pavel J. Diary

Theatre On the Balustrade, Prague, Czech Republic, 2014
Author: Pavel Juráček
Directed by Jan Mikulášek

about the production

Dramaturge Dora Viceníková and director Jan Mikulášek are a couple which in the last years created several productions producing various views of the 20th century or its parts. Dramatisation of the text of Patrik Ouředník on the border between fiction and essay called Europeana (2011, Theatre Reduta, Brno) has the character of a conference in which dry facts are put together – the numbers of the war victims or of the agreements about restriction of nuclear weapons. Grey Seventies (2013, Theatre on the Balustrade, Prague) presents a connection of the anonymous, „normalized“ mass and the personal story of Olga Hepnarová who intentionally crashed with a bus into eight people in 1973. Correspondence V+W (2010, Theatre Reduta, Brno) brought into theatrical form the letters between two remarkable personalities of the Czech theatre of the first half of the 20th century, Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich. After the communist takeover in 1948, they found themselves on the opposing sides of the iron curtain – Werich in Czechoslovakia, Voskovec in the USA. Through a private conversation, the production presents a testimony about the bipolar world of the cold war.

The production Golden Sixties continues in the line of seeing history from a subjective view of an individual. The dramatization of the already cult diary entries of Pavol Juráček shows a unique view of the period of the sixties of the last century which contradicts the usual cliché about a colourful decade full of happy people.

Czech dramatic advisor and screenwriter Pavel Juráček is one of the most remarkable representatives of the Czechoslovakian New wave of the sixties. Just like the most of the personalities of his generation, he was also affected by political purges which were a part of the realisation of the so-called Lessons from the Crisis Development in the Party and Society accepted two years after the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Treaty troops. In 1970, Juráček was fired from the Barrandov Film Studio where he worked as a dramatic advisor since 1962. As a signer of the Charter 77, he was finally forced to leave from Czechoslovakia, and until his death in 1989 he never returned to the film work. Juráček´s diary entries have been published in 2003, and in 2004 they became the Book of the Year in the survey of the People´s Papers and were awarded the Litera 2004 prize as a publishing act.

Viceníková and Mikulášek itemized the diary entries for five actors representing five different parts of a complicated personality, while the production remains a single monologue without any relationships or dialogues. We thus have the opportunity to watch on a minimalistic stage an impressive testimony about the age dominated by uneasiness and loss of any faith in man, lightened up only by a very cynical black humour. Golden Sixties resemble a dream full of symbols and reminders; for example, the character of Gulliver from Juráček´s most famous film The Case for the Beginner Executioner. Golden Sixties as interpreted by the Theatre on the Balustrade is the story about a young artist and a bohemian imprisoned in a heavy world of his flat from which he can’t escape because everything behind its walls deserves only mockery and disdain.
Miroslav Zwiefelhofer

 “Two actresses and three actors in a room which was once luxurious become Pavel Juráček. As in the diary, they “only“  talk, but it is not a colourless declamation or recitation. They talk with every millimetre of their bodies; sometimes they illustrate their words with images as if from a Spartakiad – straddle vaults, lunges, squats... instead of tools, they use vinyl records, mountains of paper, chairs... Thus, in a single human being there is a mixture of five characters, millions of wishes, tens of acts, fire and water, male and female element.“
Lenka Dombrovská, REFLEX

 “We can consider as relaxing and dramatically inventive just the fact that here we are not offered an xth version of a nostalgic, sentimental or as-if funny looking back at the “Czech sixties“, and even more so not an attempt to create the objective stage report about one historical period full of paradoxes which would probably be a battle lost in advance. Such a lost battle would probably be also an effort to create a “balanced“ portrayal of Juráček´s  personality,  which  was no doubt even much more complicated than it shows itself in the part of the diaries upon which they draw here. After all, the diary entries cover much wider time span and thus also much more complex facts and connections. The production is, on the contrary, intentionally one-sided and in its basis very narrowly delimited. But as a result, it brings a dense essence of the impressive effect based on a unique dramatically- directional interpretation, and in the first case, on a symbolic notion of an intense self-portrait, and of a partial but strong experience, and a totally subjective view of the world, which Juráček´s diaries represent in accordance with the genre.“
Terezie Pokorná,


directed by: jan Mikulášek
dramaturgy: Dora Viceníková
set design and costumes: Marek Cpin
music selection:  jan Mikulášek
characters and cast: Juráček: Honza Hájek, Juráček: jiří Vyorálek, Juráček: Petra Bučková,
Juráček: josef Polášek, Juráček: Marie Spurná


Jan Mikulášek (1978) studied dramatic direction at the Janáček Academy of the Performing Arts in Brno, at first under the leadership of Peter Scherhaufer and later Zbyňek Srba. In 2001, he became the art director of the theatre Polárka in Brno from which he gradually created a watched alternative scene focused mainly on authorial production for the widest range of spectators. Later he worked as the art director of Petr Bezruč Theatre in Ostrava; he regularly collaborates with the theatre Husa na provázku (Duck on a String) and with the Theatre in Dlouhá; since the last season, he has become a permanent director at the Theatre on the Ballustrade (Golden Sixties, Gray Seventies, The Stranger). Beside direction, he also actively composes scenic music. Mikulášek´s direction is strongly influenced by film methods – it works with editing, with details, with musical counterpoints and with parallel story lines. His second strong inspiration is fine art from which he “borrows” the emphasis on mise-en-scène and lighting. Jan Mikulášek leans toward grotesque stylization for which he can find the space even in big dramas.


Materials availablei

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

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