Songs from the Gallows

Theatre Goose on the String, Brno, Ctzech Republic, 1994
Author: Christian Morgenstern
Directed by Eva Tálská

about production

In my opinion, great poets of nonsense are Edward Lear, the oldest one; Lewis Carroll, the younger one, and Christian Morgenstern, the youngest. I fought with all three of them with pleasure on the stage, convincing them, that the material of their poetry has to serve my story. Nevertheless, they were convincing me, that only some story will bear their poetry.

I came across nonsense through Christian Morgenstern 25 years ago, when I adapted his poems for the first time. In Songs from the Gallows I tested for the first time, playfulness of a word, motion of a theatre symbol, stage in the middle of the audience and thus, another kind of mise-en-scene. It became a collection of tools with which I have worked further, developed and improved them.

Coming across Morgenstern, was a discovery of life as a game, like an opportunity to swing

from the gallows and to be able to see the things from above, from the position of a death behind us. But that philosophical appointment with death appeared in the present version only. Second nonsense which I staged, was Carroll´s Alice in Wonderland Behind the Mirror.

That one fascinated me with the revived world of children´s rhymes, I have replaced the English rhymes with Czech equivalents, thus, I found the real Alice in Czech-style.

Then, I was searching for children´s English nursery rhymes, and I found Edward Lear,

who, on the basis of them, created tens of poems, so-called limericks, which became the base of a performance Stories of a Long Nose, a carefree play of actors, who teach the audience to play right on the stage and also in the auditorium.

And then I was struck with a longing to watch all three nonsenses next to each other and to finalize the work of one quarter of century, with a circle. Stories of a Long Nose were included in the repertoire, l found Alice through the audition and l renewed the stage production, and began to work at Songs from the Gallows, but in another, unaltered way. The story I chose, is a collection of poems, placed upon the main character of the play Zofia (Sophie) and it helps to make sense to all the nonsense and vice versa it turns a sensible story into a nonsense.

Projection into the main character enabled me to have a look at my own life from the height of the swinging gallows and to see it in several sections limited by death. Several various endings and rebirths again, several treacherous murders and awakenings from them, suicide and also immunity to surrounding death, Zofia carries away her death within herself. This seemingly tragic story is, on the contrary, humorous, bordering on the black humour and circus shooting-range, swinging with the benefit of the view from the gallows.

With the second adaptation of Songs from the Gallows the circle has been completed.

Now, I am devoting my time to studio „The House”, which I have established in 1991.

Eva Tálská


script and director: Eva Tálská
translation: Jozef Hiršal
script editing: Bořivoj Srba
music: Miloš  Štědroň
set design: Jana Zbořilová
art designer: Sylvia Hanáková
piano-player: Jozef Hiršal
cast: Dita Kaplanová, Vašek Svoboda, Ladislav Hauser, Ivana Hloužková, Alena Ambrová, Gabriela Ježková, Stanislava Havelková, Jan Kolaŕík, Pavel Zatloukal, Roman Slovák, Michal Bumbálek