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All in favor, raise your hand(s)

Our annual get-together in Hukvaldy to close out the theater season and take our bows before the next one begins in September. A motion was raised during the proceedings about whether the director tends to complain a lot and this was the result. This being the Czech Republic, voting twice at the same time comes natural. For those wondering, the lone hand on the right is attached to the body of Monika.

Finale 2016

The final performance of The Minister Swap for this season, followed by the traditional singalong gathering with violin and ukulele.

Dress rehearsal for the Minister Swap

Time for some dress-rehearsing The Minister Swap as we head into the final stretch before the premiere. These scenes show our project managers Marta and Magda explaining what the hell this is all about, the president welcoming the American secretary of education, the Czech minister of education visiting an American student speaking Czenglish, and the two ministers getting into a brawl during the evaluation session.

On the real road with Nohar

Performance in Bohumin, the first time most of the players have been to this city on the Polish border.

Představení v Bohumíně, většina herců byla v tomto městě, na polské hranici, poprvé.

Real bananas

Konečně se nám podařilo sehnat plastové banány do hry Nohař, které dorazily přesně před naším víkendovým představením v Proskovicích. Divákům se hra líbila a pomohli nám uklidit i židle. Členové místní divadelní společnosti 1. Jarkovská, se k nám poté připojili na skleničku. Po několika pivech a rumech jsme se dostali k sázce – kdo z nás napíše lepší hru na téma: Výměna ministrů

We finally found some plastic bananas to use in Nohar and they arrived in time for our performance in Proskovice over the weekend. The audience quite enjoyed the play and helped us clear out the seats afterwards. Members of the local theatre group 1. Jarkovská then joined us for a drink. Several beers and rum later and it concluded with a bet: which group will be the first to write a play on the same topic: The Minister Exchange.

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Enthemor in review

Enthemor (English Theatre Moravia) finished the Buchary festival unscathed and with two awards, for Darren’s script Nohar and Ola’s performance as Madame Director. A good time for a brief look at our previous work over the years.9270 9298DSC_0641 DSC_0649 DSC_1025No Ship 1 No Ship 12 No Ship 13LDO 15 LDO 23 LDO 3423 24 32Sally Carter scene 1-3 SC 5 SC 8

Dress rehearsal/premiere

The dress rehearsal for The Foot Doctor took place at the annual autumn outing to Petrvald. It was filmed and therefore could show us everything that needed adjustment before the premiere the next day in Frydek. And it really was everything. But a full house, correct lights, sounds and curtains made sure the official launch went fairly well. Below is a review written as the younger generation’s take on that “normal” period of the country’s history. In Czech though. A loose translation into English would be “It was great!”. 

Nohař, aneb Marxista z Hollywoodu

Plastové banány, provizorní whisky z nemocničního jódu, kofola, chlebíčky a jedna nepovedená návštěva falešného amerického marxisty. Těmito kulturními referencemi ponořila veselohra amerického Frýdečana Darena Bakera diváky zpět do bizarních časů normalizace, kdy zdi veřejných prostor zdobil Husák, lidé se oslovovali „soudruhu“ a i nemožné bylo možné. Hlavní zápletkou konverzační komedie na normalizační téma je přednáška již zmiňovaného hollywoodského marxisty a zároveň oficiálního lékaře politbyra tehdejší Německé demokratické republiky toho času působícího v Karlmarxstadtu. Ten poctí svou návštěvou a osvětou pražskou nemocnici, jejíž ředitel s chotí mu po přednášce vystrojí malé občerstvení ve foyer.

První část by se dala nazvat „čekáním na marxistu“, za jehož nepřítomnosti diskutuje nad chlebíčky paní ředitelová s lékaři a s uklizečkou o normalizačním životě a jeho léčkách. Ačkoliv aktéři patří k různým názorovým táborům od skepticismu po budovatelský entusiasmus, debatou prosakuje nesmyslnost všedního dne, kde si lidé lžou do kapsy, že plastové banány jsou skutečné a kde uklizečky hovoří cizími jazyky, protože jsou lékařkami, které „nepodepsaly“. Na rozdíl od Godota ale marxista skutečně přijde a vyvolá na jevišti nové konfrontace, patolízalství (téměř doslova, vždyť je specializací „nohař“) a rozpaky. A to tím více, že ze specialisty přes chodidla a ideologii se vyklube hochštapler uprchlý z opavské psychiatrické léčebny. Ale kdo měl rozeznat hollywoodský akcent od akcentu „po našimu“?

Tento americko-československý kus nastavuje karikaturní zrcadlo bizarní době minulého režimu a je o to zvláštnější, že autorem (ztvárňujícím také marxistu) je Američan, který tuto dobu v praxi nezažil, na rozdíl od většiny herců, kteří na place rozverně vdechují hře život. Zaváhání na jevišti, jistou schematičnost děje a postav či místy dlouhé konverzační pasáže divák hercům promine, neboť jako celek má hra spád a skutečně se jedná o „bláznivou komedii“ (jak informuje titul) a ne akademickou debatu o době Husáka.

Hra může být hůře pochopitelná pro mladší ročníky (ke kterým se řadí i autorka recenze). Ty nemohou zalovit v osobních vzpomínkách a srovnat autentičnost děje či sáhnout po vlastních dobových historkách. Kus je ale zajímavým příspěvkem do debaty právě v těchto dnech, kdy slavíme 25. výročí Sametové revoluce. Jedněm nabízí vhled do kapitol dějin, o kterých se ve školách dnes moc nemluví, a druhým vzpomínky na mládí, na které ze zdi dohlížel již výše zmiňovaný Husák.

 

No play yet, but at least there’s a poster!

Nohar plakatIt’s been a while since anything was heard from The Foot Doctor, our new play about a Hollywood doctor who goes to live in East Germany as a protest against the Corporation’s President Ronald Reagan and whose visit to a hospital in the former Communist Czechoslovakia is full of unintended consequences, not the least being whether the bananas on the table are real or plastic. The premiere is on 15 November, whether the performance itself will be real or plastic remains to be seen. Should be fun in either case.

Summer twilight

The annual summer outdoor get-together was a grand feast as usual. Eva’s homemade cheesecake, Radka’s homemade chicken wings, Jarmila’s homemade frgal, and Milan’s homemade plum brandy all competed for the top honors of “Best Homemade”. Not surprisingly, all four had been consumed before the award could be made. The fun and games of summer are over, now it’s time to get down to business with our Marxist foot doctor. The premiere is scheduled for 15 November and since the theater was flooded and we have a new final version to learn, there will be a lot of work to do to catch up before then. Alles gute!

Bananas from Opava

The city of Opava still retains the charm of its days as the capital of Upper Silesia, but as the home of a psychiatric ward, it makes a nice mention for the new surprise ending to Nohar. A couple of men in white overcoats sneak in and apply the same karate chop to our guest from Karl Marx Stadt that he just demonstrated on the interpreter. When Madame Director’s Wife refuses to believe the slumped figure in the wheelchair is an imposter from the madhouse, they take out a contraption and arouse him with a zap of voltage. Arouse him they do, for he launches into a foul-mouth tirade that doesn’t end until they lure him back to the chair with a banana and give him another zap. The poor interpreter, he’s grabbed her by the arms at the time, so she gets zapped as well and goes crashing to the floor for a second time that act.

Meet the Politburo

Given the nature of our new production, it was appropriate to name a politburo, aka steering committee, to come up with a new five-month plan. So here they are from the right: Jerry, Kristyna, Monika, Kristyna and Darren. If the fiery eyes of our two Kristynas hint that a vampire play is in the offing, rest assured it is not. But a zombie one is!! The idea was floated around for a play called The Cable Car, where unsuspecting passengers would board a, yes, cable car, and then be unceremoniously pitched out from the heights, aka off the stage. They would then return in a later act as zombies. It should be a hit with the walking dead all the rage of the creative industry these days, and it makes a nice metaphor for introducing our politburo to the world.

The Enthemor Politburo
The Enthemor Politburo

An ending with a bang

There was a general feeling that The Foot Doctor lacked a “good bang” at the end, as Salieri says in Amadeus, to let the audience know when to clap.  Now it does, with two guys in white coats sneaking up behind the Nohar and karate chopping him. When Madame Director’s Wife doesn’t believe their explanation that he is in fact an escaped madhouse patient posing as a Marxist doctor from Hollywood, they attach an electrical gadget to his head and shock him, which results in him jumping up and down and challenging the others “Who isn’t jumping ain’t no Czech”. None of that is apparent in the pictures below, because we still have to build the electrical gadget.

Nohar – The Foot Doctor

After the mildest of winters, Enthemor is back with a new production, a retro play about East meeting West behind the Iron Curtain. It’s the 1980s and a hospital in Prague welcomes an eminent guest from Hollywood, a foot doctor and Marxist who seems rather ignorant about both, but knows a good buffet when he sees one. All the hardships of the Cold War are on display here: plastic bananas and ersatz booze in the communist bloc, and a cheapskate capitalist system that calls ketchup a vegetable to save money.