Czech Theatre Review 1989–2009

– comes out in summer 2011 –

The publication Czech Theatre Review 1989–2009 comprises a selection of ten articles on theatre from the journal Divadelní revue (Theatre Review), originally published in the years 1989–2009, in English translation. The individual texts focus on a variety of historical, as well as theoretical issues related to Czech theatre culture, from an analysis of Jesuit and puppet plays to discussions of theatre directing and theory of the 1990s.

The Czech journal for theatre studies Divadelní revue was founded at the Department for Czech Theatre Studies, which has been a part of the Arts and Theatre Institute in Prague. Currently it comes out three times per year as a fully reviewed periodical, consisting of thematic sections dedicated to historical and theoretical studies, analyses, essays, reviews, interviews, and documents related to Czech, as well as international theatre culture.

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Content of Czech Theatre Review 1989–2009

Czech Theatre Revue from 1989 up to the present (Honza Petružela)

Magdaléna Jacková
The Mirror of Virtue, the Miracle of Eloquence, the Oracle of Wisdom. Jesuit Plays about St. Catherine of Alexandria (2008)

Alice Dubská
The Puppet Play “The Hudlice Fair” in the Context of 17th­ and 18th­Century Drama (1993)

Pavla Pešková
The Chateau Stages of the Wallenstein Family in Bohemia and Moravia (2005)

Eva Šormová
Hamlet 1926. Hilar's production of Hamlet in the context of interpretations of the play (1990)

Jana Patočková
Otomar Krejča: Theatre and Politics (2001)

Zdeněk Hořínek
The Metaphorical Theatre of Fact. Some Comments on One Path Taken by Studio Ypsilon (1990)

Jan Roubal
Two Alternative Trends in Ivan Vyskočil's Nedivadlo (1997)

Vladimír Just
The Language of Experanto. Dramatis Impersonae in the Plays of Václav Havel (2004)

Věra Velemanová
Theatre Director Petr Lébl and Scenographer William Nowák: Two Men in One (2005)

Jaroslav Etlík
Theatre as Experience. On the relationship between the noetic and ontological principles in theatre art (1999)

Czech Theatre Revue from 1989 up to the present

Although more than twenty years have elapsed since the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the availability of the production of Czech scholars in theatre studies is still very limited for readers who have no command of the Czech language. The present volume published under the title Czech Theatre Review 1989–2009 is an attempt at rectifying this debt, at least partially, by presenting in English a small sample from the diversity of Czech theatre studies in a selection of ten papers originally published in Divadelní revue (Theatre Review) during the last two decades.
The Divadelní revue journal was founded under the auspices of the Department for Czech Theatre Studies as a specialised periodical devoted to historical and theoretical research concerning Czech theatre over the spread of time beginning in the early Middle Ages up to the present day. The focus in each of the volumes is on studies by Czech authors, as well as scholars from other countries, who specialise in the history and theory of both Czech theatre and theatre in the world at large. The journal contains critical reviews of the majority of Czech publications on theatrical issues, and selectively also of those published abroad. It also brings news about various activities in the field of theatre. Additional sections present analyses of historical, as well as contemporary theatre productions, lexicographic entries, and interviews given by theatre scholars. The section headed “Documents” contains editions of archive materials, theatre plays, scripts, catalogues etc.
In the period of 1989–2009, during which it appeared as a quarterly, and which is represented in this collection, the journal published some four hundred articles in theatre studies. The journal's long­standing editors Eva Šormová and Štěpán Otčenášek have selected from this abundance ten comprehensive articles, which are concerned with a variety of phenomena and periods in the history of theatre culture in the Czech lands. The texts in this collection by representatives of both the older and the younger generations of theatre scholars are ordered chronologically and according to the topics they deal with. They offer at least a partial, fleeting insight into the historical expanse of Czech theatre and theatre studies. Research in the more remote history of Czech, theatre is represented by an analysis of the dramatic production of Jesuit schools in Prague, by a treatment of the dramatic context of the origin of texts of puppet plays in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as by a description of the venues of manorial theatres in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The twentieth century is represented by an analysis of the production of Hamlet at the National Theatre in 1926, set in a broad historical context. Other essays are devoted to a variety of theatrical phenomena of the second half of the century: the artistic theatre of the renowned theatre director Otomar Krejča, the working methods of the studio theatre Ypsilon, the characteristics of the unique phenomenon of Ivan Vyskočil's “Non­theatre” (Nedivadlo), Václav Havel's dramatic composition, and, finally, from the 1990s, the scenographic aspects of the productions by Petr Lébl. The collection is concluded with an extensive essay on “theatre as experience”.
Since 2010, i.e. its 21st volume, Divadelní revue appears as a reviewed journal three times a year, with a new editorial board, a new graphic design, and with an expanded concept of content. The contributions in individual issues are newly conceived as profiled thematic units, which continue in the journal's tradition of aiming at a well­balanced presentation of Czech, as well as world theatre history. What is new is a more pronounced emphasis on the theory of theatre; a section featuring interviews, and analytical examinations of current theatre productions are likewise innovations in the content of the magazine. An overview of the contents and topics of individual copies, including English résumés, can be found on the journal's website ( An annotated bibliography of all the twenty volumes of the journal will appear towards the end of 2011.
The present selection is the first volume of intended future selections from Divadelní revue, which will follow – in shorter intervals – in order that information about Czech theatre and theatre studies is more readily available to interested audiences abroad. At the same time we would like to enlarge the body of contributors to include scholars from other countries and establish partnership contacts with similar institutions in the world.
On behalf of the authors, the editors, and all those who have participated in the design of the journal and of its present volume I would like to wish you inspiring reading about theatre culture in the Czech lands.

Honza Petružela, editor-in-chief of Divadelní revue

Magdaléna Jacková: The Mirror of Virtue, the Miracle of Eloquence, the Oracle of Wisdom. Jesuit Plays about St. Catherine of Alexandria.

For centuries Catherine of Alexandria was one of the most popular saints, and was named Patron Saint of many different professions. For her wisdom, learning, and eloquence, scholars, teachers and students revered her as their protector. At Jesuit schools, the highest class, rhetoric, fell under her “sphere of influence”; therefore the rhetoric class regularly performed plays about their patron. There are twenty-four plays about Catherine on the list of Jesuit plays of Czech provenience put together by Ferdinand Menčík and Jan Port. However, the number includes some performances that were not independent plays on their own but, rather, scenes or tableaux, usually put on as part of the processions organised for the feast of Corpus Christi. A general rule about Jesuit theatre is that the plays we know of today represent just a fragment of a much larger body of work. Similarly, there were certainly many more Catherine plays written by Jesuit playwrights that have been lost. Thus an attempt to identify general tendencies, like the popularity of a particular theme, solely on the basis of the material that has survived is somewhat risky. Nevertheless, the plays about St. Catherine do reveal some signs of a certain trend. The essay analyses eight synopses of Catherine plays, and focuses on the transformations and modifications of their structure, motives, and thematic frameworks.

Magdaléna Jacková (1976) is a graduate in theatre studies, French and Latin from the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, Prague. Since 2003, she has been a member of the Department for Czech Theatre Studies of the Theatre Institute. She specializes in the research of Jesuit School Drama.

Key words: Catherine of Alexandria – Jesuits – School Theatre – Dramatic structure.

Alice Dubská: The Puppet Play “The Hudlice Fair” in the Context of 17th- and 18th-Century Drama.

The Czech puppet play The Hudlice Fair (Posvícení v Hudlicích), which is also performed under a number of other titles (e.g. Oldřich and Božena, Prince Oldřich, Origins of the Prague Fair, Origin of the House of Černín), even today remains one of the best-known and most frequently performed plays of Czech 19th- and 20th-century folk puppetry. Some scholars have estimated that the number of times it has been performed since the beginning of the 19th century, when it probably originated, to date exceeds that of the most frequently staged Czech dramas and operas. More testimony to its immense popularity is the fact that even Antonín Dvořák drew inspiration from it to compose his opera The King and the Charcoal Burner (Král a uhlíř, 1874, libretto by Bernard Guldener). Although since the mid-19th century there have been varying opinions about who the author of The Hudlice Fair was, no one has ever really doubted the fact that it is an entirely original Czech play. However, recent studies clearly demonstrate that this opinion is deceptive. Today we know that the basic plot of this play was used earlier in a work by the Italian Renaissance author Matteo Bandello (1485–1561). His story The Noble Mohammedan was known throughout Europe and was a source of inspiration for many playwrights, including Lope de Vega, Cervantes, and William Shakespeare. The plot of Bandello's story formed the basis for many European dramatic works written in the 17th and 18th centuries. The essay traces various influences and compares inspirational models or prototypes in order to uncover circumstances surrounding its origin. By a close examination of various foreign sources, the essay presents an overview of the historical phenomenon of 19th-century Czech folk puppetry.

Key words: Enlightement – Puppet theatre – Drama – The Hudlice Fair.

Alice Dubská (1938) graduated from the Theatre Studies Department of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague. Between 1967–1993, she worked at the Departement for Czech Theatre Studies of the Institute of Czech and World Literatures. From 1997 to 2010 she held lectures at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre of DAMU, Prague (Theatre Faculty, Academy of Performing Arts). She is an author of a number of essays and scholarly articles. In 2004, she published a book Dvě století českého loutkářství (Two Centuries of Czech Puppet Theatre).

Pavla Pešková: The Chateau Stages of the Wallenstein Family in Bohemia and Moravia.

The best-known chateau theatres in the Czech Republic are in Český Krumlov and Litomyšl. Lesser-known theatres that have survived to date can be found, for instance, in the chateaux in Nové Hrady, Mnichovo Hradiště, Kačina, Hluboká, Třeboň, and Kozel near Pilsen. It seems that few people today are aware of the fact that in the 18th and 19th centuries almost every noble residence, chateau, or palace had a private theatre of its own. According to historical records, in those two centuries there were around 300 theatres owned by the aristocracy in the Czech Lands. Barely two dozen of them have survived to the present day. One noble family with strong ties to the theatre in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was the Wallenstein family. Members of the many branches of this large Czech dynasty had theatres in their chateaux in Litomyšl, Mnichovo Hradiště, Duchcov, Třebíč, and Kozel, and they also built a theatre in their palace in Malá Strana in Prague. The essay focuses on the description of the chateau theatres (architecture, stage machinery, props and costumes, stage scenery, lighting), drawing on the materials stored in the Wallenstein Family Archive.

Key words: Chateau theatre – Theatre architecture – Stage machinery – Wallenstein dynasty.

Pavla Pešková (1975) is a graduate from the Theatre Studies Departement of the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University Brno. She completed her doctoral studies at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts. In her research she focuses on Baroque theatre. She is a co-author of a monograph Zámecké divadlo v Mnichově Hradišti (The Chateau Theatre at Mnichovo Hradiště).

Eva Šormová: Hamlet 1926. Hilar's production of Hamlet in the context of interpretations of the play.

Karel Hugo Hilar's production of Hamlet (1926, National Theatre, Prague) represents one of the most important works of Czech post­Expressionist theatre of the 1920s. The introductory part of the analysis situates Hilar's Hamlet into the wider historical context of theatre in the Czech Lands. Shakespeare's tragedy is discussed against the backdrop of historical and social milieu, which influenced and formed its stage interpretations. As such, the analysis provides an insight into the development of theatre in the Czech Lands from the late 1800s up to the beginning of the 20th century (from revivalist tendencies to more refined aesthetic concepts, among which Jaroslav Kvapil's psychological­impressionistic productions assume the key role).

Hilar's Hamlet revealed new interpretative potentials of Shakespeare's play. Unlike Kvapil's productions, Hilar's pre­war, as well as wartime theatre shows were shaped by modernist concepts, namely by Expressionism. In the 1920s, however, his work underwent a crucial transformation. The post­war situation, as well as his private life, led him to a critical re­consideration of previous approaches and style; his Hamlet reflected a shift from radical Expressionism to socially and ethically engaged ‘civilism.’ The analysis describes the genesis of the production, which started with a new translation of Hamlet, commissioned by Hilar from Bohumil Štěpánek. Hilar himself made some substantial textual modifications, which transformed both the atmosphere and the meaning of Shakespeare's play. In co­operation with the set designer Vlastislav Hofman, Hilar sought to create a production which would give voice to the world­view of his generation. Dynamic set design, synthesizing various styles, was reminiscent of Craig's concept of Hamlet (1912), produced at Stanislavski's Moscow Art Theatre. The style of acting, free of tragic pathos, corresponded with Hilar's requirement of civility. Hilar's approach to acting stressed the importance of each character and his/hers complexity and ambiguity. The character of Hamlet, as portrayed by Eduard Kohout, a young lyrical performer, was interpreted as a hypersensitive, contemplative boy, oppressed by the immoral world, represented by the well­mannered but hypocritical Elsinor society. The contradiction between the masks of social convention and the true nature of Kohout's Hamlet was the central topic of Hilar's production. As a result, his production of Hamlet was not about Hamlet and the other characters but, rather, about the society and its everyday manifestations of conventions. Hilar's Hamlet enriched the Czech stage history of this work with a unique interpretation, and definitely marked the direction in which modern interpretations of classical dramas should go.

Key words: Karel Hugo Hilar – William Shakespeare – Hamlet – National theatre – Directing  – Expressionism.

Eva Šormová (1944) is a graduate from Charles University Prague where she completed her degree in History and Theory of Theatre. She is currently involved in the research work concerning Czech theatre of the 19th and 20th centuries. She is a supervisor of the research project titled Czech Theatre Encyclopaedia as well as an editor of Divadelní revue (Theatre Review). Between 1990 and 2010 she was Head of the Departement for Czech Theatre Studies of the Theatre Institute.

Jana Patočková: Otomar Krejča: Theatre and Politics.

(Revised and extended study presented at the Symposium Le théâtre d'art au XXème siècle, organized by Académie expérimentale des théâtres and Institut d'études théâtrales in Paris 1997). Otomar Krejča's theatrical biography is exceptional in many regards, but especially in its reach across time and space, encompassing the occurrence and combination of various, at first glance incompatible, styles of Czech and European 20th-century theatre, each representative of different epochs. Krejča worked with a variety of theatre formats: an itinerant theatre ensemble, the National Theatre, large and small theatres, amateur provincial student theatres, and professional theatres in major European capitals. Despite this diversity, there is a continuity and organic form of progression inherent to his work. The biographical essay summarizes Krejča's life in theatre from his amateur beginnings to later years in professional theatres. A significant part of the essay focuses on Krejča's articles, studies, notes, and interviews, which have, from the very beginning, consistently posed questions about the meaning, purpose, and social positioning of theatre.

Key words: Otomar Krejča – National Theatre – Theatre beyond the Gate – Art theatre – Theatre & Politics.

Jana Patočková (1939), a graduate from DAMU Prague (Theatre Faculty Academy of Performing Arts). She received her degree in Theatre Science and Dramaturgy. Between 1963–1971 she was an editor of the journal Divadlo (Theatre). Currently she works in the Publishing Department of the Arts and Theatre Institute. Formerly she was an editor of the Czech Theatre/Théâtre tchèque journal, she is also an editor of the book series Světové divadlo (World Theatre) and České divadlo (Czech Theatre), as well as of a number of other scholarly publications. After 1990, she has published reviews and studies in the Svět a divadlo (World and Theatre) journal, Divadelní noviny (Theatre News), and Divadelní revue (Theatre Review).

Zdeněk Hořínek: The Metaphorical Theatre of Fact. Some comments on one path taken by Studio Ypsilon.

The Prague Studio Ypsilon, one of the most influential theatres engaged in the Little Theatres Movement of the 1960s, came to the fore with their “encyclopaedic” productions of historical facts and events. However based on documentary materials, the Studio's approach intentionally avoided a ‘faithful’, chronological re­production of official histories. The objective of the metaphorical theatre of fact, as practised by Studio Ypsilon, was not to reconstruct historical events, but to confront the past with the present. The present was here represented by the theatre's collective members, a subjective agent placed face to face with objective material. The past, done and finished, was actively opened by collective play. The past was made present and the present was historicised. In other words, linear narrative was substituted with artistic strategies of associative montage, collage, and juxtaposition. The “encyclopaedic” principle of montage, association, and confrontation contains the seed of what can be called “metaphorical theatre of fact”. The result was an unofficial chronicle of the times, confronting the public with the private, the high with the low, and the serious with the ridiculous.

Key words: Studio Ypsilon – Theatre of fact – Metaphor – Montage – Collective creation.

Zdeněk Hořínek (1931), theatre theoretician, historian, and reviewer, co-author of theatre and radio plays, adaptations and dramatizations. He was a dramaturge of F. X. Šalda Theatre in Liberec, deputy editor-in-chief of the journal Divadlo (Theatre) (1968–1971), dramaturge of E. F. Burian Theatre in Prague (1971–1988). His longstanding collaboration as author, dramaturge, and actor with Studio Ypsilon began in 1967. Between 1988–1993 he worked at the Departement for Czech Theatre Studies of the Institute of Czech and World Literatures. From 1969 to 1975 he was a guest lecturer at DAMU (Theatre Faculty, Academy of Performing Arts), and since 1993 he has given lectures on theory of drama and theatre at the Department of Theatre Studies of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague. He is an author of Kniha o komedii (The Book on Comedy), Drama, divadlo, divák (Drama, Theatre, Spectator), Cesty moderního dramatu (The Ways of Modern Drama), Divadlo mezi modernou a postmodernou (Theatre Between Modernism and Postmodernism), or Duchovní dimenze divadla (The Spiritual Dimensions of Theatre).

Jan Roubal: Two Alternative Trends in Ivan Vyskočil's Nedivadlo.

Ivan Vyskočil's (1929) Nedivadlo (Non­theatre, 1963–1990) is undoubtedly one of the most original phenomena in Czech theatre of the past four decades. The essay draws attention to the possibility of observing Vyskočil´s alternative theatre methods and approaches as an expression of analogical to certain deeper trends in contemporary world theatre: despite all the originality of Nedivadlo, largely tied up with the versatility of Vyskočil's personality, its programme has, in many ways, shown parallels with the alternative theatre movement known under Kazimierz Braun's umbrella term “Second Theatre Reform”. The study identifies the parallels with alternative trends in at least two respects – the search for an alternative operating model, and the extreme playfulness that characterise Nedivadlo – and relates these to some of the qualities it shares with paratheatre, and especially with theatre therapy. The aim of the article is to point out the possibility of applying precisely this kind of “panoramic” context, where Vyskočil's theatrical vision can find its proper place and meaning in the conditions of Czech and international theatre.

Key words: Ivan Vyskočil – Alternative theatre – Nedivadlo (Non­theatre) – Psychodrama – Sociodrama.

Jan Roubal (1947) was, until 1990, a teacher of literary and drama education at People's Schools of Art in Prostějov and Olomouc. He was also actively involved in amateur non-traditional theatre. In the years 1990–2007 he was a member of the Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies of the Faculty of Arts, Palacký University, Olomouc. From 1990 to 1997 he simultaneously co-operated with the Department of Drama of JAMU (Janáček Academy of Music and Perfoming Arts), where he returned in 2007. His work mainly focuses on theory of drama and aesthetics of alternative theatre. He translated Irena Sławińska's Divadlo v současném myšlení (Contemporary Reflections on Theatre) and prepared an anthology Souřadnice a kontexty divadla: antologie současné německé divadelní teorie (Coordinates and Contexts: An anthology of contemporary German theory of drama).

Vladimír Just: The Language of Experanto. Dramatis Impersonae in the Plays of Václav Havel.

Personal responsibility – or, more accurately, its irretrievable loss and the tragicomic consequences of this loss – is a pivotal, general, and ubiquitous theme in Václav Havel's dramatic, as well as political/philosophical writings. For Havel, personal responsibility is linked with language as a defining principle of human existence. In this context, when statements and truths have no one standing behind them, avouching or internally embracing them, when they lack continuity of opinion or a moral aspect, then both art and democracy are reduced to mere technologies, empty mechanical operations, impersonal exchanges of information, automatic machinery devoid of human meaning. From this perspective, the whole grotesque world of Havel's plays, which reflects a destruction and depersonalization of language, can be provisionally defined as “a world without personal responsibilities“. In such a world, the dramatis personae or dramatic personalities turn into dramatic impersonalities who resemble so­‑called experts – professionals of emptiness, “eschatologists of impersonality” whose language is the language of “experanto”.

Key words: Václav Havel – Theatre of the Absurd – Language of experanto – Dramatis impersonae.

Vladimír Just (1946) is professor of theatre studies at the Department of Theatre Studies of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. In 1989–2004 he was editor-in-chief of the Divadelní revue (Theatre Review) magazine. He is laureate of the F. X. Šalda prize and author or co-author of 19 books (predominantly about Czech theatre), and of a number of studies, essays and reviews, e.g. Proměny malých scén (Metamorphoses of Little Theatres) and Divadlo v totalitním systému (Theatre in Totalitary System).

Věra Velemanová: Theatre Director Petr Lébl and Scenographer William Nowák: Two Men in One.

Petr Lébl (1965–1999), a Czech theatre practician active in the 1980s and 1990s, was known for the hard-to-capture style, stemming from his syncretic method which combined innovative directing with imaginative set design compositions. There is no other figure in the Czech theatre who combined stage design and direction in such absolute terms. As a scenographer he sometimes signed as Arnold Lébl or Letitia von Brandenstein, but for most of his professional productions his scenographer is identified as William Nowák. However, Lébl never considered himself a set designer. For him, the staging of a play was an indivisible form where all the elements were closely tied together, conditioning and influencing one another.

The essay outlines Lébl's artistic journey from amateur beginnings (1980 – 1991) to his later career in professional theatre (1992 – 1999). Particular attention is paid to Lébl's treatment of the stage environment and his unique orchestration of all stage elements.

Key words: Petr Lébl – Directing – Set design – Theatre on the Ballustrade – Postmodernism.

Věra Velemanová (1965) Following several pedagogical appointments, she worked as an art historian and librarian at the District Museum in Příbram (1997–2000). Since 1997, she has been collaborating with the Theatre Institute. In 2000, she has become a regular member of the Department for Czech Theatre Studies. She was a co-author of Starší české divadlo (Older Czech Theatre) and Hudební divadlo v českých zemích: Osobnosti 19. století (Music Theatre in the Czech Lands: Personalities of the 19th Century). Currently, she is involved in the grant project titled Činoherní divadlo realizované v české řeči (1862–1918) (Drama Theatre Produced in the Czech Language). Her research concentrates on the history of Czech set design and theatre activities of Russian immigrants in Czechoslovakia. She is a co-author of the monograph Libor Fára – Dílo (Libor Fára – Work).

Jaroslav Etlík: Theatre as Experience. On the relationship between the noetic and ontological principles in theatre art.

The presented treatise examines the current state of theatre theory in the Czech Republic within the framework of structural­semiotic approaches. It delineates the fundamental points of departure of the structural­‑semiotic school established by Otakar Zich's seminal work Aesthetics of Dramatic Art, Theoretical Dramaturgy (1931). In the centre of Zich's theory stands the actor and his artistry, i.e., in Zich's words, the performer figure, who is exposed to the spectators' perception. For Zich, the audience is an important component of the theatre production: by the audience's active participation theatre art is completed. Hence, the end product of the actor's creation is not the performer figure but the dramatic character, who emerges by virtue of the spectators' mental and sensorial activity. In semiotic terms, the performer figure stands for the sign, and the dramatic character for its meaning. However, the essay reveals Zich's systemic trick hidden in his theory, i.e. the omission of the actor as an integral and holistic human being. In this way, the actor in The Aesthetics of Dramatic Art becomes a phenomenon that has a real existence on the stage and that the audience is aware of, but whose real existence, at the same time, is not registered objectively by the spectator, who thus does not draw any practical conclusions from it. For the spectator the actor exists in the real, but not in the objective sense. He is beyond semantic grasp. For Zich, the principle of the reception of a dramatic work, i.e. its component which takes place between the stage and the audience, happens exclusively between the viewer and the performer figure. From the point of view of the illustrative, semiotic perception of the work (the only one Zich accepts), the real person of the actor is irrelevant. However, the development of 20th century theatre made Zich's theoretical efforts increasingly more problematic. Although theatre maintained the principles of semiotic, or else noetic functioning, it also discovered and accentuated its ontological, empirical nature in which the actor presents himself and is experienced as a completely unique natural human being rather than a performer figure. In this context is mentioned the concept of ostension, introduced into Czech theatre theory by Ivo Osolsobě. Exploring various forms of alternative theatre forms, the essay points out that the theoretical apparatus of the structural­semiotic school initiated by Zich's Aesthetics, which is oriented to the noetic function of theatre, is unable to articulate the ontological aspects of theatre since they subvert the semantic structure of the work of art. In other words, the structural­semiotic school is inefficient in reflecting many new theatre activities in which the ontological aspect suppresses the noetic one. The essay then suggests new departures for theatre theory, which have to take into account the co­‑existence of both the noetic and ontological aspects of theatre.

Key words: Structuralism – Semiotics – Epistemology – Ontology – Otakar Zich.

Jaroslav Etlík (1956). Theatre theoretician, dramaturge, and university professor, who graduated in Dramaturgy from DAMU, Prague (Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Perfoming Arts) in 1988. Between 1987 and 1990, he was a dramaturge of Klicpera’s Theatre in Hradec Králové, and, in 1990, he was appointed a dramaturge of the Prague theatre Studio Ypsilon. Since 1990, he has been a member of the Department of Theory and Criticism of the Academy of Performing Arts. Since 2007, he teaches dramaturgy and theory of drama at the Department of Theatre Studies of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague. He is an author of a number of works, which were published in cultural columns of daily newspapers, as well as in scholarly journals, books, and anthologies, including Divadelní revue (Theatre Review), Divadelní noviny (Theatre News), Disk, or Loutkář (Puppeteer).

Selection of texts: Eva Šormová and Štěpán Otčenášek
Translation: Robin Cassling and Julek Neumann
Language editors: Klára Kolinská and Martin Pšenička
Managing editor: Honza Petružela
Layout and typesetting: Honza Petružela
Printed and bound by PRINTIA, s. r. o., Prague
Published by Arts and Theatre Institute in Prague as its 610th publication in 2011
First edition, 224 pages

ISBN 978-80-7008-252-2