Czech Theatre Review

2011, vol. 22, n. 2 – peer-revied articles

Magdaléna Jacková & Martin Bažil: Between Reconstruction and Shock: A historically informed interpretation of Baroque and Classicist theatre on the contemporary French stage.

Individual art forms have developed different methods for adequate rendering of works dating from earlier periods – e.g. in music a so-called historically informed practice of performance (whose aim is to come as close as possible to the sound of the period), in literary translation a conformal method of translation (which maintains the formal devices of the original, albeit at the cost of seeming odd and unintelligible to the reader). In dramatic theatre approaches of this kind are as yet unusual. However, there exists in France a movement inspired by the work of Eugène Green that endeavours to stage the French Baroque and Classicist repertoire in accordance with the staging practice of the particular period. The paper illustrates the possibilities of such an approach to staging drama on three productions: Molière's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (2004, dir. Benjamin Lazar) and Le Médecin malgré lui (2002, dir. Jean-Denis Monory) and Théophile de Viau's Les amours tragiques de Pyrame at Thisbé (2009, dir. Benjamin Lazar).

Jan Zdichynec: Un spectacle vraiment pathétique? The character of a nun in French drama of the late eighteenth century.

Monastic life, and particularly nuns as a theme of belle lettres have already commanded considerable attention on the part of literary scholars. The depictions of monasticism in works of literature are, for that matter, significant also for historians, since they reflect the prestige and value awarded to monasteries and nunneries in different periods of history. In addition, the depictions provide a closer look at the “average”, everyday reality of monastic life perceived from different points of view, which is important owing to the lack of other sources which would illustrate the internal life in cloisters, and especially in women's cloisters, in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times. The question remains, however, to what extent the literary representation of monks and nuns is based on reality, and to what extent it is a projection of the notions and specific intentions of contemporary authors. The present study at first gives a brief summary of the various forms of critical discourse on monasticism, and proceeds with an analysis of selected texts from a comprehensive corpus of French drama dating from the last third of the eighteenth century, in which the figure of a woman – nun is represented in different guises.

Mariana Kunešová: What Time Does a Train Leave for Paris? Apollinaire's “electrifying” pantomime dating from 1914, its metamorphoses and stagings.

The essay examines a relatively little known libretto of Apollinaire‘s pantomime What Time Does a Train Leave for Paris? (À quelle heure un train partira-t­il pour Paris?) dating from 1914, and the authorial ballet adaptation A Man with No Eyes No Nose and No Ears (Un homme sans yeux sans nez et sans oreilles) dating from 1917. The pantomime, especially, is a remarkable illustration of Apollinaire's ability to absorb the contemporary avantgarde artistic tendencies, and develop and interconnect them in original ways, as well as making inventive use of a variety of audial and visual elements. The Man with No Eyes No Nose and No Ears, likewise, is a prominent figure, which contributed to the development of one of the disturbing motifs typical for the twentieth century. The paper proceeds with a treatment of both the realised and unrealised staging projects which were based on these texts (1914, 1917, 1945, 1989). The appendix contains a reprint of the original version of the libretto for the pantomime and the ballet together with a Czech translation.

Soňa Šimková: Artaud's voice in the time of indolence or back to the source of performance.

The essay examines Antonin Artaud's influence on the development of liminal theatre form – performance. Artaud's provocative public speeches, which combined lecture with authentic involvement and theatrical presentation, anticipated contemporary performance theatre. The paper discusses two specific presentations – “The Theatre and the Plague” at Sorbonne (1933) and his famous post-war lecture at the Vieux-Colombier (1947) – and analyzes the potential of Artaud's radio show To Have Done with the Judgement of God (Pour en finir avec le jugement de Dieu), namely in the context of American counter-culture. Particular attention is paid to the post-9/11 revival of the play in Peter Sellars' production (2002).

Arnaud Rykner: Claude Régy: Director, Dreamer and Rebel.

The special and extraordinary importance of Claude Régy (born in 1923) in the French theatre since the 1950’s is due to the radical positions he has defended and put into practice since his first plays, defying the traditional divisions allowed. Mental theater along with physical and sensitive theatre, “theatre of image” deeply rooted in the texts, his own work as a director has raised awareness on some of the greatest works of contemporary world dramatic literature, and led to discover major French actors of the period.

Elise Van Haesebroeck: Josef Nadj, Aesthetics of the Liminal Body.

Based on the analysis of productions by Joseph Nadj (1957) – Pekinese Duck (Canard pékinois, 1987), Small Morning Psalm (Petit psaume du matin, 1999), Last Landscape (2005), Asobu (2006), Paso Doble and Rooks (Les Corbeaux, 2010) – the study presents a reflection on Nadj's aesthetics of the body, the body becoming – animal, mineral, body-hieroglyph, liminal-body, nevertheless, always a body diverted and present in the creative act of incessantly transcending the boundaries of artistic forms. Nadj multiplies the approaches to corporeality so that the spectator can perceive the body coming into existence, whose potentials for change are endless and whose core is inhabited by variable identities; gestures which permeate the whole body repeatedly pose the question: What is human form?