THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE OWNERS “WE’RE ALL ADULTS!“ A dramatic format based on a classic meeting of the members of an association of apartment owners that reveals the worst qualities in all those involved – in a lively and entertaining way, as is usually the case with VOSTO5. Each character is a type, precisely observed and well played. This is not just the brilliantly witty history of an association of owners, but a desperately authentic testimony to the state of our country, a precise and cruel report on Czech society. The production won the Mark Ravenhill Award for the best Czech production of a contemporary dramatic text in 2017. The meeting gradually takes on monstrous dimensions, with absurdity teetering into chaos.
// Credits //
DIRECTION: Jiří Havelka
PRODUCER: Petr Prokop a Vosto5
COPRODUCER: Čtyři dny
DRAMATURGY: Martina Sľúková
STAGE DESIGN: Antonín Šilar
COSTUMES: Andrea Králová
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Jeník Tyl
TECHNICAL PRODUCTION: Jeník Bubal, Jan Tomšů
Zdeněk Mucha/Jano Sedal/Petr Kavan, Andrej Polák, Renata Prokopová, Hana Müllerová, Ondřej Bauer, Lenka Loubalová, Halka Je. Třešňáková/Martina Sľúková, Petr Prokop, Ondřej Cihlář, David Dvořák, Zdeněk Pecha, Anna Kotlíková, Patrik Holubář, Václav Poul, Franta a Eda Prokopovi
Premiere October 7th, 2017, 4+4 Days in Motion Festival, Prague
// Author //
JIŘÍ HAVELKA (1980) A distinguished figure of Czech theatre, director, playwright and actor. In 2002 he graduated in direction from DAMU’s Faculty of Alternative and Puppet Theatre. Since the start, his theatre work has focused on collective improvisation as a method of creating auteur productions. His plays often straddle the boundary of drama, alternative, movement and artistic theatre. He is most connected with Prague’s Ypsilon Studio, where he has created a number of thematically-linked auteur productions with part of the company of his generation. The greatest attention was provoked by his original theatre about theatre, Drama in a Nutshell (2005, nominated for a Divadelní noviny award) and Where the Wind Blows (2008, nomination for a Divadelní noviny award in the alternative theatre category) which brings windsurfing to the stage. At DAMU he has helped students create graduation productions – a reality trainer in Try It! (2006, Zlomvaz festival award, Reflex magazine award), Very Social Dances (2008, nomination for a Divadelní noviny award in the alternative theatre category) and, most recently, a theatrical documentary reconstruction of the Mašín brothers’ deeds, I, Hero (2011). Black Hole at the Dejvice Theatre is based on various permutations for the repetition of a banal situation (2007, 1st–3rd place in Divadelní noviny’s Production of the Year survey). At HaDivadlo he dramatised Einstein’s theory of relativity in Indian under Threat (2008), to which World under Threat (2012), also at HaDivadlo, is a free sequel. He is a winner of the Alfréd Radok Award in the Talent of the Year category. He also worked with Divadlo Na zábradlí (the auteur production Ubu Has Fun – 2010) and with the Vinohrady Theatre (Tyl’s Fidlovačka – 2010). He has directed several international projects, such as the Czech-German EXIT 89 (2008), a concert show with the British band The Tiger Lillies entitled Zde jsem člověkem! Here I am Human! for the Archa Theatre, and several Czech-Canadian projects involving Native Canadian actors. Occasionally he stages dramatic texts, usually original and contemporary – in the Dejvice Theatre, for example, he created a comic-book stage western, Wanted Welzl (2011), from K. F. Tománek’s text. Together with DAMU students, he staged e.g. I, Hero (Disk, 2011) and The Regulation of Intimacy (Disk 2013); the most appraised plays recently directed by him further include George Mélies’ Last Trick (Drak, 2013), Brass Band (VOSTO5 2013 – Divadelní noviny award), Correction (VerTeDance 2014 – Divadelní noviny award) and Elites (2017), staged by the Slovak National Theatre and created on the basis of files kept by the communist secret police. His auteur productions always explore the possibilities of theatrical time and space and the creation of theatrical illusions, emphasising the uniqueness of theatre as a tool for direct communication. He searches for new roles for the theatre in the age of the virtual media, and finds it above all in the power of the imagination, or rather in the demands made on the audience’s creative ability to imagine. His productions have been presented at festivals in Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Finland, Austria and Ireland, and at them he often leads workshops focusing on the basic elements of theatrical language. He is currently the head of the Faculty of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU.
// Company //
VOSTO5 was founded in 1996. It is an independent company composed of members of the same generation that creates auteur productions with a considerably wide thematic and genre range, connected with a typical humour that includes straightforward courage and a sense of perspective. Vosto5’s work is connected, at its roots, with references to modern cabaret and text-appeal clownery. All its productions have in common an interest in Czech themes, events and stories. These form the ingredients that, in the melting pot of our society and history, create and spice up our complicated national identity. Vosto5 does not idealise the features of the Czech national character, and shows them in all their complicated and ambiguous nature. The core of the theatre is formed by five creators and actors: Petr Prokop, Ondřej Cihlář, Jiří Havelka, Tomáš Jeřábek and Ondřej Bauer, who in addition to their activity as part of Vosto5 have met with success in their own work outside this group. Vosto5 is a theatre with an unusually wide range of sizes and types of production: from the operation of the Divadelní Stand´art – a theatre, café and dance hall in an old army tent (2003–2009) to fixed and technically complicated stage works such as the work of historical action fiction Spring Boy – the name doesn’t matter, it’s the deeds that are important! (2011) and the sci-fi simulation Colonisation – a new beginning (2016) in the Archa Theatre, or the engaging site-specific Brass Band (2013), performed in a pub.
// Press //
No one agrees with anyone else, they’re all at each other’s throats, insulting each other, various sins float to the surface, the figures voluntary carry out a spiritual striptease, and still manage to look victorious (…) Havelka’s The Fellowship of the Owners is not just an amusing review of endless stupidity and loss of judgment, however. It makes a more general statement on the state of society.
– Jan H. Vitvar – Respekt
The play (...) draws the audience into a vigorous collective debate that in time mutates into an intransigent quarrel, during which the worst qualities of all those involved are revealed. The audience had a good laugh during the performance, but on departure it could be seen not only on my face just how precise and harsh is this report on our “Czech fellowship”, irrespective of whether we own something or not.
– Jana Machalická, Lidové noviny
The “reconstruction” of such a meeting provides a perfect platform for a dramatic situation, a cabinet specimen of the behaviour of contemporary Czech society in a drop of water. This ninety-minute cross-section, this vomiting up right to the essence, makes observers feel physically ill mainly because their personal experience is just the same.
– Milan Tesař, Reflex
The production is unabashedly entertaining, with precisely-observed and wellplayed types, padded out by a number of good observations and a flood of explosive utterances… Not less essentially, however, all the meeting participants have a fairly clear symbolic social role (although not one that is forced upon them).
There are the former communist careerist types, half stupid and half clever, then there are the frustrated but decent people and the shameless predators.
– Vladimír Mikulka, Nadivadlo
The company around director Jiří Havelka, well-known for his specific humour has managed to provide a fitting picture of a phenomenon of day-to-day life.
– Tomáš Šťástka, iDnes.cz
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