Recorded with 2 Cameras: TV-12186 and TV-12327
Refugee Conversations It begins almost as an anecdote. Two… meet, having left a country where it was impossible to live. They are looking for a country where they might manage to live. The conversations between the two men (Miroslav Hanuš and Miloš Kopečný) form the intellectual level of the production, in sharp contrast to the musical level, which features the harsh and brutal songs of the Tiger Lillies. While they are waiting (for passports? to be taken elsewhere? for things to change at home?) the two men fill the time with a conversation in instalments, talking about the things that rankle them, the themes that hang in the air. Their conversation ends as abruptly as it started. Simply because it has grown late, or because they have to leave their temporary place of refuge. They do not even come to any sort of substantial conclusion in their debate. It may give the impression at times of being a chance segment of the endless dialogue that we all hold with ourselves, in our heads. But it is still important that all sorts of things have been said.
// Credits //
Direction: Jan Borna, Miroslav Hanuš
Dramaturgy: Kateřina Šavlíková
Translation: Rudolf Vápeník
Adaptation: Miroslav Hanuš, Kateřina Šavlíková
Set: Jaroslav Milfajt
Costumes and masks: Hana Fischerová
Music: Tiger Lillies
Oto: Miloš Kopečný
Wintr: Miroslav Hanuš
Big woman: Eva Hacurová
Small woman: Magdalena Zimová
Blonde woman: Veronika Lazorčáková
Man with no hair: Martin Matejka
Man with hair: Jan Meduna
Band: Milan Potoček (piano, klarinet), Jan Buble (kontrabas / double bass), Slávek Brabec (akordeon), František Tomášek (akordeon), Tomáš Makovský (bicí / percussion)
Premiere on 3 December 2016 in the Divadlo v Dlouhé
// Authors //
Jan Borna (1960-2017) Jan Borna, in-house director and member of the artistic team of the Divadlo v Dlouhé, was one of the most distinguished figures in contemporary Czech theatre. His productions were notably auteur-style; he often wrote the script himself or made notable adaptations. He specialised in work for children and in family theatre for all generations. He graduated in Theory of Culture from the Arts Faculty of Charles University (1983) and in direction from the DAMU theatre school (1988). He was a member of the Free Association of Directors (1987-1990), and directed in Brno’s HaDivadlo (1985-1986), the puppet theatre DRAK (1989-1992), and the Realistic Theatre in Prague (1991-1992). From 1993-1996 he was artistic head and director at the Dejvické divadlo, and he co-founded the Vizita theatre. From 1990-2010 he led the acting studio at the Faculty of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU. From 1996 he was a director and member of the artistic team at the Theatre in Dlouhá. In 1992 he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which made both his life and work gradually harder. Nevertheless, he created a new production every year.
Miroslav Hanuš (1963) Theatre and film actor and occasional director, a member of the Divadlo v Dlouhé’s acting company. After graduating from DAMU he joined the Kladno theatre, before moving, together with director Hana Burešová, to the Labyrint theatre in Prague and then to the newly-founded Divadlo v Dlouhé. Besides acting, he also directs (at the Central Bohemian Theatre in Kladno, the Příbram City Theatre, the J.K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, the Theatre in Řeznická, the ABC Theatre and elsewhere). He mostly produces musical comedies, to which he is also close as an actor. He is also the author of song lyrics, poetry and verse.
// Theatre in Dlouhá //
Theatre in Dlouhá A repertoire theatre with a permanent company. It was created in 1996 and is funded by the City of Prague. The theatre is headed by managing director Daniela Šálková and the artistic team of dramaturg Štěpán Otčenášek and director Hana Burešová. A founding member of the team and an in-house director was director Jan Borna, who died on 16 January 2017. From the beginning of this season the directorial duo SKUTR has also become a member of the artistic team, their first work at the theatre being Chekhov’s The Seagull. A basic feature of the theatre’s work is deliberate variety of style and genre. It has a correspondingly wide-ranging selection of productions, focusing above all on lesser-known works, previously unperformed and untested in the Czech Republic. The productions make frequent use of the musical, singing and movement potential of the actors, artistic and musical metaphors, and a wealth of lighting and audiovisual means. In the spectrum of Czech theatres, the Divadlo v Dlouhé has defined itself as one that crosses the boundaries of drama in the direction of alternative, musical, puppet and cabaret theatre.
// Press //
Refugee Conversations is an exceptionally successful production, showing how politics, in the broadest sense of the word, structures and influences the life of the individual and society.
- Ester Žantovská, Hospodářské noviny
Jan Borna and Miroslav Hanuš’ production transports the audience to the provocatively decadent salon of the 1940s, gives them intellectual asylum and deluges them with the black humour of the harsh songs by London trio The Tiger Lillies. The orchestra, made up of piano, double base, clarinet, accordions and percussions, gives piquancy to the surroundings. The musicians, in their grotesque makeup, costumes and masks, are, like the cabaret artists, excellent in their expressions and bizarre image. The musical and acted passages come in precisely-calculated doses, and the avant garde medicine works perfectly. The actors’ expressive singing is not a background, but an equal narrative, a partner and counterpart to the front-of-stage dialogues of the key characters.
- Dana Benešová-Trčková, ČT24
The hour-and-a-half-long Refugee Conversations contains a great deal of intellectual wit, brilliant dialogue spiked with period references that are disturbingly and urgently appropriate to the modern world.
- Ivan Žáček, Divadelní noviny
A pair of emigrants, for now in calm contrast to the vigorous musical element, reminisce about their youth, read their diaries, meditate on war, philosophise and assess the dire contemporary situation. Borna and Hanuš have spiked their conversation with references to contemporary society, but do not weigh it down with violent updating or moralising. It is this lightness that, together with the successful musical interludes, is one of the great strengths of the piece (…) Refugee Conversations asks questions and leaves the audience members to find the answers themselves.
- Tomáš Šťástka, MF Dnes
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