The Man Without a Past - Miroslav Krobot, artistic head of the Dejvické divadlo, has adapted the screenplay of Kaurismäki’s film of the same name for the small stage of his theatre. He has enriched it with gentle, almost absurd humour and music that permeates the whole production and adds to the overall impression of rawness, subtle immediacy and affectionate playfulness. The story of a man who loses his memory and starts again with a pure heart becomes, in Krobot’s hands, a parable about what we really need in life, and the unnecessary customs and apparently essential conventions with which we are all burdened.
"The Man Without a Past – The Finnish film The Man Without a Past, by the internationally-famous director Aki Kaurismäki, is sparing in its use of words, movement and editing. It is the absurd story of a man who one night is attacked, robbed and beaten unconscious. The man does not lose his life, but he completely loses his memory. His documents have been stolen, so he does not even know his name. Despite this handicap, he starts a new life. Krobot’s adaptation develops the themes of loss of identity and life without a past, enriching the film story with further connotations.
This is slightly “different theatre”. In The Man Without a Past, the latest production from Prague’s Dejvice Theatre, based on Aki Kaurismäki’s Finnish film, director Miroslav Krobot has forced his actors to put aside everything that we usually understand by the word acting. Wearing no makeup, the actors say their speeches “normally”, drily and almost without gestures. Looking at them does not distract us in the least from perceiving the most important thing – that they are hearing each other and communicating together in silence and in peculiar humour: They are characters in themselves (…) At times the form of the production is reminiscent of a musical, dishing out happiness randomly, while at times it is like a Beckett-style stripped down existential grotesque. It is exceptional theatre."
(by Marie Reslová, Hospodářské noviny)
"Where the film screen breathes hopelessness, Czech audiences quite often laugh. Comedy has overcome tragedy, the director having enriched the source with humour that is close to us, thus essentially transforming the work."
(by Kateřina Rathouská, MF DNES)
"The story of the man, played by David Novotný (…) flows gradually. Peacefully. Like a lyrical poem. With northern melancholy. Like a ballad. But with a happy end. Unlike the film, the production is much more humorous. However, the comedy for themost part does without notable set pieces. It appears spontaneously, as it were. Although the biggest set piece, in which vodka found by chance in an old fridge is drunk by the three men immediately, is brilliantly executed. And, moreover, unforced. Without cheap laughs. Everything here is carefully measured."
(by Roman Sikora, Mozaika, Český rozhlas)