Historical Monologue – Emil Hácha, President of Czechoslovakia from November 1938 and then of the Nazi-occupied protectorate until May 1945, is undoubtedly a controversial figure in Czech history, seen by many as a traitor to the nation. In Historical Monologue, Milada Součková tries to explain his attitudes, opinion and fate against the background of the historical situation in which he found himself. She does not evaluate, however, but looks as the subject from her own perspective, her own wartime experiences, her own situation in 1954, the year in which she wrote the play. The play balances on the tension between concrete images and historical and philosophical reflections of them, and searches for the meaning of Czech history.
Eva Salzmannová, in the role of Hácha, was chosen as Person of the Month by the editors of Divadelní noviny.
This remarkable text, which freely manipulates historical facts and oversteps the real borders of the life of the "puppet president" Emil Hácha, is admirably handled by the actress. Under Pitinský's direction she does not become stylised into the role of an old man, but uses her female temperament to the full. Hácha's at times almost capriciously prestigious "dialogue" with the silent T. G. Masaryk thus comes to the fore, surprisingly, in an all the more effective way, together with Hácha's lawyerly acumen and his pain as a man who finds himself in a situation that is impossible to solve, fatal for the Czech nation. Salzmannová also deals exceptionally well with the technical demands of the exhausting monologue.
Pitinský's production stands not only on the figure of Emil Hácha, played by Eva Salzmannová, but on Masaryk, played by her husband, the non-actor Karel Steigerwald. Salzmannová's speeches shatter on him, his stony face returning them like an echo. For part of the production they are both clay busts, plaster figures without clear faces, ancient sculptures. As Hácha's logical analysis of his behaviour changes into an irrational lament, pieces of clay fall off the actor's face. Pitinský has interpreted Součková.
Klára Kubíčková, MF DNES
About the director of the play "Historical Monologue": Jan Antonín Pitínský (real name Zdeněk Petrželka, b. 1955) – Following grammar school and two years' study at the Central School of Librarianship in Brno, he held a number of jobs. In 1985 he was one of the founders of the Ochotnický kroužek (Amateur Circle) in Brno, where he worked as an author and director, with productions including his own dramatisations of Kafka's America, and the play Pineapple and The Mother. Since 1990 he has devoted himself exclusively to theatre direction: in 1990-1992 at HaDivadlo, while from 2000-2002 he was the joint artistic head of the Theatre on the Balustrade. As a guest director, he now works with dozens of theatres, both small and large, throughout the Czech Republic. He has a distinctive directorial style, with a focus on details and a musical sense that makes itself felt in the melody and rhythmisation of the speech. Pitinský's humble interpretation of a text is then developed dramatically by his strong directorial imagination, connected with the frequent use of associative montage methods. His signature directorial style is characterised by the visualisation of people's inner states, a feel for musical elements and for the precise rhythmisation of stage gestures. Unsurprisingly, he is one of the Czech Republic's most award-winning directors. He won the Alfréd Radok Award for the best production of the year in 1995 for Sister Anxiety (Dejvice Theatre, Prague) and then again in 1996 for his oratorium for actors, Job (HaDivadlo, Brno). His production of Bernhard's play Ritter, Dene, Voss gained him first place in a critics' survey in 1996. In 1998 his production of Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas at the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen was voted the production of the year in a Divadelní noviny (Theatre News) survey, and also won an Alfréd Radok Award. A year later, he won an Alfréd Radok Award for Bernhard's Histrionics at the Theatre on the Balustrade. In 2004 he won the Sazka and Divadelní noviny award for his production of Ibsen's Nora (7 and a Half Theatre) and for The Cunning Little Vixen (Slovácko Theatre, Uherské Hradiště, 2004). In 2005 he won a Slovak Dosky award for his direction of Bernhard's play The Ignoramus and The Madman at the Slovak National Theatre. His production of The Death of Hippodamia (City Theatre and Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonia, Zlín) was nominated for an Alfréd Radok Award in 2006. In 2007 he was presented with the Czech Culture Ministry Award for his contribution to theatre. In addition to his own plays, he has also written numerous dramatisations, stage adaptations and poetry.
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