Inspired by the life of the widow of Rudolf Slánský, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia who was executed in the show trials of the early 1950s, the play is a reflection on modern Czechoslovak history. Its author, Tomáš Vůjtek, says of it: “The text of the play is based on Josefa Slánská’s book of memoirs, “A Report on My Husband.” The quotations are as far as possible verbatim, in order to preserve the authenticity of the main character’s speech as much as possible. I also drew on a book of interviews by Karel Bartošek, Czech Prison, in which there is a chapter devoted to Josefa Slánská. The atmosphere of the time is illustrated by quotations from newspapers and literature of the period. In this respect I was most inspired by the book The Trial of the Leadership of the Anti-State Conspiracy Centre Led By Rudolf Slánský. ”Tomáš Vůjtek won second place in the Alfréd Radok Awards for the play, and the production. Vůjtek won also the Mark Ravenhill Award for the best Czech theatre production of a new dramatic text.“ Although both the play and the production of "With Or Without Hope" deals with Czechoslovak history of the second half of the 20th century, unlike many others it does not offer a black and white perspective, but a three-dimensional portrait of Josefa Slánská, and an insight into the paradoxes and complexity of our past. The anti – illusionary and epic nature of the direction draws a sharp contrast between, on one hand, the antics, overacting and the cool detachment of the narrators (Albert Čuba, Marek Cisovský) and on the other the multi – layered experience – based acting of Alena Sasínová – Polarczyk in the role of Josefa Slánská. It contrasts insincere flightiness with the authentic human experience, however tragic, that rests on principles and ideals.” (Tereza Sieglová)
About the director of the play "With or Without Hope": Ivan Krejčí (1966) – Graduated from DAMU in direction, from 1999 to 2001 working as artistic head of the City Theatre in Karlovy Vary. He also taught for a short time at the Janáček Conservatory in Ostrava. Since the 2005–2006 season he has headed Ostrava’s Aréna Chamber Theatre company.
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