Obsession – After their productions about death (Hedonists) and the theatre and actors (Hamlet), the team at the Divadlo Na zábradlí has created a production about love and its various forms. We find ourselves peeking into the privacy of several figures, who meet passionately or pass each other by, looking in vain for happiness in a relationship or alone, and so it goes on, round and round. Probable situations and credible stories are complemented by fantasy scenes and commentaries, humorous scenes by horrific ones. The small stories that take place in this house of several storeys are freely intertwined, neighbours alternate and the walls are witness to domestic dramas. Mikulášek uses abbreviations, condensing extensive stories into scenes of a few minutes, stories that we sense in the background – a nun tattooed with male names. The motivations of the characters, their specific impulses, are mostly kept secret from us and we see “only” the clash of figures who are lost in themselves and who can find no relief in their surroundings, either. Instead of melancholy and sadness, however, it is exaggeration, the grotesque and irony that win. The two-storey set design rhythmicises the sequence of images and creates parallels and mutual commentaries. The pastel colours that dominate the set and costumes, the retro style and small details that depart from reality (the elegant appearance of a character complemented by hair blown about by the wind) take these slight stories outside a concrete time and space.
// Credits //
Direction Jan Mikulášek
Dramaturgy Dora Viceníková
Set and costumes Marek Cpin
Music selection Jan Mikulášek
Directorial assistance Stephanie Van Vleet
Dita Kaplanová, Jana Plodková, Anežka Kubátová, Johana Matoušková, Jiří Vyorálek, Leoš Noha, Miloslav König, Stanislav Majer
Premiere April 15th, 2016
// Press //
Until now the very limited possibilities of the stage here seemed to have been exhausted by the ideas of the former head of the Divadlo Na zábradlí Petr Lébl in the 1990s. However, the architecture of Cpin’s sets for Hedonists, or now for Obsession, builds on and goes beyond Lébl’s work in a fascinating way.
Marie Reslová, Hospodářské noviny
With its formal qualities and its brilliant synthesis of movement and dramatic theatre with a visual element, Obsession is unmissable.
Saša Hrbotický, Aktuálně.cz
Obsession is a loose band of scenes on a “theme”. Although it may sound paradoxical, it is this very looseness that is its greatest advantage. (…) It can thus be warmly recommended to people who like to wander and who do not expect the production creators to lead them by the hand.
Vojtěch Poláček, Kulturissimo
Jana Plodková, who has found at the Balustrade her own sad clown style, is excellent both in terms of expression and movement.
Jana Machalická, Lidové noviny
// Author //
Jan Mikulášek (1978) – After studying drama direction at the Janáček Academy of Musical Arts, which he did not finish, he worked as the artistic head of the Brno theatre Polárka. Together with other young theatre artists he helped make Polárka a closely-followed alternative theatre, focusing mostly on auteur work for as wide an audience spectrum as possible. He was also the artistic head of the Divadlo Petra Bezruče, and worked regularly with the Reduta theatre in Brno. In 2013, when the artistic head of the Reduta took over the leadership of the Divadlo Na Zábradlí in Prague, Mikulášek became director there. The theatre currently has the following productions by Mikulášek in its repertoire: The V + W Correspondence, Europeana, Bourgeoisie, The Grey Seventies, Foreigner, The Golden Sixties, Hedonists and Obsession. Mikulášek’s directorial approach frequently involves the dramatisation of novels, original scripts and auteur theatre. He works with cutting, detail, musical contrapposto and parallel plots. His other major source of inspiration is fine art, from which he “borrows” an emphasis on mise-en-scene and lighting. A marked feature of his work is the way in which he plays with the meaning of speeches, context and associations on a given theme. He manages to materialise on stage entirely abstract, philosophical subjects.
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