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ALFA THEATRE, (Host theatre production)

The Farmer’s Woman (Gabriela Preissová, Tomáš Jarkovský, Jakub Vašíček)

Jakub Vašíček j.h.

Directed by: Jakub Vašíček j.h.
Set design: Kamil Bělohlávek j.h.
Costumes: Tereza Venclová j.h.
Dramaturgy: Tomáš Jarkovský, Petra Kosová

Andrea Ballayová, Blanka Josephová-Luňáková, Martina J. Hartmannová, Marie Mrázková, Lenka Lupínková-Válková, Petr Vydarený, Josef Jelínek, Martin S. Bartůšek, Petr Borovský, Bob Holý, Robert Kroupar, Daniel Čámský, Tomáš Jereš, Matěj Siegl

Premiere: 20th February 2017

The production is designed for children aged 14 and over, and adult audiences.

The Farmer’s Woman This classic story in a new and distinctive adaptation by the creative duo Jarkovský – Vašíček also uses a dramatisation of the text of the novella The Farmer’s Woman, published in magazine form before the play was first shown in 1889. At the Alfa Theatre, The Farmer’s Woman is above all the story of a young, strong woman who struggles against adversity, and against both her own weakness and that of those around her, for the right to take her life into her own hands. The story of Eva, who defies social convention, follows her heart but in the end is not able to resist the pressure of her surroundings, may be a criticism of the limits of rural life at that time, but the fate of the heroine and the fundamental existential questions connected to it are not in any way removed from our own period. Can a bad decision be undone? What if the right man isn’t really the right man after all? And does growing up mean giving up on all your hopes and desires?

Gabriela Preissová’s rural drama has been rendered considerably more “civil” by these theatrical iconoclasts, and has also been stripped of its tragic dimension. The plot twist in which Mánek Mešjaný marries Maryška Kotlibová for economic reasons, even though he is attracted to Eva, is transformed into a profane pub anecdote. In an unappealing inn with wipe-clean plastic tablecloths, where a band is playing cover versions of classic Czech rock to dance to. People are having fun in their own way, and there is much imbibing… (...) The changes from the original are fairly witty and engaging, and will be most appreciated by those who know Gabriela Preissová’s work. In theatrical terms this is an enchanting form with functioning timing, helped above all by the musical numbers. The most distinctive performance is that of Andrea Ballayová as Eva.
Jan Kerbr, Divadelní noviny

Tomáš Jarkovský and Jakub Vašíček do not go easy on the countryside. Instead of heartfelt singing with a cimbalom band, or at least with a bagpipe… the local rock cover band is pumping out old hits. Mánek Mešjaný and Eva do not flee down the Danube to Austria, but to Brno, which is full of folklore. But only in the new restaurant Krásná jizba. Everything is fetishized, glowingly embellished, even with the production’s most successful number, the multi-part songs inspired, almost Janáček-like, by the Moravian-Slovak borderlands, and composed by Daniel Čámský. Although the Pilsen Farmer’s Woman is about the sadness of the globalising village and the even more fake towns, a story written by Preissová at the end of the 1880s, it still holds good against its new backdrop. I take my hat off to Jarkovský and Vašíček. They have underlined its contemporary nature and timeless strength.
Jiří P. Kříž, periodikum

Jakub Vašíček (1979) and Tomáš Jarkovský (1986) graduated in direction from the Faculty of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU, where they studied under Ivan Rajmont and Jan Borna. During their studies the tandem staged their own play, Neklan.cz or Old Czech Legends at the Naivní divadlo Liberec. In further years they repeatedly worked with both the Naivní divadlo (Camel, Fish, Hen or A Sailor’s Story; Bible Stories) and with other theatres at home and abroad. They were, or still are, regular guests at Pilsen’s Alfa Theatre (Hamleteen, Closely Observed Trains, The Cage Has Fallen! or The First Case of Sub-Lieutenant Vitásek) the Divadlo Minor in Prague (Hansel and Gretel, How the Cockerels Coloured the World or Madman to Children), in the South Bohemian Theatre in České Budějovice (Tom Sawyer, The Exiled and Dispossessed, One Hundred Years of Holidays) or in Maribor in Slovenia (?Zakaj, Cyrano!). Since autumn 2014 they have worked in the Drak Theatre in Hradec Králové – Jakub Vašíček as a key director and the theatre’s artistic head, Tomáš Jarkovský as dramaturg. In addition they have their own independent theatre, Športniki, which they set up with other DAMU students in 2011.

Alfa Theatre Alfa Theatre’s direct forerunner, the Children’s Theatre, opened in September 1966 in the ALFA premises on Americká street. In 1992 it moved to a modern building at Rokycanská 7, and changed to its current title. It is maintained by the City of Pilsen. The theatre’s current creative team (artistic head and director Tomáš Dvořák, dramaturg Pavel Vašíček and set designer Ivan Nesveda) addresses a broad audience – children, young people and adults – offering all of them an alternative to the dominant media culture. This alternative provides literary and artistic quality, original staging techniques (all sorts of puppet techniques in combination with live actors) and a synthetic stage form, in which music (often live) always plays an important role. The repertoire is varied in both theme and genre, from classic and modern fairytales to world drama. Since 1970 the theatre has undertaken over 100 foreign tours, mostly in the last ten years. Since 1967 the theatre has been the joint organiser of the SKUPA'S PILSEN festival, a competitive bienniale of Czech professional puppet and alternative theatre.


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