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The Lantern (Alois Jirásek)

Hana Burešová

Adaptation: Hana Burešová a Štěpán Otčenášek
Direction: Hana Burešová
Dramaturgy: Štěpán Otčenášek
Set: David Marek
Costumes: Hana Fischerová
Musical dramaturgy: Hana Burešová 
Music (with the use of motifs from Czech groves and meadows): Marek Doubrava
Projection: František Pecháček
Light design: Filip Wiesner
Movement assistance: Martin Pacek

Young princess: Eva Hacurová
Courtier: Jan Meduna
Steward: Miroslav Hanuš
Miller: Igor Orozovič
Old lady: Jaroslava Pokorná
Hinička: Veronika Lazorčáková / Marie Poulová
Zajíček, assistant teacher: Jan Vondráček
Braha,  millwright: Jiří Wohanka
Zima, musician: Čeněk Koliáš
Sejtko, musician: Martin Veliký
Klásek, musician: Pavel Tesař
Klásková: Magdalena Zimová
Vodník Ivan: Arnošt Goldflam
Vodník Michal: Martin Matejka
Pan Franc: Tomáš Turek
Musketeer: Tomáš Borůvka
Kroužilka, reeve: Martin Matejka

Premiere: 17th March 2017

The Lantern What do we come from, what material are we made out of. What were our ancestors, what dreams did they have and what ideas and illusions did they implant in us? What history did they tell us, what legends and myths did we take in with our mother’s milk? The Lantern, written by one of the most prolific and well-known creators of such myths, Alois Jirásek, has been performed for over a hundred years on every sort of Czech stage, professional and amateur, and has also been filmed many times. It has become one of those works that form the national identity. We all know it, we all know that it is a lovely story, a bit of a comedy, in which an arrogant steward tries to clip the wings of a proud Miller, and – goodness know why – to cut down his linden tree and carry off his beloved, on whom the Water Sprite also has designs, drooling “Hanička – little sunshine“, where the Miller with his lantern accompanies the alluring Princess over a forest bog to the manor house, while all around in the dark wood some scared musicians play a song in which a jealous woman obsessively pursues her errant husband, until she terrifies even the Water Sprite – and in the end they all kneel under the singing linden tree, from which a pure virgin emerges… But do we really know it? And does it have something to tell us today, when the world is so different than it was in Jirásek’s time and in the “days of old” in which the play is set. Director Hana Burešová approaches the most-performed play in Czech theatre history with the breezy irony and musicality typical of the Theatre in Dlouhá. Jirásek’s “Czech midsummer night’s dream” and its period look at provincial Czech society “in the manor and below it” here gains new delights and significances stemming from an attempt to understand, and to explain from today’s point of view, the motives of the classic characters.

The production attacks you immediately with its playfulness, subtle humour and thoroughly theatrical poetry. It also stuns you with the way the various staging elements are linked – the set design, the music, the stylised acting (…) In a certain sense The Lantern is one of the most perfect and most stylised productions of the director’s entire career. It is also an emphatic artistic gesture that sweeps the dust from this charming jewel of Czech drama. (…) Hana Burešová respects Jirásek’s text, does not make fun of it or put it down. On the contrary, she tries to find each of its layers, the fairytale, the comic, the national-mythmaking, the social criticism and the human in general, as reflected in the characters of the princess or the old water sprite Ivan.
Saša Hrbotický, aktuálně.cz

Director Hana Burešová has found a precise balance between updating and the preservation of fairytale magic.
Magdalena Čechlovská, Hospodářské noviny

The most remarkable aspect of the adaptation of Jirásek’s play by Hana Burešová and Štěpán Otčenášek, and indeed of the whole production, comes in the dramatic situation created by the Princess‘ encounter with the Czech environment (…) Eva Hacurová possesses, for a central character conceived of in this way, not only the appearance of mature female certainty, but also a sharp intelligence, acute judgement, an avid desire to encounter something different, and also the secure authority of the big world. But she comes across devoutness, servility, humbleness and provincial pettiness. This Princess manages to feel convincingly at one with the beauty of the landscape, which so contrasts with the pedestrian Czech figures. She is similarly impressed by the Miller’s natural pride and the defiance with which he protects his own life, that of those around him and the Czech landscape, because he belongs to it. Igor Orozovič makes these qualities an entirely natural and normal part of the Miller’s behaviour and actions.
Jan Císař, Lidové noviny

The Divadlo v Dlouhé has created a beautiful spectacle. Directed by Hana Burešová, it shows Jirásek’s The Lantern in such a way that contemporary audiences are not bored, and yet are well reminded of their Czechness.
Dana Benešová-Trčková, ČT24

Hana Burešová (1959) Graduated in drama from DAMU. Under the label DDT (Theatre Work Cooperative) she created her first productions in Prague's Klub v Řeznické with her husband Štěpán Otčenášek, who is her permanent dramaturg. From 1988 to 1992 she was engaged at the Kladno – Mladá Boleslav Central Bohemian Theatre, and then in the Divadlo Labyrint in Prague. In 1996 she, dramaturg Štěpán Otčenášek and the now late director Jan Borna became the artistic team in charge of the Divadlo v Dlouhé. She teaches at the theatre faculty, DAMU, in Prague. Hana Burešová's directorial style is characterised by considerable variety of genre and style. Her theatrically-inventive direction shows great feeling for style and the ability to convey the content of a play in an unforgettable form, strictly based on the style of the material. She has directed over sixty theatre productions, three of which have gained an Alfréd Radok award for the best production of the year (Don Juan and Faust – 1993, Death of Paul I. – 2008, The Break of Noon – 2012). The most recent of her productions to be seen at the Plzeň festival was Gogol’s Dead Souls, performed by the Brno City Theatre in 2015.

Theatre in Dlouhá A repertoire theatre with a permanent company. It was created in 1996 and is funded by the City of Prague. The theatre is headed by managing director Daniela Šálková and the artistic team of dramaturg Štěpán Otčenášek and director Hana Burešová. A founding member of the team and an in-house director was director Jan Borna, who died on 16 January 2017. From the beginning of this season the directorial duo SKUTR has also become a member of the artistic team, their first work at the theatre being Chekhov’s The Seagull. A basic feature of the theatre’s work is deliberate variety of style and genre. It has a correspondingly wide-ranging selection of productions, focusing above all on lesser-known works, previously unperformed and untested in the Czech Republic. The productions make frequent use of the musical, singing and movement potential of the actors, artistic and musical metaphors, and a wealth of lighting and audiovisual means. In the spectrum of Czech theatres, the Divadlo v Dlouhé has defined itself as one that crosses the boundaries of drama in the direction of alternative, musical, puppet and cabaret theatre. Its productions play for many years and reach a considerable number of repeat performances, at the same time being highly regarded by critics, often winning awards or nominations in specialist surveys. They are also regularly invited to prestigious theatre festivals. In the Theatre Critics Awards of 2016 the Divadlo v Dlouhé gained second place in the category Theatre of the Year.


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