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The Jester and his Son (Bolek Polívka)

Bolek Polívka

Direction: Bolek Polívka
Set: Jaroslav Milfajt
Costumes: Eva Jiřikovská
Music: David Rotter

Vladimír Polívka
Bolek Polívka
Michal Chovanec
Jaromír Barin Tichý
Ondřej Klíč
Jiří Fretti Pfeifer
David Rotter

Premiere: 25th February 2017

The Jester and his Son The production’s creators have added a subtitle: The re-education of a young nobleman as a jester, all as a punishment, in seven scenes. With its family motifs, the production follows on from the famous play The Jester and the Queen (made into a film by Věra Chytilová), in which Bolek Polívka’s former wife, Chantal Poullain, appeared on stage next to him. She is also the mother of Vladimír, who here appears on stage with his father. Just as the award-winning original play was a characterful analysis of the relationship between partners, in this production father and son uncover questions of communication between the generations, and teaching. Polívka junior’s career thus far has followed the line of standard theatre (and film) acting, which makes his clown “exercise” all the more interesting. In addition to the two main protagonists, further clowns contribute in no small way to the final appearance of the production, in many scenes doing much more than merely making up the numbers.

Polívka senior appears here as an ageing king of the clowns. Polívka junior is an abandoned aristocrat who is cruelly re-educated in the jester’s craft by a whole band of clowns, using a number of torture techniques. The gracious blue-blooded orphan ultimately also goes a physical metamorphosis, taking on the unattractive appearance of his ageing father, who – how else – the old king of the jesters turns out to be.
Luboš Mareček, Lidové noviny

The strongest scene is that in which Vladimír finds the mask of the Queen (the actual mask that Poullain used), covers his face with it and paraphrases some of the speeches from the long-ago production. The public interweaves with the private, the personal story with the timeless. It it as if Bolek and Poullain – present through the mask – really were handing over their sceptre to their son.
Vladimír Hulec, Divadelní noviny

Bolek (Boleslav) Polívka (1949) is one of the most popular Czech actors. After graduating from JAMU in Brno, he founded the avant-garde theatre Husa na provázku, where he created several auteur-style pantomime productions, inspired by circus clowning, commedia del’arte and silent films. He took his projects (such as Am and Ea, Pezza versus Čorba, Pepe, The Last Chase, Jester and the Queen) to countries all over the world. He later also made use of his notable talent in film, winning Český lev awards from the Czech Film Academy for his roles in Vladimír Michálek’s Forgotten Light (1996) and Jan Hřebejk’s Divided We Fall (2000). In 1993 he founded the Bolek Polívka Theatre, which both hosts guests and shows Polívka’s own projects, also containing dramatic elements. He devotes himself in full to “classic” acting as a guest of the Brno City Theatre, where he has appeared, for example, in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (Vladimir) and Shakespeare’s plays The Merchant of Venice (Shylock) and King Lear (the title role).

Bolek Polívka Theatre A private theatre that started its first season in 1993 on Jakubské náměstí in Brno with an auteur-style production of Bolek Polívka’s Shipwrecked. The theatre’s repertoire includes further auteur plays by Polívka (For the Lady on the Balcony, DNA, The Jester and his Son) and productions created in cooperation with other theatres (Minus Two etc.) The theatre also co-produces the popular television programme Manéž Bolka Polívky.


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