After Hedda Gabler in the National Theatre in Ostrava, director Jan Mikulášek returns to Henrik Ibsen once more. In The Wild Duck, as in his previous production, Ibsen puts the emphasis on the artistic element of the production, with well thought-out lighting, use of colour and contrast between light and dark. Through the exaggeration and metamorphosis of emotions, the use of unexpected props and paradoxical situations, he focuses on the grotesque and thus also ironic side of the production, without detracting from the seriousness of the subject.
Director: Jan Mikulášek
Translation: František Fröhlich
Dramaturgical assistance: Zuzana Mildeová
Set and costumes: Marek Cpin
Music selection: Jan Mikulášek
Werle, an industrialist - Norbert Lichý
Gregers Werle, his son - Tomáš Dastlík
Old Ekdal - Přemysl Bureš
Hjalmar Ekdal, his son - Jan Vápeník
Gina Ekdal, Hjalmar’s wife - Sylvie Krupanská
Hedvig, their daughter - Tereza Vilišová
Mrs. Sorby, Werle’s housekeeper - Marcela Čapková
Molvik, an escaped theology student - Jan Vlas
Relling, a doctor - Dušan Urban
The performance lasts 2 hours 20 minutes, with interval
Premiere 9 October 2009
This production is part of the project “The Future of European Drama Theatre – Tradition and Experiment in the Visegrad Area”.
The Wild Duck – The central theme of The Wild Duck is truth versus lies. All the play’s characters, with the exception of the innocent Hedvig, are keeping something secret, keeping quiet, pretending something. Even the messenger of the truth – Gregers, who feels that he is the saviour of Hjalmar Ekdal’s family happiness, but whose actions in reality causes the tragic end of the play – does not want to talk about his past. Since 1946 The Wild Duck has been shown a total of five times in the Czech lands, including a production directed by Ivan Rajmont at the National Theatre, and one by Jan Nebeský at the Theatre in Dlouhá Street.
Mikulášek’s work provides an excellent example of how to build a production that is free of traditional realism, while at the same time drawing us in and making us emotionally replete with just the same – indeed, maybe even greater – intensity.
Karolína Stehlíková, i-literatura
(…) this sets off a sequence of events that are comic in themselves, but which hasten towards an inevitable tragedy. The flood of ridiculous ideas is dominated by the enlargement of significant props – the duck almost fills the entire house, the actors throw giant eggs to each other and read letters that are A3 size. By enlarging these details, the director develops this family tragedy step by step into monstrously grotesque proportions.
Naďa Satková, www.nekultura.cz
Hedvig is definitely not a sweet child, but an ungainly, rather gangly girl in ugly clothes, with huge circles painted under her eyes that are a permanent reminder of her illness. In her hand she grasps a headless doll, which she treats like a mere puppet. She herself, however, is to a certain extent the puppet, since she is the innocent victim of a conflict between truth and lies. The director does not drown this in sentiment, but by hyperbolising emotions and their changes, the use of unexpected props and paradoxical situations, focuses on the grotesque and thus also the ironic aspect of the production. We are thus allowed to laugh, without it changing anything in the seriousness of the subject.
Jana Paterová, Lidové noviny
Jan Mikulášek – (see Atomised)
Petr Bezruč Theatre – A studio theatre with an emphasis on non-traditional directorial approaches, contemporary plays and young audiences. This concept was promoted both by its previous artistic heads – Janusz Klimsza, Jan Mikulášek – and its current one, Martin Františák. Today the theatre aims to react to the specific issues of the place in which it is located – an industrial agglomeration on the border of three countries – and to be inspired by them. In addition to classics and plays for children, it also offers Czech and world premieres of contemporary plays, and eccentric, controversial dramatic texts. Vladimír Just has written of it: “I do not know of another Czech theatre that over the past decade has had such a rocket-like trajectory: from an average, solid but forgettable regional theatre with an indistinct dramaturgy to one of the best theatres in the country, with an original, uncompromising dramaturgy that likes to rub small-minded Czech audiences up the wrong way, acting that sticks in the memory, unostentatious direction and audiences that are not only young in age.“