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The Man Without a Past (Aki Kaurismäki – Miroslav Krobot:)

Directed by Miroslav Krobot

Krobot, artistic head of the Dejvické divadlo, has adapted the screenplay of Kaurismäki’s film of the same name for the small stage of his theatre. He has enriched it with gentle, almost absurd humour and music that permeates the whole production and adds to the overall impression of rawness, subtle immediacy and affectionate playfulness. The story of a man who loses his memory and starts again with a pure heart becomes, in Krobot’s hands, a parable about what we really need in life, and the unnecessary customs and apparently essential conventions with which we are all burdened.

Adaptation for theatre and direction: Miroslav Krobot

Translation: Pavla Arvela

Dramaturgy: Karel František Tománek

Set and costumes: Andrej Ďurík

Music and music rehearsal: Marek Doubrava

Movement assistance: Kristýna Lhotáková


The man without a past - David Novotný   

Guard, Lawyer - Martin Myšička

Businessman - Ivan Trojan

Nieminen, Detective - Jaroslav Plesl

Singer, Osikainen, Thug - Pavel Šimčík

Musician, Policeman, Thug - Václav Neužil

Musician, Policeman, Thug - Pavol Smolárik

Irma - Tatiana Vilhelmová

Salvation Army leader - Johanna Tesařová

Bank clerk - Lenka Krobotová/ Petra Hřebíčková

Mrs. Nieminen - Klára Melíšková

Salvation Army member - Simona Babčáková

Daughter - Martha Issová

Daughter - Jana Holcová

Wife - Zdeňka Žádníková

Others - Jindřiška Rybáková, Tereza Měřičková, Klára Marešková, Jan Dvořák, Lukáš Briksa / Radek Patzel, Lukáš Hornych, Otakar Košťál

Premiere 21 January 2010

The performance lasts 1 hour 30 minutes with no interval

This production is part of the project “The Future of European Drama Theatre – Tradition and Experiment in the Visegrad Area”.


The Man Without a Past – The Finnish film The Man Without a Past, by the internationally-famous director Aki Kaurismäki, is sparing in its use of words, movement and editing. It is the absurd story of a man who one night is attacked, robbed and beaten unconscious. The man does not lose his life, but he completely loses his memory. His documents have been stolen, so he does not even know his name. Despite this handicap, he starts a new life. Krobot’s adaptation develops the themes of loss of identity and life without a past, enriching the film story with further connotations.

This is slightly “different theatre”. In The Man Without a Past, the latest production from Prague’s Dejvice Theatre, based on Aki Kaurismäki’s Finnish film, director Miroslav Krobot has forced his actors to put aside everything that we usually understand by the word acting. Wearing no makeup, the actors say their speeches “normally”, drily and almost without gestures. Looking at them does not distract us in the least from perceiving the most important thing – that they are hearing each other and communicating together in silence and in peculiar humour: They are characters in themselves (…) At times the form of the production is reminiscent of a musical, dishing out happiness randomly, while at times it is like a Beckett-style stripped down existential grotesque. It is exceptional theatre.

Marie Reslová, Hospodářské noviny


Where the film screen breathes hopelessness, Czech audiences quite often laugh. Comedy has overcome tragedy, the director having enriched the source with humour that is close to us, thus essentially transforming the work.

Kateřina Rathouská, MF DNES


The story of the man, played by David Novotný (…) flows gradually. Peacefully. Like a lyrical poem. With northern melancholy. Like a ballad. But with a happy end. Unlike the film, the production is much more humorous. However, the comedy for themost part does without notable set pieces. It appears spontaneously, as it were. Although the biggest set piece, in which vodka found by chance in an old fridge is drunk by the three men immediately, is brilliantly executed. And, moreover, unforced. Without cheap laughs. Everything here is carefully measured.

Roman Sikora, Mozaika, Český rozhlas


Miroslav Krobot (born 1951) – Since 1996 has been the artistic head of the Dejvice Theatre, where he brought his entire graduating year from the Faculty of Alternative and Puppet Theatre (KALD) at DAMU. They became the foundation of the new theatre company, bringing their graduation production to the Dejvice Theatre. His first production directly for the Dejvice Theatre was an adaptation of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe entitled “The Soothing System”. There followed an adaptation of Goncharov’s Oblomov, for which he received the Czech Literary Fund Award. Among the unforgettable productions that he has directed at the Dejvice theatre include Twelfth Night, The Three Sisters, Hamlet (nominated for an Alfréd Radok Award in the Production of the Year category), The Idiot and, currently, in particular his adaptation of Kaurismäki’s film screenplay The Man Without a Past.

In 2001 he was cast by Petr Zelenka as the Father in Tales of Ordinary Madness, for which he gained another Alfréd Radok Award, this time in the Talent of the Year category. In 2005 he won a Český lev (Czech Lion) for the same role in the film adaptation. In addition to directing and acting in films, Miroslav Krobot also teaches at KALD DAMU, and works with other Czech theatres as a guest director.


Dejvice Theatre The theatre was founded in 1992. After the original company left, with its artistic head Jan Borna, director Miroslav Krobot took over. The theatre’s dramaturgy encompasses not only contemporary plays (Joe Penhall: Landscape With Weapon, Denis Kelly: Debris and others), seeking out and initiating the creation of original texts (Petr Zelenka: Tales of Ordinary Madness, Teremin, Miroslav Krobot: Syrup, kft/sandwiches of reality®, Viliam Klimáček: Dragon’s Lair and others), but an established place in the theatre’s repertoire is also taken by adaptation of works of world literature and classic drama. The Dejvice Theatre regularly takes leading places in the most prestigious theatre awards. It has three times been the Theatre of the Year in the Alfréd Radok Awards. Sister Anxiety was production of the year, and Tales of Ordinary Madness won the play of the year award. Members of the company have also been nominated several times for major acting awards (Ivan Trojan, Tatiana Vilhelmová etc.). The theatre is also a frequent guest at international theatre festivals, most recently having taken part in the FIBA festival in Buenos Aires with the production Black Hole.


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