Michel de Ghelderode


Natália Deáková

BLUEBEARD (SIR HALEWYN) The macabre mediaeval legend of a nobleman who murders his wife, as conveyed by Belgian expressionist Michel de Ghelderode. This Belgian prose writer, playwright and essayist was of Flemish origin but wrote in French. A representative of expressionist drama, he is called the “Flanders Shakespeare.” His work typically features horror-like grotesque, heavily influenced by the work of Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch. However, he also loved the theatre of masks, of which his play Sir Halewyn (based on the Flemish version of the Bluebeard legend) is clear evidence. A dramatic ballad about a man possessed by passion, it shows that the devil does not have to have horns – it is enough for him to put on the mask of a man.

With their costumes, set design and use of puppets, Lukáš Kuchinka and Jana Smetanová have captured a baroque style, the terror arising from the closeness of hellish powers trying to govern the world, as well as Ghelderode’s closeness to such imagery. The production is dominated by Jakub Kudláč’s music, terrifying in its inventiveness, gloomy, for the actors on the bounds of what they can manage.
– Jiří P. Kříž, Právo

Bluebeard is hard to place in terms of genre. It is a ballad, a stage poem, a melodrama, some would say a horror story… For me it is above all a powerful image, ancient, dark but beautiful. The closing kiss can be interpreted in various ways. As I see it, Purmelende finds it impossible to return to the world of liars and hypocrites. She cannot come to terms with the pretence of those close to her. The ambiguous nature of the images is certainly provocative, but why not accept another point of view, another style, different theatrical means? Do we really want to keep looking at the same thing? An utterly exceptional production both in terms of art and music has been created in Plzeň.
– Jan Anderle, MF DNES

NATÁLIA DEÁKOVÁ (1981) Studied theatre direction at DAMU in Prague. In January 2005 she became the artistic head of the Činoherní studio in Ústí nad Labem. After parental leave she returned to the theatre as a director. During her six years at the theatre, her most memorable productions were that of Mahen’s Jánošík, How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel, and Alois Nebel, based on the comic book by Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír Švejdík. In 2012 she started to work as a director at Czech Radio in Prague, where her successes include second place in the drama category at the Prix Bohema in 2013 (Zeller: Conversations with Astronauts). From September 2013 she has been the head of the drama section at the J.K. Tyl Theatre, where her successful productions include Camus‘ Caligula and Mann’s Mephisto, as well as Burnt By the Sun and August in Osage County. During her permanent engagements in Ústí nad Labem and Plzeň, Natália Deáková has guest directed at the National Theatre in Brno, the Klicpera Theatre in Hradec Králové, the Central Bohemian Theatre in Kladno, the Vinohrady Theatre, Švanda Theatre, Divadlo Letí, Divadlo Komedie and Meetfactory in Prague.

THE J. K. TYL THEATRE consists of four artistic companies that between them show 500 drama, opera, operetta, musical and ballet performances a year. The theatre aims for a varied and genre-balanced repertoire that includes new Czech and foreign plays. With over a hundred years of history, artistic activity and a number of other activities it is among the distinguished theatres not only of the Western Bohemian region.