The Little Creator / Der kleine Fratz

Egon Tobiáš


Jan Nebeský

THE LITTLE CREATOR “I’d like to stop hiding, but my hiding place goes everywhere with me. I’d like to go out, but this world isn’t designed for that. Another, new world needs to be created. But to make it entirely clear: I am a happy child and I laugh for whole days, although I find laughter very exhausting! I can’t help
myself!” A site-specific project made to measure for the space of the flat in the house known as U Minuty on Old Town Square, where in 1889–1896 the writer Franz Kafka lived with his parents, Julie Kafková (née Löwy) and Hermann Kafka. It was here that he spent his childhood from the age of six to thirteen, and that his three sisters, Elli, Valli and Ottla, were born. Egon Tobiáš’ play interweaves Kafka’s childhood and his later life, including the people whom he did not meet until adulthood (Max Brod), plus the figures who appear surreally outside the context of his poetics (police councillor Vacátko).

As Franz Kafka, Karel Dobrý received a Divadelní noviny award in 2020 in the acting category, and also the Theatre Critics’ Award for male performance of the year. The production was also nominated in the Theatre Critics’ Awards in the category production of the year, and Egon Tobiáš was nominated for the script in the category of Czech plays first shown in 2020.

“ Egon Tobiáš’ metaphorically precise and yet amusing script manages to do without excess words, and creates a fantastic base for the production. The eccentricity of Kafka’s communication appears anecdotally in the language of the play. Director Jan Nebeský has on stage strong, charismatic but at the same time sensitive actors, with whom he throws himself into wild frolics, behind which we sense the black abyss of human existence.
——MARIE RESLOVÁ, aktuálně.cz

“ All three protagonists offer acting that is sovereign and maximally authentic, manage to discreetly convey the comedic sadness of Kafka’s (and not only Kafka’s) fate. Karel Dobrý’s bewitching performance employs overwhelmingly high-contact energy, and in the small space it provides a testimony of unprecedented urgency to the inner world of this gifted author.
——JAN KERBR, Kulturní měsíčník UNI

JAN NEBESKÝ (1953) Czech theatre director and teacher. Studied direction at DAMU in Prague. His direction of Ernst Jandl’s Aus der Fremde at Prague’s Theatre on the Balustrade won an Alfréd Radok award for Production of the Year in 2004. Since 2002, when the Divadlo Komedie company was dissolved, Jan Nebeský has been freelance, working at the Studio Hrdinů, the National Theatre and other Prague theatres (he also works with the company 420PEOPLE and Studio DAMÚZA, as well as Theatre in Dlouhá and the Palmovka Theatre). Since 2004 he has also taught directing at the DAMU theatre faculty. In 2011 he, Lucie Trmíková and
David Prachař founded the civic association JEDL, under which independent projects are created, combining various kinds of art (theatre, dance, music, fine art). Jan Nebeský has an exceptional stage imagination, finding his way to the content of texts with the aid of artistic symbols, absurd short cuts, and stylised, expressive acting. His productions are formed by a pleiad of unexpected ideas, a specific atmosphere and style. Nebeský’s theatre uses layer upon layer of meaning, runs into free association, combines themes in a collage-like way and works with the set, text and actors with unusual imagination.

JEDL David Prachař, Lucie Trmíková and Jan Nebeský are artists and friends who in 2011 founded the JEDL association as a platform for independent auteur-style theatre. They first met in the Drama Club, brought together by an ancient play, and 26 years later they were once again connected by an ancient theme in a production of Medea. The production represented something typical of JEDL: the reshaping of original literary works through actor and script writer Lucie Trmíková’s auteur-style writing, and the connection of theatre with all other areas of art, including painting, sculpture and music. In the 2019/2020 season JEDL collected an exceptional number of awards: a wider nomination for a Thálie award (Martin Dohnal) a Divadelní noviny award (Karel Dobrý) and success in the
Theatre Critics’ Awards, winning awards for production of the year 2020 (Zahradníček / All Mine Are Thine), male performance of 2020 (Karel Dobrý), female performance of 2020 (Lucie Trmíková) and a nomination in the same survey for Theatre of the Year 2020.