The Sleeping Beauty

Tomáš Jarkovský, Jakub Vašíček


Jakub Vašíček

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY A glove puppet grotesque based on the immortal fairytale. An evil fairy has not been invited by the royal couple to the christening of their daughter. Because she is a persistent fairy, however, she is not put off and tries to get inside at any cost. Will she manage to? Anyone who knows this centuries-old tried and tested fairytale knows very well that she will. Our production tells the story as a puppet grotesque about the inexorability of fate, which if you throw it out of the door will come back again through the window. Literally. Luckily, however, there are good fairies as well as evil ones. Moreover, there are any
number of princes travelling around the world in search of their fortune and prepared to liberate a cursed princess at the right moment.

Productions based on classic fairytales are an integral part of the dramaturgy of the Drak Theatre. After the successful and awardwinning productions The White Doe and The Golden Fish, another well-known fairytale, The Sleeping Beauty, appears on the repertoire of the Drak after many years. The story of a king’s beautiful daughter struck by a curse has been produced in all sorts of ways by all sorts of artists, provoked by its metaphors and imagery. Its multi-layered nature means the fairytale is able to address both young schoolchildren and older audience members. Jakub Vašíček won a Best Direction award for Sleeping Beauty at the 19th year of the Banja Luka International Festival of Theatre for Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2020.

“ When something turns out exceptionally well, even we nonchurchgoers say that “God was at home just then.” In the case of the new production of Sleeping Beauty at the Drak Theatre in Hradec Králové, I had the persistent feeling that Josef Krofta himself, that magnanimous and world-renowned director, was stretching out a protective hand over everything. Over and above the professional puppet artistry there was a naturalness, a harmony and humour without a trace of cheapness. (…) And what about the voice and puppet performances of Pavla Lustyková, Jan Popela and Milan Žďárský! If there is any justice, Sleeping Beauty model 2020 already belongs next to The White Doe, The Wall, Log Leg, How Dads Play and White Fang among the evergreens, the Drak’s silver, if not gold.

“ (…) the fairy proceeds along a logical path that the children are capable of following and enjoy completing. This means that advice to the evil fairy is immediately forthcoming from audience members who are proud that they have come up with a solution to her problem. (…) As soon as she manages to get into the castle, it turns into a real punch-up, with the fairies letting rip with shovels.

JAKUB VAŠÍČEK (1979) and TOMÁŠ JARKOVSKÝ (1986) Graduates in direction from the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU, during their studies the duo produced their own play or Old Czech Legends for the Naïve Theatre, Liberec. In subsequent years they worked repeatedly with the Naïve
Theatre (The Camel, the Fish and the Hen, or Sailor’s Story, Biblical Stories) and with other theatres in the Czech Republic and abroad. They were or are regular guests at Pilsen’s Alfa (Hamleteen, Closely Watched Trains, Gotcha! Or The First Case of Sub-Lieutenant Vitásek, The Farmer’s Woman), at Prague’s Divadlo Minor (The Gingerbread Cottage, How Roosters Coloured the World, or Madmen to Children, The Mystery of the Conundrum), in the Small Theatre in České Budějovice
(Tom Sawyer, Outlaws and Outcasts, A Hundred Years of Holidays) and in Maribor, Slovenia (?Zakaj, Cyrano!). Since autumn 2014 they have been based at the Drak Theatre in Hradec Králové, Jakub Vašíček as in-house director and artistic head, Tomáš Jarkovský as dramaturg and, since 2020, managing director. They also have their own independent theatre, Športniki, which they co-founded in 2011 with several schoolfriends from DAMU in Prague.

DRAK THEATRE The theatre was founded in 1958. Its initial phase is connected with the author and director Jiří Středa and the visual artist František Vítek. In the second stage, the creative team was extended to include the theatre’s managing director and dramaturg Jan Dvořák, the director Miroslav Vildman, the visual artist Pavel Kalfus and the musician and actor Jiří Vyšohlíd. The production Tales from a Suitcase was a sensation at the UNIMA world festival in 1966, and set the stage for the theatre’s longlasting popularity both at home and abroad. In 1971 the young director Josef Krofta came to the theatre, and after he was joined
by the visual artist Petr Matásek, the legendary Krofta – Matásek – Vyšohlíd team was formed. Thanks to their work, the theatre soon became one of the most significant puppet theatres both at home and in the international context. In 1995 Josef Krofta’s son, the director Jakub Krofta, joined Drak, and together with him
the set designer Marek Zákostelecký. Their productions combine elements of puppet, clown, visual and music theatre. At the start of 2010 Eliška Finková became the theatre’s managing director, and together with dramaturg Dominika Špalková started a further gradual transformation of the theatre. The opening of Labyrint
then broadened the theatre’s activity to include educational programmes and workshops for children and their teachers, and long-running cooperation with DAMU in Prague was launched as part of the Gaudeamus project.