GUILT? is the third play that Daniel Majling has written for the Dejvice Theatre. The dramatic story takes place in a theatre environment, but it is not just about theatre. In Majling’s play, the actors in a company that has just finished the first performance of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther are hit by a sudden announcement that one of them makes. From then on nothing will be the same… Who bears the guilt for it? Are we meant to condemn and curse the guilty party unequivocally, or does it depend what angle we look at it from? Should we suppress our feelings at all costs, even if it means feeling guilty later? To what extent should we bear responsibility for the results of our decisions? What right do we have to forgiveness and a new start, if we can’t live our lives first as a trial run and only afterwards for real?
“ Returning to the idea of guilt as a basic theme in literature is difficult. If we come across it in the pages of a novel, it is very often only as an undesirable phenomenon, the sort of pathological guilt that causes people to die long and drawn out deaths, guilt that stops them from living life to the full and enjoying it. However, the fact that some people today die of chronic guilt is not because we have an increased sensitivity to evil, but because modern society has forgotten about the institution of penance and forgiveness, an institution that does not doubt, trivialise or rationalise guilt, but merely stops it becoming absolute.
——DANIEL MAJLING, about guilt
IVAN TROJAN (1964) After graduating in drama direction from DAMU in Prague, he joined the Realistické divadlo in 1988. It was here that he first met Miroslav Krobot, the later artistic head of the Dejvice Theatre, while working on the production Merlin or The Wasteland. Later he acted at the Vinohrady Theatre, where among other things he played Romeo, Ivan in The Brothers Karamazov and the unforgettable Kamil in Jiří Menzel’s unforgettable production of A Flea in Her Ear. Since 1997 his home stage has been the Dejvice Theatre. His first role here was that of Professor Maillard in Krobot’s adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Infamous Soothing System, followed by the Mayor in Gogol’s The Government Inspector (directed by Sergei Fedotov) and his first nomination for a Thalia award. Since then he has played over 20 distinctive roles, for many of which he has won prestigious theatre awards. He has won a Thalia award for the title role in Oblomov, an Alfréd Radok award for the role of God in the production A Blockage in the System and a Divadelní noviny award for the role of Andrew Maxwell in the production Resurrection. He has also met with notable successes as a film actor, having six times won a Czech Lion, the annual award of the Czech Film and Television Academy. He also performs in radio plays. His debut as a director was in 2015 with the production Stuck, nominated by theatre critics for an award in the category for best Czech play first performed that year.
DEJVICE THEATRE The theatre was founded in 1992. Following the departure of the original company, headed by Jan Borna, its artistic head from 1996 to the end of the 2013/14 season was director Miroslav Krobot. From 2014–2016 the artistic head was Michal Vajdička, who had been working with the theatre from 2011 as director of the production A Blockage in the System. Since January 2017 the new artistic head has been Martin Myšička, a member of the theatre’s company since 1997. The theatre’s dramaturgy goes in several directions. As well as showing original plays by contemporary European and world authors, the theatre focuses on works by distinguished Czech and Slovak playwrights who write their work directly for the Dejvice Theatre’s company, and in most cases also participate in directing it (J. A. Pitínský, Miroslav Krobot, Petr Zelenka, Jiří Havelka, Karel František Tománek, Viliam Klimáček, Petra Tejnorová, Daniel Majling and others). A further significant component of the dramaturgy is singular interpretations of world classics. During its existence the Dejvice Theatre has five times been declared Theatre of the Year, with further significant awards being won both by productions and individual members of the company. Every year the Dejvice Theatre’s name appears in nominations for the most prestigious theatre awards. The theatre has one of the most stable and harmonious companies of actors, with members who frequently appear in film, television and on the radio.