Direction: Michal Vajdička
Theatre adaptation: Daniel Majling
Translation: Olga Bártová
Set: Pavol Andraško
Music: Marián Čekovský
Dramaturgy: Daniel Majling, Eva Suková
Ivan Trojan, Václav Neužil, Miroslav Krobot, Martin Myšička, Martin Pechlát, Jaroslav Plesl, Hynek Čermák, Petr Vršek, Jana Holcová, Klára Melíšková, Lenka Krobotová
Premiere: 20 February 2012
Performance length: 150 minutes, with interval
A Blockage in the System – When your whole life is screwed up in one day, and then you meet God in the pub and he tells you that he does exist but he’s a lazy cunt who doesn’t give a fuck, you think it can’t get any worse. But it can… A Blockage in the System is based on well-known Scottish writer Irvine Welsh’s book of short stories and screenplay, Acid House. Its sad heroes are young people unable to break free from the strange pointlessness of their lost existences. Welsh’s novels and stories are brutally honest, full of drugs, harsh language and football, probing the dark corners of the world and the soul. Under the black humour on the surface of the anecdotes, however, hides the real and compelling testimony of a generation. Welsh himself is one of the most celebrated British writers. “The Face” magazine has called him “the Poet Laureate of the chemical generation,” and “The Sunday Times” has written that he is “the best thing that has happened to British writing for decades.”
There is something discreetly murderous dripping from the production, however. Vajdička has created a rogue’s gallery of dodgy characters, moral deviants who use aggression to deal with everything and have no idea that the world can be different. Nor do they need to. Welsh’s short stories have been filmed, but the stage has a major advantage over the screen. While the screen provides us with a certain amount of distance, the stage – for all the exaggeration, accentuated irony and bizarre action – brings us up close. A Blockage in the System is an exceptionally depressing production, with an urgent and compelling testimony visible below the various layers of comedy and exaggeration artfully laid over it by the direction. The acting is once again exceptional – in terms of teamwork and interplay between the actors, the company has no competition.
Jana Machalická, Lidové noviny
The Slovak team – which in addition to the director includes the author of the adaptation, Daniel Majling, and set designer Pavol Andraško – the Dejvice actors and Irvine Welsh all clearly see eye to eye, and not just where their beloved football is concerned. Everything on stage is part of the play – the view of the landscape behind the dirty windows, the red tanga on Marge’s rear and the photo of My Father’s Dead Wife on the wall. A Blockage in the System at the Dejvické Divadlo is a powerful, hugely entertaining but cruelly relevant play. You laugh until the tears run down your face, but inside you feel like weeping.
Marie Reslová, Hospodářské noviny
Watching this strange spectacle full of unexpected twists and strange trains of thought and action is enough to make you die laughing. The actors, squeezed into the tiny space of a portacabin with a side wall missing, and headed by Ivan Trojan, Miroslav Krobot and Hynek Čermák, give you one opportunity after another.
Roman Sikora, Český rozhlas 3 – Mozaika
Michal Vajdička (b. 1976) studied theatre direction from 1999 to 2004 at the VŠMU in Bratislava under Peter Mikulík. His graduation production was Martin McDonagh’s The Lonesome West, which won awards at student festivals in Brno and Bratislava. He has worked in lighting design, and as a director he has worked in numerous Slovak theatres (Košice, Zvolen, Martin, Nitra, Prešov, Bratislava City Theatre, Slovak National Theatre Aréna Bratislava…), and also as a guest director at the National Theatre in Brno. He frequently directs plays by Irish writers, and his production of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane won three Dosky nominations in 2005 plus a Literary Fund award (for direction, best female performance and best male performance). His Portia Coughlan (2006) in Nitra won two Dosky awards, the Nová drama audience award and the Literary Fund award for direction. His other productions in Nitra included an adaptation of Božena Slančíková-Timrova’s All for the Nation (2008), also shown at the Divadlo festival in Pilsen, and once again the winner of a Literary Fund award and three nominations for a Dosky award. In the State Theatre in Košice he has directed Euripides’ Medea, and Dead Souls in Nitra. Both productions were once again nominated for Dosky awards, and won a Dosky prize for Marián Čekovský’s music. His most recently-directed play is Martin McDonagh’s A Behanding in Spokane at the Slovak National Theatre. In addition to theatre, he also works intensively for television (dramaturgy and direction of the serial The Surgery in the Rose Garden, direction of the sitcom Professionals, direction of the show She’s The Boss and Czecho-Slovakia’s Got Talent etc. One of the most talented Slovak directors currently around, Michal Vajdička works with a fixed team (dramaturg Daniel Majling, set designer Pavol Andraško, musician Marián Čekovský), and emphasises working with actors, psychological authenticity and modern theatrical language.
Dejvice Theatre – Founded in 1992, the Dejvice Theatre has become one of the most sought-out and most-visited Czech theatres. Following the departure of the original company, headed by Jan Borna, its artistic head since 1997 has been director Miroslav Krobot.An important part of the Dejvice Theatre’s dramaturgy consists of contemporary drama, both Czech and foreign (Joe Penhall: Landscape With Weapon, Denis Kelly: Debris, Patrick Marber’s Dealer’s Choice and others). The theatre initiates the creation of original Czech plays (Petr Zelenka: Tales of Common Insanity, Teremin, Miroslav Krobot, Syrup, kft/reality sandwich®, Viliam Klimáček: Dragon’s Lair and others) and also emphasises cooperation between artists of a similar outlook and generation (Jiří Havelka: Black Hole, Petra Tejnorová: Bluebeard/draebeulB and others). However, adaptations of world classics also have a firm place in the theatre’s repertoire (adaptations of Goncharov’s Oblomov, Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot, Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Love Story, Goethe’s Elective Affinities) and classic plays (Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Twelfth Night, Gogol’s The Government Inspector, Chekhov’s Three Sisters and others).The Dejvice Theatre regularly wins or is nominated for leading theatre awards. It has won the Alfréd Radok Award for Theatre of the Year four times, and can seemingly boast one of the country’s most harmonious acting teams.