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PRAGUE CHAMBER THEATRE – COMEDY THEATRE

GARBAGE, THE CITY AND DEATH (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

Dušan D. Pařízek

Adaptation, script, direction: Dušan D. Pařízek
Translation: Zuzana Augustová
Dramaturgy: Hermann Seeler
Costume: Kamila Polívková
Music assistance: Ivan Acher
Music rehearsal: Vratislav Šrámek
Choreography assistance, acrobatics: Jonáš Janků, Cirqueon

Cast:
Romi: Gabriela Míčová Rich Jew: Martin Finger Mrs Müller: Martin Pechlát Mrs Müller: Dana Poláková Franz: Stanislav Majer Oscar: Jiří Černý 
Czech premiere: 15 December 2011 Performance length: 105 minutes without interval

Garbage, the City and Death – A production that criticises the self-destructive tendencies of capitalism and highlights the contemporary forms of acute conservatism, nationalism and intolerance of minorities that are affecting the whole of Europe. In his most controversial play, Rainer Werner Fassbinder takes a provocative look at the problems of physical and moral prostitution and property speculation. The play holds up an unflattering mirror to political correctness, which often leads to hypocrisy since it only masks intolerance and does not deal with it. As a result, the play was, until recently, repeatedly banned in German-speaking countries. Fassbinder’s conscious use of homophobic and antisemitic clichés caused such a storm in 1974 that the author was paradoxically accused of antisemitism himself. The adaptation, staging and direction of the play gained Dušan D. Pařízek the Annual Award of the Czech Literary Fund Foundation in 2012.
Garbage, the City and Death is an excellent dramaturgical choice. It is a play that, among other things, captures the disillusion, emptiness and alienation flowing from the mistaken idea that market mechanisms function correctly and sensibly. Far from it – they do not, and they also destroy human relationships (…). Pařízek has created a relatively smooth adaptation of this old play to the present day. It is about xenophobia, chauvinism, ordinary human stupidity, greed and brutality. Simply put, about the fact that a system which allows everybody to forget about morality draws the worst out of people.Jana Machalická, Lidové noviny
A convincing production that provides a chillingly depressing vision of the present day (…) It also makes you realise once again what a consistent company has been created during Pařízek’s era. Every performance is a perfect, almost chameleon-like transformation, and at the same time falls perfectly into the overall concept, making the performance function like a well-oiled machine.Jana Soprová, Český rozhlas 3 – Mozaika

The stage form, which with the help of simple means of expression binds the audience’s attention to the extensive and intellectually-demanding speeches, is a miracle in the context of current Czech theatre.Vojtěch Poláček, Obalkapraha.cz

This new production from the Prague Chamber Theatre shows a cruel view of a world afflicted by the morbid pursuit of material goods, a pursuit that awakens sleeping “animal” instincts. Indifference and lack of empathy are further accompanying features of this made age. I fear (and the producers of Fassbinder’s work clearly share my fear) that it does not apply only to Germany forty years ago.Jan Kerbr, Divadelní noviny 

The honours that marked the 30th anniversary of the death of theatre and filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder showed how inspirational his work is to his colleagues – now more than ever. The fact that Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s plays are performed more often abroad than they are in Germany confirms the saying that no one is a prophet in his own country (…). Czech director Dušan D. Pařízek has come up with an utterly brilliant adaptation of the play Garbage, the City and Death, a play whose premiere in Frankfurt in 1985 had to be cancelled after accusations of antisemitism and demonstrations on the day of the premiere. Fassbinder gave up his position as director of Frankfurt’s Theater am Turm as a result. The play was first shown in 1987 in New York. Pařízek’s adaptation takes into account the current-day Czech Republic and makes the audience into voyeurs and direct participants in the action. They sit at little tables around the acting space, within touching difference of the Rich Jew, a property speculator who becomes the sacrificial lamb for everyone else, including the prostitute Romi, forced by her pimp to walk the streets.Gabriella Lorenz, Kulturvollzug

Dušan David Pařízek (b. 1971) – Studied comparative literature and theatre studies at Munich university, ending his training as a director in 1999 at DAMU in Prague. While still a student he directed productions of Schwab’s Presidents and Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. In addition he published essays, translations and adaptations. In 1998 he founded the Prague Chamber Theatre, an independent theatre group that four four years he initially led as its artistic head. From 2002 he and his company have worked on a permanent basis in Prague’s Comedy Theatre, of which he is the director. Dušan David Pařízek is a significant figure in contemporary Czech theatre. His production of The World-Fixer won a MAX award in the Prague German-language theatre festival, while The Trial won an Alfréd Radok award for the best production of 2007. It was also voted production of the year in Divadelní noviny’s annual survey and won a MAX award. His production of Werner Schwab’s Overweight, Unimportant: Formlessness won a further MAX award. Since 2002 Dušan D. Pařízek has also worked as a director and set designer in German-speaking countries, in theatres such as the Schauspiel Köln, Deutsches Theater Berlin, Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, Residenztheater München and Schauspielhaus Zürich.The dramaturgy of Pařízek’s work revolves heavily around German literature (Schwab, Bernhard, Jelinek, Müller, Schimmelpfennig). The text plays a dominant and leading role in his plays, although he is not so much interested in story as in ideas and philosophical considerations, essay rather than drama. The set, which is usually designed by Pařízek himself, tends to consist of a couple of precisely-chosen fragments. The non-committal costumes underline the timelessness of the story, and the direction is marked by strict minimalism. The staging perfectly underlines Pařízek’s interest in existential subjects: the loss of purpose and orientation in life, the absence of communication, human loneliness.

Comedy Theatre – The Comedy Theatre was operated from 2002 by the Prague Chamber Theatre (PKD), which turned the space into one of the most dramatically-exciting and aesthetically-unified Czech theatres. At the end of the 2011/2012 season the theatre closed, chiefly as the result of unfavourable financial circumstances. Newspaper headlines indicated reviewers’ unanimous views of the matter: “Award-winning theatre closes as Prague city hall starves it of money”, “Tragedy in the Comedy: the only Czech theatre of European stature to close” and so on. Jan H. Vitvar wrote: “At present, Prague merely looks on with equanimity at the closure of a theatre which people will one day be describing in theses as an unrepeatable phenomenon.The dramaturgy of the theatre was mostly oriented towards the first productions of contemporary Czech, Austrian and German playwrights (Thomas Bernhard, Werner Schwab, George Tabori, Elfriede Jelineková etc.). For its work in the Comedy Theatre, the Chamber Theatre decided to come up with the concept of an open theatre, with a minimal production and artistic team looking after its organisation and functioning. Contrary to the usual practice, the PKD did not employ a single actor or technician. Nevertheless, the Comedy Theatre had a clear company of actors, which was one of its great strengths (Karel Roden, Daniela Kolářová, Vanda Hybnerová, Roman Zach, Martin Finger, Gabriela Míčová, Martin Pechlát, Ivana Uhlířová, Jiří Černý, Jiří Štrébl etc.). Its work gave the Comedy Theatre a clear position on the Czech scene, and it became one of the most-awarded theatres of the last decade – in addition, the Comedy Theatre was declared Theatre of the Year in the Alfréd Radok awards in 2007, 2009 and 2011. Its productions played at many international festivals and in significant European theatres, including the Deutsches Theater Berlin, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin, Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, Residenztheater München, Volkstheater Wien, Salzburger Festspiele, Festival THEATERFORMEN Hannover, Stage Festival Helsinki, Teatr imeni V. F. Komissarževskoj Sankt Peterburg and Riverside Studios London, or were directly co-produced by them.

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