Czech Theatre Review

Czech Theatre Review is a peer-reviewed scientific journal about theatre studies published three times a year by the Arts and Theatre Institute. It was established in 1989. The Czech Theatre Studies Department is responsible for the content as well as its quality. The journal is a platform for scientific studies, analyses, documents, reviews and news about theatre culture, with an emphasis on the theory and history of Czech and global theatre alike.

Gérard de Nerval a jeho dvojenec – Gérard de Nerval and His Double: The Theatre of French Romanticism Through the Eyes of a Melancholic (Christov, P.)

Gérard de Nerval, writer, playwright, poet, and one of the most prominent representatives of French Romanticism – staying true to the ideas of Romanticism – defies rigid categorization. Starting as a congenial, good-natured and eccentric poet and a member of a frenzied bohemian society in Paris, he became a prominent figure that must be seen as an integral part of the theatre scene in Paris. Reflecting deeply on Nerval’s writings for and about theatre, as well as on the Frenchman’s theorising about art in general, the author attempts to explore the core principles underlying the French variety of European Romantic theatre (drawing inspiration from other cultures, the influence of translations, changes in modern staging, the particularities of contemporary theatre management, Romantic manifestos, modern dramaturgy, and more). The book focuses on the areas of Nerval’s oeuvre that tend to receive less attention: his criticism and works on theatre. The Czech audiences benefit from a selection of new translations – most of which have been translated into Czech for the first time – which are placed into the context of the contemporary literary, dramatic and theatrical productions.

Faust jako stav zadlužení – Doctor Faustus as a State of Indebtedness: Ten Stories of Doctor Faustus (Just, V.)

The story of Doctor Faustus represents one of the most venerable and significant European myths and its relevance today is increasing steadily. While this may be good news for the myth, it is an admonition for us, if we take into account the point of Doctor Faustus’ stories. Vladimír Just has lectured on the myth and its transformation at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts for twenty years, gathered and adapted studies from 1994–2013 and attempted to uncover the substance of this phenomenon from different perspectives. This collection of studies leads us through the very core of the myth, which is narrated from various points of view. There is, however, a common denominator: the scene of man’s contact, and later contract, with evil. This particular scene of immediate gain and the far-off due date, which constitutes the core of the Faustus story, clearly inspired the title of the book, which points to a contemporary interpretation of the old tale: Doctor Faustus as a State of Indebtedness.

Divadlo v totalitním systému – Theatre in Totalitarianism (Just, V.)

The story of Czech theatre (1945-1989) with data, context, and more. In four chapters on the relation between theatre and revolution, theatre and Stalinism, theatre and the relaxation of the “golden sixties”, and theatre and “normalisation”, this unique synthesis presents the development of Czech theatre. The uniqueness of this publication is also due to its thoroughly contextual approach: the vast Chronology of events, co-authored by theatre bibliographer František Knopp (* 1946), was extended to include thousands more entries. Within a broad scope, the publication maps out the relation between theatre and political and cultural events at home as well as abroad, making theatre the key to an entire era. The book, thanks to its encyclopaedic nature, is an outstanding tool for studying the role of theatre in a totalitarian state, and also for examining Czech cultural history of the second half of the twentieth century.

Kultura a totalita. Národ. – Culture and Totality: Nation (Klimeš, Wiendl)

The first part of a five-volume series that understands the concept of totality in a broad sense as it is employed by philosophy, art history, literary theory and other disciplines. The book surveys cultural material, primarily from the Czech lands, and offers an interdisciplinary analysis of the various manifestations of “total” forms and frameworks present in the modern era.

Kultura a totalita II. Válka. – Culture and Totality II: War (Klimeš, Wiendl)

The second part of the multi-volume project, which surveys art culture material, primarily from the Czech lands, and offers an interdisciplinary analysis of the various manifestations of “total” forms and frameworks present in the modern era. The series is organized around five main topics. The first volume, Národ (Nation), is followed by Válka (War), Revoluce (Revolution), Budoucnost (The Future), and Každodennost (The Everyday). All of these terms constitute formative frameworks. War, the principal topic of this volume, is seen as an extreme situation in which states modify the rules of the established order, constrain their citizens, and seriously interfere with their lives. The twentieth century in particular witnessed instances of total war, with the potential to end one era and to begin another.

Kultura a totalita III. Revoluce. – Culture and Totality III: Revolution (Klimeš, Wiendl)

The third volume within a series focused on various manifestations of “total” and “totalitarian” phenomena and frameworks, as they accompany the modern era in its long-term evolution in the 19th and 20th centuries. Revolution, the topic of this volume, is understood as a historical turn in the development of a society. It brings about questions of the old and the new, and, just like war, it has a situational dimension.

Kultura a totalita IV. Každodennost. – Culture and Totality IV: The Everyday (Klimeš, Wiendl)

In the context of the current debate on conflicts (religious, violent, political, private), the topics of everydayness and mundanity are gaining new relevance, which is why the unifying factor of the chapters in this volume is thinking about the paradox of the clash between different artistic interpretations of everydayness (seeing “ordinary life” as a display of real life, or conversely as an ideal image, a dream, a desire to experience “the everyday” when living in an unusual, extreme situation) and their destruction (reconstruction/fulfillment/elimination) within various conflicts.

České drama dnes – Czech Drama Today (eds. Christov, Pšenička, Sarkissian)

Czech Drama Today is a collection of nine interviews with Czech playwrights, which took place during debates with students at the Department of Theatre Studies at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts in late 2010 and early 2011. Drawing from their experiences in the last fifty years of Czech theatre, David Drábek, Daniela Fischerová, Arnošt Goldflam, Václav Havel, David Jařab, Iva (Volánková) Klestilová, Roman Sikora, Milan Uhde and Jan Vedral offer their perspectives on the topic.