David Mamet’s Edmond to premiere in Prague on Saturday

Prague’s Divadlo na Zábradlí is best known for staging plays by the former Czech president Václav Havel, but recently, it has started producing English-language plays for the benefit of the Anglo-American community and foreign visitors. This Saturday will see the premiere of Edmond by American playwright David Mamet performed by the Black Snow theatrical company. Ruth Fraňková spoke to its director David Peimer.

“It is about what happens when a middle aged man leaves his job and his wife, because he feels he missing out on adventure and excitement and he goes into the streets of New York and has all sorts experiences, meeting strange people in New York but he doesn’t know the codes of the New York streets or any big city. It’s about the world of hustlers and everyone is out to get something from somebody. He doesn’t realize it until much later in the play. So what seems to be a journey of adventure at the beginning turns into a nightmare.”

Is this your first directing work here in the Czech Republic?

“No, I first came to Prague in 1998 to do some workshops on African rituals in performance and then they invited me to do a major project for the Prague Quadrienalle in 2003. We did a huge installation and three weeks of performance at Výstaviště. They invited two companies from two continents and ours was one of the two companies on Africa to be invited for this very big projects.

Is it your first cooperation with the Black Snow Theatre Company?

“We did a play earlier on in the year, in April, which was called ‘Laughing Wild’ by the New York satirist Christopher Durang. It was my first collaboration with them and then they asked me to do this one as well.”

Do you expect only English speakers to come?

“One of the things I feel very strongly about, especially coming from South Africa where there are so many languages and so many cultures, is that I really don’t like having an English bubble living in a Czech world. For me it is crucial to break the bubble of the English native speakers and fully engage with Czech culture, Czech people and Czech world, so hopefully it will strike a cord for both.”