International theatre project reflecting on two decades of freedom culminates at Prague’s Archa on Friday


Svoboda? Svoboda! (Freedom? Freedom!) is the name of an international theatre project that culminates at Prague’s Archa theatre on Friday night. Involving theatre groups and contemporary history institutes from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany, the show provides a forum for examination of the states’ recent communist past, and asks – what kind of freedom did they achieve in 20 years? Ahead of Friday’s event, I found out more from the director of Divadlo Archa, Ondřej Hrab.

“It is a night which will consist of projects which were prepared by each of our partners. It’s like a theme night, where you have the chance to see several productions, for instance a production by the Slovak arts centre Stanica Žilina will question the role of the young generation in ’89 in a very, very – I would say – critical way. A short performance from Brno will be a puppet show about the pop star Karel Gott, who developed his career through all the regimes.

“Our part will be a combination of a theatre performance and a public discussion. We will have students who were born in ’89 confronted with the story, which will be performed, of Kurt and Květa, a Czech-German couple, which in fact reflects very intimate private life against the background of global history. The students will have the chance, through the show, to reflect, to react and to make their own comments on the life, actually, of their parents.”

I believe it’s a one-off event – it’s happening only on Friday night. It seems also like a lot of work. Did you not consider having more performances or more shows?

“This was a condition of the project, because we just came from Berlin. The tour started in Žilina three weeks ago. Then we went to Brno, then to Hamburg and Berlin, and we end up in Prague on Friday. So this is the final station of the project.

“I believe that the separate parts will exist in our own individual theatres, at least for one season. But this is a unique opportunity to see the whole project together.”

Also I was reading that you’ll be having some special things going on in the bar here at Divadlo Archa tomorrow night.

“Not only in the bar, but in the city of Prague. I forgot to say that the German participation will be, I would say, an artistic intervention, or an event, more than a performance. The artistic group called God’s Entertainment will provide three tours through Prague for Prague citizens – they will have the chance to see Prague through the eyes of foreigners…”

“Besides the performances, we will also have a discussion, an exhibition of documents. There will also be a disco with hits from the ‘80s and the chance to hold discussions not only with the artists but also with historians…

“We are especially aiming our project at the young audience, who can look back at the history which is still felt in our veins.”