This week's topics: British stag parties in Prague; the oldest circus company in the Czech Republic; a new Czech drama staged in New York. Listeners quoted: David Wright, UK; Muhammad Shamim, India; Alastair Pamphilon, UK.
Last week we aired a programme about Prague being very popular with young British men, who come here in groups to enjoy cheap drink. In response to that report, David Wright from the UK has sent us this e-mail:
"Thank you for your interesting article on Prague being a cheap paradise for British stag tourists. My wife and I visited Prague for the first time this year enjoying a belated honeymoon after 14 years of marriage. We stayed for 4 nights from Monday to Friday specifically to avoid the weekend period. The coverage of Prague's problem with British stag parties is widespread but I think it should be emphasised that the problem is largely limited to the Wenceslas Square area and therefore can easily be avoided."
Mr Wright also wrote:
"We found the Czech drinking culture to be far more friendly, civilised and enjoyable (the Golden Tiger pub, for example) than that which is found in Britain. I am afraid that many British towns are blighted by the excesses of the young drinkers and have in the last few years become unpleasant places to spend the evening. I think as your article said the popularity of Prague with these stag groups will lessen in the future. But for the moment people should be told that Prague night life has much more to offer than just the delights of Wenceslas Square on a Saturday night."
Thank you very much for that e-mail and now back to history. Muhammad Shamim from India has this question:
"Which is the oldest circus company in the Czech Republic?"
According to the Czech Who's Who? the oldest circus dynasty in this country is the Kludsky family. The founder of the dynasty, Antonin Kludsky, was born in 1826. He started off with just a few puppets and a small menagerie but his business soon started flourishing. He and his wife had 20 children; all of them followed in the family tradition, except for the eldest son, who was killed by a lion on his wedding day. The business was later taken over by Antonin's son Karel, who died in 1927. The circus was handed over to his son, also named Karel, who found himself in financial troubles and the circus was nationalised by the communists in 1948. The family tradition was revived after 1989 when Bohumil Kludsky took over.
And now from artistes to artists: Our listener Alastair Pamphilon who lives in Kent in the UK sent us this question.
"Recently I noticed upon an American internet site that there has been a new Czech play performed in New York called "The Haunted Jewish Cemetery of Prague" and I would like to learn more upon the origins of this new stage drama and if it is based on someone's personal accounts along with the author's details."
What you have in mind must be the play "Miriam" written by Czech playwright Lenka Lagronova which takes place "in the haunted Jewish cemetery of Prague where two women face ancient sadnesses, personal loss and the possibility of mutual redemption", as it was described on the internet. The play was written in 2003 and premiered in March 2005 in Prague. In April it was shown as part of "The Czech Plays in Translation" project of the Czech Center in New York, The Immigrants' Theater Project, and The Theatre Institute Prague, and hosted by the Public Theater of New York.
According to the website of the Czech Theatre and Literary Agency, the author Lenka Lagronova was born in 1963 and graduated from the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She wrote several plays whilst still a student. Now she devotes herself to writing plays for the theatre and for radio. In her early works she concentrated on the traumatising experiences of the younger generation, which she describes with a typically rough humour. She writes primarily about episodes in the maturing of young women. The second part of her work was influenced by her departure from theatrical life and entry into a convent. In 1998 her play Thérèse won the Alfréd Radok Award for Production of the Year (Comedy Theatre, directed by Jan Nebeský). In 1999 Lenka Lagronova received the competitive Czech Radio Award for her radio debut Please Stand Up, and in 2002 this play won a prize in the Grand Prix Bohemia.
And finally it's time to repeat our competition question for September. In our series of famous Czech-born people we are now asking about a woman.
"She was born in 1965 in the Moravian town of Prostejov. Her parents left Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion and moved to Sweden. They left their two children behind believing they could be brought out later. But the Czechoslovak authorities would not allow it and the ensuing battle for the kids made headlines in Sweden. Finally, the family reunited after seven years but the father soon left the family. As a teenager, our mystery woman was discovered by a photographer friend who sent photos of her to a modelling agency. She quickly became a successful model appearing on the covers of prestigious magazines. She was chosen twice by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world and also appeared in a number of movies."
Please send us your answers by the end of September to the usual address Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic or English@radio.cz. Until next week, thanks for listening.