Prague Playwriting Contest offers participants opportunity to see their play produced

Sunday night was the opening night for the top three submissions to this year’s Prague Playwriting Contest at the city’s Divadlo Ponec. The winner of the contest, who will take home a cash prize, will be announced at the closing night next Tuesday. One of the playwrights in the race for the award is Josh Kaston. His submission “The Great Indoors” is set in the rural Southern United States, where a Czech-British couple gets stranded. Sarah Borufka talked to Josh Kaston about the process of seeing his play produced and why he decided to participate in the contest.

“I’ve actually come to the Prague Playwriting Contest every year since it started, and it has always been pretty good. So I always thought to myself: One of these years, I am going to try and submit something. And this year, I finally had the time to write and submit a piece.”

Josh Kaston
Where did you take your inspiration from? You’ve lived here for over three years, but the play is set in the Southern United States. What inspired you?

“I’m from Louisiana, so I was always surrounded by rednecks, or whatever you want to call them. I actually don’t have any experience with theater. I learned how to write screenplays. Through this experience, I found out how different theater is from writing for television.”

There is one Czech character in the play, a pregnant woman, and she says some things that are very indicative of Czech culture. Why did you choose to include a Czech character in your play?

“I thought adding a little Czech spice would give me a better chance of having my play produced in the Czech Republic.”

How was it to see your play come to life?

“It was great. The rules of the contest state that I have complete control over the script, but not over casting or directing. I was lucky. The director of my play was Julek Neumann, who has some 30 years of experience, which was great for me. I was very fortunate to have him. I was more of a spectator than active in the process.”

So what are your hopes now that the contest is in full swing?

“I just want people to laugh and have a good time and feel like when they pay 200 crowns to come in here, that they leave feeling that they got their money’s worth and that they leave with a smile on their face.”