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Estates Theater Prague

Estates Theatre - Stavovské divaldo, Ovocný trh 1, Staré Město, Prague 1, Tel: +420 224 228 503.

This is where Mozart first conducted the opera Don Giovanni on October 29, 1787.

Originally dubbed Count Nostitz's theatre - after the aristocrat who was responsible for its construction - the building later become the Royal Provincial German Theatre.

Now they produce ballet/theatre presentations and regular operas (including Don Giovanni).


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Added: January 30th 2005
Reviewer: Martin Trip

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Posted by francis on 2005-07-19 10:32:10
My Score:
an old misery show I remember December's winter of discontent by Julie ChibbaroE? E?The heart of December (of All Things) is as cold and bitter and lacking warmth as a snowy day. Its extremities are hot with song, whiskey and strife. But can its limbs heat its heart? In his new play for Misery Loves Company, Prague-based playwright Sean Fuller ironically tears apart our conceptions of love as he examines the post-expat lives of three young Americans.E?Anna Bean, the young escapee from the prison of a Jim Beam trust fund, begins the play in darkness, belting a song about leaving town. The lights go up, and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Anna takes us through a funny, caustic monologue about having arrived back in America. Behind her, an asymmetrical backdrop of abstract canvases echoes the cacophony of voices in her head: her parents, her memories of being away from home, her complicated feelings about the place she has run to and the man she is running from.E?Two men enter. William, wearing a suit, and Francis, a long-haired dark spirit. Subtext becomes text in a humorous jazz riff of words as the three talk about one another. Christopher Clarke gleefully plays Francis, Anna's bad-hearted lover during their four years in Prague. David Nykl infuses William, the bookish third wheel and stalwart friend to them both, with a sensitive insecurity. The action starts when the three scatter and become lost in the wilderness of America, all with different reasons for having returned. Anna is fleeing Francis, Francis is hunting her, and William just wants someone to take him seriously.E?In the America of the play, the absurdist reality outside the triangle continuously steps in, and throughout is juxtaposed with the hyperreality of the three main characters. Oddly, the meat of the play occurs in comedic peripheral scenes anchored by minor characters. Following this structure, Anna seeks refuge with Hattie Joe Charbonneau (Laura Zam and Cary Hegdahl alternate in the role), a megalomaniacal witch and owner of a chutney and tortilla factory in the twin hamlets of Normality and Tow Head, New Mexico. It is not long before Francis, who has stolen Anna's phone book as well as her ATM and credit cards, tracks her down there. Hattie, who has hired a den of thieves to work for her so that she can transform them, warns Anna that Francis is a thug, and assures her friend that she will take care of him. She sends Anna off in the direction of William, the "sunny, sweet man waiting in the wings."E?William, meanwhile, has begun his own transformation, and is trying to get back to his roots as a writer. He finally lands a job interview at a Pittsburgh paper. The interviewers request that he remove his clothes and "relax." William starts to find his strength in a hilarious and surprising dance interlude heightened by live music (Vera Oracova on piano and Noel Le Bon on bass). Through this absurdity, he explains himself in the same straight language used by Francis, who, a scene later, arrives in New Mexico. Francis, ever the charmer, has a heated confrontation with Brian, a dorky car-rental agent, in which their pent-up frustrations explode. Choices in life are the bone of contention between them: "Surrender. Capitulation ..." Francis spits, berating Brian for his boring job, while extolling the constant scramble that follows the decision to lead an unstable life.E?It is a measure of stability in this unstable life that the three protagonists search for throughout the rest of the play. In the fractious chase of love that ensues, Anna gravitates toward William, who has always loved her, while Francis, through sheer will and determination, tries to recapture Anna's heart.E?Using a powerful supporting cast of 10, playwright Fuller weaves together song, fight scenes (choreographed excellently by the actors, who are trained in stage battle), dance, sound effects and music to achieve the surreal alienation his main characters experience in going back home. He has reached his goal of creating a piece of theater designed to "entertain audiences," as he puts it. Successfully, he leads us through all the confusion with comedic and vaudevillian elements gleaned from his "peer mentor" Richard Toth, the founder of this repertory company.E?Occasionally, bits of warmth make their way to the cold heart of this wintry play, suffusing it with blood. Equally occasionally, these pulses of warmth take the audience beyond the entertainment factor and make us feel something for the trio.E?E?

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