A cat which got the most for itself
Markéta Dolníčková 14. April 2009 zdroj Divadelní noviny
The director Zdeněk Černín gained the attention of the female part of the audience at the very beginning of his production Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with a long nude scene in the shower. He lets Lukáš Hejlík as Brick, "dressed" only in an orthesis, take a long shower during Margaret's drawn out introductory monologue on an otherwise empty stage. Hana Briešťanská's Maggie, only in her underwear and a suspender belt, then jumps around Brick and tilts up on him sensuously and in a completely well-thought out manner.
Probably all of the Pollitts have an erotic charge in this production. Jana Gazdíková's mother is no fat, tastelessly dressed mum from the South, but a smart, youthful and well-kept lady. Also, the calculating mother of five children, Mae, looks very attractive; pregnancy, which she speaks about, has certainly not deformed her figure. Simply the whole family makes a very nice, elegant and refined impression. However, under the polished outside, nothing works the way it should. Only the five naughty children are not trying to pretend anything. Prompted by their parents, they run onto the stage shouting at a well timed moment and irritate the remaining inhabitants of the house.
William's play is closely tied to the reality and atmosphere of the American south, and therefore it isn't surprising that Brno City Theatre's dramaturgy section decided on large-scale cuts which freed the conflict from its original environment, made it more general and moved it into the present. Jan Dušek's artistic design is also focused in this direction. He left the stage almost bare, free from details and almost without any scenery. We can only assume the presence of a few armchairs by the table on the terrace behind the slightly higher backdrop. The orange colour of a soft carpet, which effectively evokes the atmosphere of early evening at sunset and at the same time incites a "combative mood" for the coming key battle for property, dominates the stage.
This fight is totally in the hands of the women. Lukáš Hejlík depicts the alcoholic Brick as a totally defeated person. He lets events flow past him without taking part in them, his only movement being towards his bottle. Hana Briešťanská's Margaret teems with passion and energy; she isn't such a pronounced queen of the performance as one might expect but she is still provocatively seductive, explosive and endowed with some kind of mysterious spark. Pavla Vitázková as Mae gives off the impression of being somewhat cold; she tries to look pleasant but with a certain stiffness. Despite that we believe her love for her children. The weakest female personality is Jana Gazdíková's Mother, who hides her dwindling strength as well as her gradual loss of wit behind a well-kept appearance. The role of a rancher from the South doesn´t suit Zdeněk Junák very much but he enjoys, in a convincing way, the last upheaval of strength of a man who thinks that he has just outwitted death.
The most obvious shift which changes the feel of the production towards one which concludes on a happy note, is the end itself, where Brick lets Margaret seduce him. This differs from his uncompromisingly rejective attitude in the original work. And she triumphs as the cat which stayed on the hot roof for the longest time.
Hypocrisy is a system and we live in it
Jiří P. Kříž 3. March 2009 zdroj Právo
A farmer's mansion in the Mississippi delta, a dying Father (Junák).
His family is fighting for the inheritance: his wife's (Gazdíková) two sons (Hejlík, Bořecký) and his daughters-in-law (Briešťanská, Vitázková), and also Reverend Tooker (Karel Mišurec). The winner is the one who, like a cat in danger, manages to hide up on a tin roof made hot by the sun - one of the very good images in the title of Williams's play.
This drama, which elsewhere runs for two and a half hours, was turned by Černín into a one-hour-and-forty-minute effort with the efficient dramaturgical cooperation of Viktor Kudělka, who celebrated his eightieth birthday at the end of February…
One more jewel decorates Černín's directorial crown: his work with the actors. He can squeeze impressive pace and expression out of their performances, thus drawing Czech acting closer to the English or Russian style.
He doesn't make anything simpler. The key monologue of Father and Brick is performed by Junák and Hejlík in rocking chairs. On the same set pieces, which are the dominant elements of Jan Dušek's stage, the final family debate will take place…
Briešťanská, who in the role of Margareta is that lurking cat fighting for the improvement of her relationship with Brick (Hejlík) rather than for the inheritance, will finally convince Brno's spectators of her great and many-faceted acting. Father, excellently earthy and never very far from being rude and coarse, is acted by the famous Junák.
Černín's masterstroke was the invitation of Jana Gazdíková into the spotlight and her exact placement in the role of the unbearable Mother. Her daughter-in-law, Mae (Vitázková), and son Gooper (Bořecký), the representatives of family hypocrisy - which is what William's drama is about -follow in her footsteps, and with an extra dash of hysteria. The two most pronounced characters (Margareta, Father) are supplemented by a third to complete the trinity - Brick acted by Lukáš Hejlík...