The Best Comedy is Played in Brno
Tomáš Dvořák 16. February 2004 zdroj Hradecké noviny
The Fourth Year of Grand Laugh Festival ended in the Pardubice Theatre Last Night
The title Comedy of the Year 2003 was granted in the fourth year of Grand Laugh Festival to the play Stony Guest or Reveller presented by the Brno Municipal Theatre.
The festival that took a week is over. The winning play from Brno was also awarded by the student jury underlining mainly the directorial concept and the compactness of the presentation.
The laughter festival half finished
Tomáš Dvořák 13. February 2004 zdroj Pardubicko
On Wednesday evening in Východočeské divadlo (East Bohemian Theatre), the Brno theatre group presented an excellent show
The second half started of the fourth year of the Grand Laughter Festival organised by the East Bohemian Theatre in the “city of gingerbread”. Excellent actors from Brno – The Wednesday programme offering a parade of the best comedies was characterised by presentation in which music played an important part. While in the morning, students of the Sate Conservatory of Prague came to the Hronovice stage presenting a well-prepared performance The Office, the evening was dedicated to the Městské divadlo Brno presenting the play Stony Guest or Libertine. A perfectly presented play with songs about Don Giovanni (Don Juan), in which witty dialogues are interlaced with airs, had everything what a good comedy should have. An interesting stage design, beautiful costumes, quality directorship of the guest Hana Burešová, excellent acting and singing of the protagonists, made from the theatre group of Brno one of the hottest candidates for one of the festival awards.
Don Giovanni in a Wig or Negligee
Kateřina Bartošová 15. October 2003 zdroj Lidové noviny
The Brno Municipal Theatre extended its repertory with a successful music comedy after a pre-Mozart opera
Hana Burešová rehearsed the opera by Vincenzo Righini and Nunziato Porta about the famous seducer with second-year DAMU students in the Dejvické Theatre. The presentation prepared by her in Brno belongs to the best performances that can be seen in the Brno Municipal Theatre.
The creators used the art language of the period and prepared the performance on a classical opera glass stage with a decorated backdrop and flat wings, a large chandelier above the orchestra, rich rococo costumes and wigs. However, the imitation of the historic style is by far not the matter. The directress plays with it letting a space for actors’ dressing rooms around the mobile opera glass stage from where the constantly present actors enter the play and where present in parallel petty episodes from backstage.
The permeation of the two worlds – the unsettled backstage with wrongly dressed costumes, delayed entrances and petty love affairs and the “perfect” stage with intentionally precious opera gestures and artificially arranged scenes is the key to the slightly ironic grasp of the presented theme.
Besides the principle of a theatre in a theatre, the directress used some elements of commedia dell’arte – short and simple gags. Arlecchino (Viktor Skála) in the traditional costume, with his usual comic flyswatter and a wooden sword behind the belt acquitted himself best as a gagman. With his typical postures and gestures he looks like cut-out from the period drawings of comic servants, harlequins. In exaggeration, the action is located in Brno as a littoral city.
The pleasantly flowing presentation with successful musical performances does not lack jokes and ideas drawn from the double theatricality and ironic interpretation of types. The final suffering of Don Giovanni (Igor Ondříček) thrown to the infernal cave brings a turn of the high-spirited tone by simple means (light, face masks) – the music finale evokes suggestively the hero’s damnation.
Reveller Turned to Humour
Luboš Mareček 2. October 2003 zdroj MF Dnes
The story of Don Juan, one of the most famous seducers, was brought back to life by the directress Hana Burešová in the Brno Municipal Theatre. Her presentation of the opera Stony Guest or Reveller written by Italians Vincenzo Righini and Nunziato Porta is more than a revamp of the romp that could be seen in Prague for the first time in 1776. Then, Mozart’s famous Don Giovanni had to wait for Prague presentation for eleven years.
Burešová pulled out upon light one of a lot of Don Juan variants. In Brno the dangerous debauchee appeared for the first time in the tavern of present-day theatre Reduta in 1734. Silhouettes of the oldest theatre building in Central Europe are used now on the backcloth painted by Karel Glogr. The relieved replica of the stage of that period with a chandelier burning above the heads of living musicians enables two principal Brno symbols – a wheel and a dragon – to sneak in the decoration in humorous exaggeration. It does not mind that the action takes place in Castile. And you will feast your eyes on rococo costumes by Samiha Maleha – incredibly wide crinolines, exaggeratedly decorated wigs and dresses, or Don Giovanni with a red plait, wearing a sexy sheer shirt.
Connection of rococo theatre with commedia dell’arte served vivid entertainment. The story is not complicated, Giovanni’s sins are anecdotically simple, it is clear from the beginning that the scoundrel will end up in the hell. It is necessary to enlighten the diet tragicomic to current audiences spoiled with effects. Besides the luxurious artistic design, the desired tension develops between aristocrats and representatives of clumsy folk. Actors are sitting around a classical stage pulsing in the rhythm of its own life. Delayed starts, acting out of characters, scoffing at false singing of co-actors and other wilful acts make another functional position of the presentation. Jokes are sophisticated, though Arlecchino’s translation of a German aria into Brno jargon goes behind the limits of admitted folksiness.
At the same time, Burešová did not resign more serious positions counterbalancing the rollicking comedy. Before an interval, Don Juan almost repents, the final infernal scenery of the burning sinner reprobated by a chorus of furies raises the presentation up to the position of a witty morality play.
Musically-trained actors sometimes fight with opera singing, but the direction has got out of that weak point as well. Crazy exertion of the ensemble resembles an average Italian or German wandering theatre company hosted not only by Brno in the eighteenth century. However, Don Giovanni would fill godly audiences with bigger horror then. Instead of educational abhorrence, Burešová offered a clean-style, witty and solid performance that would impress itself on the mind of audiences in another way.
28. September 2003 zdroj Scena cz
The directress Hana Burešová co-operated with the Brno Municipal Theatre for the first time and summoned the whole Prague team to work there with her – the dramatist Štěpán Otčenášek, the costume designer Samiha Maleha and the scenographer Karel Glógr. They understand extremely each other. They are wellknown for their ambitious projects like Pictures from the French Revolution or Sensible Sisters, successful presentations of the Theatre in Dlouhá Street. So, let’s ask the second question: Was the Prague invasion successful?
The Stony Guest belongs to commedia dell’arte, or maybe a fair theatre. It often treats the theme of lady-killing, social morality, spineless servility and others with big exaggeration. No world-shaking art can be expected of this piece. In this spirit, the production team passed – the story is played in a traditionally rich stage setting making impression of forward opera-glasses. Open backstage can be seen on both sides – a toilette room, a stage manager’s room and a make-up room. This element brought additional enrichment and the comedy surpassed the tragedy. The actors and actresses sometimes played laughing to crying. In favour of the audience, they played jokes on each other to be seen in the auditorium. The heaviest burden of the stage was born by Arlecchino. Viktor Skála impressed him the best humour and clowning. In the jargon translator’s study he scored in a raper style repeated later. Jan Apolenář playing the part of Don Alfonso mastered the crinoline creature brilliantly, but used cheap gestures. The remaining principal reveller Don Giovanni played by Igor Ondříček manifested proper slickness, arrogance and animality towards a weaker sex.
Reveller Started Brno Theatre Season/Juan Rather Cheerful
Pavla Hobstová 16. September 2003 zdroj Impuls
The Brno Municipal Theatre entered luckily a new season. Their new presentation of tragicomic drama Stony Guest or Reveller by Bologna composer Vincenzo Righini is lovely and witty.
This form of Don Juan story does not demand any dramatic presentation or complicated psychological treatment of characters, but it includes demanding comic and mime performances. The representative of Harlequin is dominating. Brilliant dramatic and comic performance is given by Viktor Skála. The part of Don Giovanni is played and sung by Igor Ondříček, Comtur by Ladislav Kolář. The part of Donna Anna is played by Alena Antalová.
The directress Hana Burešová prepared a lovely and witty performance. Music was studied by Karel Cón.
Grand Laugh Festival for the Fourth and Best Time
Jan Kolář 16. March 2003 zdroj Divadelní noviny
After the fourth year, the Pardubice Grand Laugh Festival may be included in the established, adult shows without children’s diseases. This year, the festival was open for the first time to the present comedies “an sich” (without regional limitations) and made the selection criteria more severe, therefore no dramaturgic and presentation blunder found its place on the programme.
The forgotten composer Vincenzo Righini wrote his Don Giovanni eleven years before Mozart on the libretto by similarly “dead” Nunziato Porta. However, their hopelessly antiquated Stony Guest or Reveller served almost ideally to the directress Hana Burešová and the ensemble of the Brno Municipal Theatre to present the playful theatre in the theatre, bacchanalia of dramatic imagination, charming show of music, verbal and motoric jokes moving the audience to never-ending applause at the end and both the juries (professional and student) awarded the title Comedy of the Year 2003 to this presentation.
The Best Stony Guest
1. December -1 zdroj Scena cz
4th Year of the Grand Festival of Laughter Is Over
Who laughed last? Surely, not the Brno Municipal Theatre – the performance Stony Guest or Reveller received the title Comedy of the Year 2003. The play by Vincenzo Righini and Nunziato Porta was studied by the directress Hana Burešová. This performance also received an award by the Students’ Jury for direction and compactness of the performance.
Burešová Let Passions Blaze Up
Jiří P. Kříž 1. December -1
To enjoy the theatre, to admire the art and to leave the auditorium with an impressive experience – this all was offered to audiences of the Brno Municipal Theatre by the directress Hana Burešová in a difficult presentation of pre-Mozart opera. This holds for the opening night and first repeats of the Stony Guest or Reveller written by Vincenzo Righini and Nunziato Porta.
Burešová is an example of directress who can charm not only theatregoers but also critics who tip her regularly to A. Radok award for the best presentation of the year.
“Grüss aus Brünn” is written on a lovely curtain (stage design by Karel Glogr) of perfectly illusive baroque chateaux scene. This performance is transformed into an unprecedented hymn to the eternally disunited city of Brno not only with the substitution of the confluence of the river Ponávka and the river Svitava with a magnificent sea gulf, but also with other motives (the Lednice wheel and the famous dragon, Fischer’s fountain on the Zelný rynk, but with a statue of horse-riding Comtur on the top). For the best work of the year I put down richly decorated costumes by Samiha Maleh, areally mishappen with an ironic spirit of the presentation. And the direction? Perfectly precise permeation of the mentioned genres, clean and without any mistake, with the other plan of mess and piquant backstage stories.
Viktor Skála (Arlecchino, Don Giovanni’s servant) and Igor Ondříček (Giovanni) would have been a hard nut to crack for Thalia award distributors if they had found their way to the opening night! Together with Ladislav Kolář (Comtur) they mastered excellently their not always easy opera parts. Among actresses, the same holds for outstanding Helena Dvořáková (landlady Corallina) and Irena Konvalinová (Donna Isabella) from whom Burešová managed to dig out in the spirit of the presentation beautifully stolen opera manners of a soubrette who cannot sing much in fact.
Neither got lost Alena Antalová (Donna Anna), Jan Apolenář and Jan Mazák (Don Alfonso), Ivana Vaňková and Zuzana Kyseľová (Elisa), Alan Novotný (Tiburzio, waiter from the inn). In short, the performance of the Municipal Theatre was a success again.
About the Philanderer in Songs and Words
Jaroslav Parma 1. December -1 zdroj Informační měsíčník města Blanska
The theme of Don Juan has been treated for many times. However, the dramatic adviser of the Brno Municipal Theatre Štěpán Otčenášek (a guest) dived deep in the past and brought on stage “The Stony Guest or Reveller”, a baroque opera having features of commedia dell’arte (first nights on 6th and 7th September) written by the opera composer Vincenzo Righini and the librettist Nunziato Porta whose work anticipated by at least 20 years Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
The guest director Hana Burešová (who is not for the first time on the Brno stage) assisted by Jiří Záviš does not approach the play with piety, but rather with sense providing the actors (faced with quite demanding opera singing) with a lot of space to depict their characters, sometimes with a certain level of exaggeration, mainly in the mentioned vocal parts. Music was studied and adapted by Karel Cón, but an orchestra was conducted by the guest conductor Dan Kalousek, Cón’s talented student selected by Karel Cón himself. Costumes were designed by Samiha Maleh (a guest), movement was studied under supervision of Jana Vašáková and Jiří Reidenger (guests). The untraditional stage representing a stage and a backstage was designed by Karel Glogr (a guest).
The title role of Don Giovanni was assigned to Igor Ondříček (author’s note: a new boss of opera section of the Brno National Theatre that will be transferred under the Brno Municipal Theatre) who is really enjoying it. The same can be written about Ladislav Kolář playing the role of Komtur. However, the enjoyment of the play can also be felt in Viktor Skála (Arlecchino), Alena Antalová (coming back “home” after some time in the role of Donna Anna), Irena Konvalinová (Donna Isabella), Alan Novotný (perhaps in the role of a waiter he was too “shaky”; he also plays a fisherman), Jan Mazák (at the second opening night, alternating with Jan Apolenář in the role of Don Alfonso), Pavla Ptáčková (lady’s maid) and Helena Dvořáková (landlady). The theatre staff is introduced by Michal Nevěčný.
It can be said without fear that the presentation is (and will certainly be for a long time) a kind contribution to the current repertory of the Brno stage which popularity is growing.
The Reveller Revelled, Arlecchino Amused
Vladimir Čech 1. December -1 zdroj Kam
The guest director Hana Burešová coming from Prague presented the donjuanesque Righini’s and Porta’s opus as a theatre in the theatre. And so you can see a stage with portals on the stage, actors standing and getting ready on its sides, dressers, wig-makers, a stage manager, etc. The performance with one interval lasts almost two hours and fifteen minutes, yet its second part is rather lengthy as it is just about Giovanni’s last lunch when he treats Komtur and a subsequent dinner when, vice versa, Giovanni is Komtur’s guest. And just the opulent dining is a rich source of all manner of quips pouring from a bottomless pocket of the servant Arlecchino (called Leporello in Mozart’s opera) whose sketches with the landlady Corallina are little superb études.
Of course, The Stony Guest or Reveller designed by the Brno Municipal Theatre is not a real opera. It is rather a drama with songs. Nevertheless, a small orchestra with an electronic harpsichord conducted by wigged Dan Kalousek (music was studied by Karel Cón) is sitting under the stage.
To summarize, The Stony Guest or Reveller offers quite intelligent escapist entertainment that will make you laugh unreservedly.
Festival Look Back in the Eyes of Professional and Student Jury
Studentská porota 1. December -1 zdroj Zpravodaj VČD Pardubice
This year of the Grand Laugh Festival has had the most even standard so far. Dramatic advisors collected high-quality presentations of different genres, preparing thus a difficult task to the jury. Drama, musical and also opera were presented. Two original present-day texts were especially appreciated. The accompanying non-competitive programme was also richer (14 ensembles) and the social prestige of the festival was increased with the participation of the Czech Television in the final gala evening.
Looking back at this year of the Grand Laugh Festival we appreciated the variety of selected titles in the competitive and non-competitive parts. Each performance added other shade of laugh to the imaginary festival palette, mixed now from a black humour, then the humour white like snow, or another time, the humour turning you red. We were glad Prague could also defend its colours this year. Anyway, no colour overtrumped markedly the others, and so the equality pleasant for the audience brought difficulties to the jury at making decisions. The following performances appeared in the narrower nomination: “Ještě žiju s věšákem, čepicí a plácačkou“ from Zlín, Martin Pacek’s choreography in the presentation “Sugar” with the attractive performance of Milan Němec, Simona Stašová in “Třikrát život” presented by the theatre ABC and finally, “Kamenný host aneb Prostopášník” (Stony Guest or Reveller) masterfully presented by the Brno Municipal Theatre and gaining a victory. We were mainly attracted with the directorial concept of the winning presentation promoting the play to the theatre in the theatre as well as of the compactness of the presentation.
The laughter festival
Magdalena Nová 1. December -1
On Sunday, the fourth year of the Laughter Festival finished. Both the jury and the dramatic advisor Jana Uherová are satisfied - the ABC theatre from Prague catapulted the Pardubice festival to the first league of theatre festivals. In the end, the winning play Stony Guest or Libertine presented by the Městské divadlo Brno and the comedy Three Times Life presented by the ABC Theatre competed in the last duel. “Finally, Brno was the winner: the presentation was brilliant. In a unique manner, the director Hana Burešová succeeded in linking an old comedy opera with her favourite genre commedie dell’arte,” Kříž explains adding that the jury also evaluated as positive the director’s idea to link both to a motif of a theatre in a theatre. “It was not possible not to appraise the cleverly observed motifs from a backstage,” admits Kříž. The opera presented by the Brno group also drew the attention of the theatre science students who were members of the student jury. “The Libertine presented by the Brno group was just as a perfectly tuned-up orchestra. Everything worked well, complied, nothing disturbed. The text of the play, which is a little obsolete, came to life in the hands of Hana Burešová,” are the words of Filip Jan Zvolský appraising the Brno theatre.