FRANK V.

FRANK V.

  • Genre Drama
  • Stage Drama Theatre
  • Premiere10. September 2016
  • Length2:45 hod.
  • Number of reprises25
  • Final performance1. February 2018

a comedy about a private bank with music by Paul Burkhard

This “gangster opera about friendship for life and for nothing, and for life as it is”, as the author himself characterized his work, is one of several masterpieces (alongside The Visit and The Physicists) by a modern Swiss playwright whose opinion was that if art is supposed to express an opinion on the state of the world, only the genre of comedy is suitable for portraying the present day. Dürrenmatt depicts, with great irony and exaggeration, the practices and morals of a private financial institution. Frank´s V. bank is an idiosyncratic company. Their customers never see the money they deposit again in their lives. The bank also scrupulously steers clear of doing even one single bit of honest business. The cheating and stealing go on continuously and there are even murders, but there is also a lot of singing – for example about goodness, good manners, dreams and future happiness. This “ship” full of “pirates” is sinking slowly, however, and it can only be saved by a captain who employs the most modern and effective methods. But...

The author says: “Frank V. is about the weak rule of one director over a private bank, about his death and the way his son takes over the company. It is a story about a group of people who run the private bank on gangsterly lines. It’s a method which has been passed down from the good old days, but somewhat forcibly, and the evil is perpetuated: crooked fathers produce crooked sons.”

Sometimes, someone pipes up and claims that people like those Dürrenmatt shows in Frank V. simply don´t exist. The author, as a watcher of people as well as himself, wasn´t so sure. He admitted: “Of course, my private bank is a work of fiction,” but added simultaneously: “Just like Frank´s employees, we all want goodness, happy children, a family house; we want to be decent. Let´s be careful not to just sing about goodness, like them.”

Author

  • Friedrich Dürrenmatt

Directed by

Assistant director

Translation

  • Jiří Stach

Costumes

  • Zuzana Štefunková-Rusínová

Dramaturgist

Stage

  • Tomáš Rusín

Music

  • Paul Burkhard

Accompaniment

Hudební úprava a nastudování

  • Karel Cón

Dramaturgical cooperation

  • Jiří Záviš

Světelný design

  • David Kachlíř

Movement coordination

  • Martin Pacek

Poster

  • Jef Kratochvil, Tino Kratochvil, Petr Hloušek

Frank V.

Richard Egli

Emil Böckmann

Pauli Neukomm

Gaston Schmalz

Theo Kappeler

Lukas Häberlin

Ernst Schlumpf/ Farář

Apollonia Streuliová

Piaget/ Prezident

Herbert/ Heini

Franziska/ Ošetřovatelka

Guillaume

Číšník

Klávesy

THE FESTIVAL OPENED WITH A GANGSTER BANK ON THE VERGE OF BANKRUPCY

Lukáš Dubský 25. January 2017 zdroj Pardubický deník

Director Hana Burešová regularly takes part in the Grand Festival of Laughter. This year, Brno City Theatre opened the theatre comedy festival with Frank V. Frank´s bank is a family business with many years of tradition. The family’s ancestors got rich from slaves, wars, drugs and petroleum. However, under Frank V’s rule, the gangster bank is on the verge of bankruptcy. The employees are active but are ever fewer in number. The best way to save them is to make the bank go bankrupt as (of course) each of them has private accounts with a few million in there that they’ve stolen from the company during years of “faithful” service. Age hasn´t harmed this play by Durrenmatt in any way; the cynical view of the world has merely become deeper in recent years. Anyway, the microcosm of the banking institution was just a springboard for the author to convey a general message about a society that’s in thrall to money and where good is something unachievable that belongs only in fairy tales. (...)  It isn´t very easy to stage Durrenmatt’s plays. They work perfectly on paper, being full of sharp irony and interesting ideas. However, it is beyond the powers of many theatre ensembles to transfer his texts to the stage. Fortunately, director Hana Burešová chose quite a clever approach to the matter, together with Brno City Theatre’s actors. They avoided staging the play realistically, preferring to create grotesque combinations of the different elements. In fact, a realistic interpretation wouldn´t even have been appropriate, as Dürrenmatt himself has written estranging effects into the script in the form of Paul Burkhard’s songs. Jan Mazák doesn´t make a demonic impression in the central role of Frank, as all of his unpleasant duties are dealt with by his wife Ottilie, performed with precision by Alena Antalová. In reality, the initiator behind the ugly colossus of institutionalized evil is the HR manager Egli, who was played by Igor Ondříček with cool detachment. Päuli Neukomm is a newcomer in this gangster organization. Michal Isteník makes him seem innocent at the beginning, but appearances are deceptive. The young man soon shows that he can swiftly learn the rules that will allow him to survive in this strange world.  (...)

 

 

THE BIGGER RASCALS ARE COMING

Lukáš Dubský 24. October 2016 zdroj www.i-divadlo.cz

(…) Frank’s bank is a family firm with many years of tradition. His ancestors got rich on slaves, wars, drugs and oil. However, after many years of Frank V. in charge this gangster bank is on the edge of bankruptcy. The employees are trying to deal with it, but there are fewer and fewer of them. The best way to save the situation is actually to make it go bankrupt – after all, everyone has a couple of million that they saved during years of “faithful” service locked away in private accounts. (…) Director Hana Burešová and the actors at the Brno theatre have taken a pretty decent approach to the work. Everything is grotesquely disjointed, with the directors successfully avoiding the trap of putting on a realistic interpretation of the play. That wouldn’t be appropriate – Dürrenmatt himself included distancing elements in his work by adding songs by Paul Burkhard and providing a commentary on the play’s events in the form of verses which are meant to be displayed on the proscenium. (…) Jan Mazák was in no way demonic in the role of Frank. Maybe that’s because all of the unpleasant duties are taken care of for him by his wife Ottilie, played with great precision by Alena Antalová. (…) The main force behind the foul colossus of institutionalised evil is actually the personnel boss, Egli, played with cold restraint by Igor Ondříček. Pauli Neukomm (Michal Isteník) is a newcomer to the crooked operation, and he seems as innocent as a lamb, but this impression soon turns out to be false. The young man is well able to swiftly learn the rules that will allow his survival in this strange world. (…)

 

DÜRRENMATT ENTERTAINS BRNO

Ivan Žáček 20. September 2016 zdroj Divadelní noviny

(…) Hana Burešová and Štěpán Otčenášek have brought Frank V. to the Brno stage as the third part of a loose trilogy of works (Thomas Bernhard – The Force of Habit and Martin Walser – Mr Krott Almighty). (…) The contemporary parallels are sharp even without the producers’ efforts. The works are all the more impactful for not having been done to death – and here it can be said that the directors really got it right.  (…) Burešová’s method is organically in step with the spirit of the script, just as it was with Walser’s piece. Both plays serve up a bitterly grotesque portrait of aging monsters, one a financial manager who simply refuses to die, the other a weak boss for whom the inheritance of a company is more punishment than boon. They are like synecdoches of the entirety of capitalist society, and both the costumes and the style of acting are appropriate to this. (…) The multi-level set is framed by typical artefacts of bank architecture, two noble statues, with the right Atlas towering over three musicians led by Karel Cón. Mr Cón has adapted and shortened Burkhard’s music, which in this version simply takes the form of songs that give a witty commentary on what’s going on. One of the best scenes occurs after a stormy rock number, but the directors have created a play glittering with many more amusing ideas. (…) Jan Mazák seems to really love playing Frank, though Alena Antalová seems to be going a little against the grain as his wife. She’s just getting into the role, though she manages to do parodic exaggeration very well – she casts herself upon the ground as if playing Médea in an ancient Greek tragedy. Ladislav Kolář also puts in a good performance as Böckmann, as does Igor Ondříček as Egli. Generally speaking, this bizarre documentary on the subject of human misery was a more than exceptional way to start the season. (…)

 

FRANK V.

Luboš Mareček 20. September 2016 zdroj ČRo3 Vltava

(…) The director takes great care to subtly present every possible aspect of the values expounded by the author, who has filled the work with heavy irony and often even gallows humour. It is also a painstaking demonstration of epic theatre, with live music provided by an on-stage trio of musicians and the titles of the individual chapters of the play being displayed above the stage. (…)The production is coherent in all its aspects, including the creative artistic side. The scenographer, Tomáš Rusín, has made witty use of Brno realia in his stage set. The structure that houses Frank V’s bank seems very solid on the outside, though it is basically made up of a staircase with an elevated podium whose sides are apparently supported or borne by two Atlases, copies of two statues from the well-known Brno cake shop U čtyř Mamlasů on Svoboda Square. This is another source of irony, as everything seems so majestic and serious on the outside, while inside the bank theft and the cheating of clients are the order of the day, and the cellar even hosts a series of murders. Add to this the costumes by Zuzana Štefunková-Rusínová, who dresses the main couple in some kind of posh banker’s fashion while employing theatrical “silliness” with the other characters, examples of which include a certain factory owner that sports a gun print jacket, and a lady hotelier turned out in a dreadful business suit. It should also be mentioned just how great Karel Cón’s adaptation of Paul Burkhard’s music is - he also performs it live on stage. (…) Jan Mazák is an incredibly interesting figure in Burešová’s production, a caring crook that sometimes moves you almost to tears before you realise that you’ve been tricked just like all the people up on stage. (…) Alena Antalová is also superb as his wife, whose performance borders on the hyperreal in certain tense moments. It’s really impossible to name everyone, but it must be said that the whole production is exceptional in the degree of ensemble collaboration on show. (…) Burešová has created a highly successful production that reveals and brings over to audiences the rough magic of the author’s humour and theatrical art. With regard to the fact that Dürrenmatt isn’t a particularly regular guest at our country’s theatres, this is a highly welcome development for both theatregoers and the arts in general.

 

FRANK V., BANKER PAR EXCELLENCE

Vratislav Mlčoch 19. September 2016 zdroj www.babocka.vram.cz

(…) The performances of all of the leading actors were highly above average. Alena Antalová has a role that seems straight out of an ancient tragedy - half of you believes in her character, and half wonders if it’s not some kind of parody. Igor Ondříček and Michal Isteník excel in a similar vein, and Jan Mazák’s Frank V. is a character that only just holds back from entering the realms of the burlesque. Hana Burešová has done a great job as the director, just like she always does, actually. (…)

 

FRANK V – A GROTESQUE BLACKER-THAN-BLACK COMEDY THAT PONDERS THE STATE OF THE WORLD

Kateřina Šebelová 16. September 2016 zdroj www.epochtimes.cz

Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt wrote himself into the theatrical history books as an uncompromising critic of society’s ills. The director, Hana Burešová, chose to open the theatre season for Brno City Theatre with one of his most famous plays, Frank V. (…) In genre terms, Frank V. is something between a grotesque and a comedy with elements of tragedy and cruelty expressed on the level of folk and even high-brow intellectual theatre. (…) The set was created by Tomáš Rusín. It is dominated by an extensive staircase with two giant statues reminiscent of two Brno artefacts of the sculptor’s trade known locally to all as “Mamlasové” (“The Lummoxes”). The scenery conjures up the cold atmosphere of what is both a bank and a gangster’s den, a place which at first sight seems stable and dependable. However, the attentive observer will not fail to notice the apocalyptic symbolism of the statues, which though massive are only supporting the whole system through sheer strength of will. The excellent actors are supplemented by their costumes, which take us among some very distinctive individuals that, while villains of the lowest order, nevertheless serve up their swindles and thievery with the highest noblesse and refinement. (…) The production takes the lid off rampant capitalism and the world of people for whom nothing is an obstacle. Hana Burešová’s creative team have chosen a timeless theme and let Dürrenmatt’s uncompromising worldview act as the central axis of the production while counting on Hana Burešová’s favourite actors to deliver once again. (…)

 

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