A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON In October 2018, The Old Vic, London, announced a forthcoming premiere of Lucy Prebble’s play A Very Expensive Poison, a stage adaptation of the eponymous non-fiction book by Luke Harding and an explosive play about the radioactive murder of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. The opening night of the play directed by John Crowley took place at The Old Vic on 5 September 2019. In 2020, A Very Expensive Poison was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Play and won the Critics Circle Award for Best New Play and Best New Production of a Play at the Broadway World Awards.
Lucy Prebble (1981) is a British playwright, journalist and a scriptwriter. She was nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award for her Enron, a play about the collapse of the energy giant. Her play The Effect about a clinical trial brought her even greater acclaim. The Pilsen theatre is only the second stage in the Czech Republic to present A Very Expensive Poison, after the Švanda Theatre, where the play was directed by Thomas Zielinski.
The case begins to unravel during the detectives’ investigation, aided by Litvinenko himself. Yet, the play is more than just a simple retrospective as the author inventively intertwines different timelines. The actors break through the fourth wall, communicate directly with the audience and comment on the situations on stage, hence creating an alienating but also uplifting effect. The two main characters, Alexander Litvinenko (played by Vladimír Pokorný) and his wife Marina Litvinenko (Zuzana Ščerbová), give a civil and focused performance. Scenes from their everyday lives preceding the fateful event are interspersed with explanatory passages intended for the audience or the pair of detectives. The investigators (played by Libor Stach and Marek Mikulášek) are reminiscent of the clichéd detective duos seen in the cinema, with one brighter and the other one a bit confused.
– MICHAELA SVOBODOVÁ, art.ceskatelevize.cz
ADAM DOLEŽAL (1985) He studied theatre directing at JAMU in Brno under prof. Alois Hajda. As a guest director, he first collaborated with BURANTEATR during his studies, and later with several theatres throughout the Czech Republic – Zlín, Šumperk, Most, Pardubice, Pilsen, Kladno, Mladá Boleslav, Prague and Příbram. Besides directing, he also translates plays by authors such as Scott Z. Burns and Martin Crimp into Czech. He leads directing workshops for amateur theatre-makers and often sits on juries for non-professional theatre competitions. Currently, he is an in-house director of the DJKT Pilsen Drama Company.
J. K. TYL THEATRE The theatre consists of four artistic companies that produce about 500 shows a year, including drama, opera, operetta, musical and ballet productions. The theatre aims for a varied and genre-balanced repertoire, including new Czech and foreign plays. With over a century-long history of creative work, as well as many other activities, the theatre ranks among the leading art institutions in the West Bohemian region and beyond. Actress Apolena Veldová is currently the head of the DJKT Drama Company.