CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF Margaret and Brick, wife and husband, come to a family estate in the American South for a family gathering to celebrate the birthday of Brick’s father. The atmosphere is strained, something is hanging in the air and the storm is nowhere in sight. Everyone has a secret – or at least is not telling the whole truth. How do we deal with a failure to meet the ideals and expectations of others? What if we fail to fulfil our own goals? What if the old rules no longer work? What happens when the ground under our feet is hot, but we cannot move away? The Tennessee Williams’ play ranks among modern classics. He wrote the drama between 1953 and 1955 and it won him the Pulitzer Prize, among other awards. This is director Martin Čičvák’s second adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ works, the first being his production of The Glass Menagerie at the Aréna Theatre in Bratislava. In the context of the Drama Club, he follows on Ladislav Smoček’s adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire.
The new production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a piece of brilliant acting, which is something the Prague Drama Club reliably delivers. This is the second work of Tennessee Williams, the American master of psychological drama, on the repertoire of this small scene, along A Streetcar Named Desire in Ladislav Smoček’s excellent direction, premiered there more than ten years ago. Martin Čičvák, the director of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, chose the same actor, handsome Jan Hájek, for the lead role. This time he portrays the alcoholic Brick and is paired with the cheekily elegant Anna Fialová, who plays Brick’s wife Maggie.
– Kateřina Kykalová, aktuálně.cz
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is often perceived as a psychological drama, but this production borders on a nail-biting thriller where tensions boil and an unspoken danger lurks behind retorts, desires, outbursts of anger or apathy and resignation of the characters in this family drama.
– Jan Kolář, Divadelní noviny
MARTIN ČIČVÁK (1975) In 1998 he graduated in theatre direction from the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno. During his studies he prepared Strindberg’s Miss Julie and Genet’s The Maids with the students of the Dartington College of Arts. He staged his own play Frankie is O.K., Peggy is fine and the house is cool at Grace Theater London and afterwards at the Studio Marta, Norwich Playhouse, State Theatre in Košice (Slovakia) and the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad. He has worked as a director at the Half Past Seven Theatre in Brno, State Theatre in Košice, Slovak Chamber Theatre in Martin, National Theatre in Prague, National Theatre in Brno, and Slovenian National Theatre in Ljubljana. He was a visiting director at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava and currently works as a director at the Aréna Theatre in Bratislava. He is an in-house director of the Drama Club and further co-operates with the Vinohrady Theatre and the National Theatre in Brno.
DRAMA CLUB ‘The founders of the Drama Club, Ladislav Smoček and Jaroslav Vostrý, deliberately presented no grandiose programme or manifesto, not even upon the establishment of their theatre. All begun with a seemingly simple thesis Vostrý came up with based on his observations of theatre in his previous job as a theatre critic: Exploring the capabilities of an actor reveals the possibilities of a human being. The idea has proven so comprehensive that it can still be traced in all Drama Club’s productions – regardless of their success,’ wrote Jan Kolář on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of this scene. The theatre is headed by Vladimír Procházka, with Ladislav Smoček, Martin Čičvák and Ondřej Sokol serving as in-house directors. Ondřej Sokol was also the artistic head before being recently replaced by actor Martin Finger. Many outstanding Czech actors were or are members of the theatre’s ensemble, including Ivana Chýlková, Libuše Šafránková, Josef Abrhám, Petr Čepek, Jiří Hrzán, Jan Kačer, Jiří Kodet, Pavel Landovský, Petr Nárožný, Josef Somr, Ondřej Vetchý, and many others. The below-listed productions of the Drama Club were presented at the Divadlo international theatre festival: The Impresario from Smyrna (2005), The Playboy of the Western World and Ivanov (2008), The Blunder (2009), Leda (2010), A Streetcar Named Desire (2012), Before Sunset (2013), Betrayal (2014), and The Brothers Karamazov (2015).