DINING CAR The set: a dining car of a train on the Prague – Hamburg route. White tablecloths are lit with spherical lamps. The headwaiter Peterka rushes down the aisle and serves draft beer. A party lasting from early morning, petty dreams of the lonely passengers, and accidental love affairs. The announced delay is subject to change! An original production in the rhythm of a train timetable.
The Drama Studio’s grotesque production in the spirit of Hrabal’s poetics reveals the secrets of the dining car of a train on the route from Prague to Ústí nad Labem. Ruled over by headwaiter Jan Plouhar, joined by stewardesses, the conductress and technicians, the dining car accommodates peculiar figures – an actor of the Drama Studio, losers, workers and philosophers, foreigners and lovers of various gender configurations. They order a cappuccino, beer, wine, a sausage or a steak. And they start chatting. They fight, argue, swear, tell stories, confess. They read, fall in love, pass each other, keep silent. The seventy-five minute journey is over in the blink of an eye and many members of the audience – or fellow travellers – are sad to have to get off. A perfectly captured atmosphere against the backdrop of a projected landscape passing by, a theatrical reflection of local myths and stories (in the sense of the Prague – Ústí local train) presented in refined dramatic miniatures by the skilled ensemble, which – together with the director – shows a balanced sense of polished form, actor’s exhibition, jokes, seriousness and distance, theme and gag.
– Sukces měsíce, Divadelní noviny
The production grips and entertains the audience from the first moment, thanks both to the authentic acting and to the form – a series of episodes in which the guests of all sorts come to the dining car to experience pleasant, unwanted, enriching or dangerous encounters.
– PAVEL TUREK, Respekt
DAVID ŠIKTANC (1987) He studied directing at DAMU. He made his directorial debut at the Drama Studio in Ústí with hamlet is dead. no gravity by Ewald Palmetshofer, for which he received the 2011 Mark Ravenhill Award (Best Production of a New Play in a Czech Theatre). In April 2017, he staged the drama Homo Faber there with Martin Finger in the lead role, who was nominated for Best Male Actor in the Thalia Awards, the Theatre Critics’ Survey and the Divadelní noviny Awards for his performance. Homo Faber was also presented at the Divadlo festival. He directed a stage adaptation of the novel Pornografia by Witold Gombrowicz and the comedy Mr Kolpert by David Gieselmann in Ústí. Since 2019, Šiktanc has been the artistic director of the Drama Studio, where he prepared, for example, a stage adaptation of the novel The Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse, a féerie Palaverers based on the eponymous novel by Bohumil Hrabal, and Ibsen’s Heda Gabler. In the past, he collaborated with the Švanda Theatre, Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, East Bohemian Theatre in Pardubice, Vinohrady Theatre, Palmovka Theatre and Aréna Chamber Theatre in Ostrava.
DRAMA STUDIO IN ÚSTÍ NAD LABEM It has long been recognised as a progressive Czech scene. The theatre was founded in 1972 and its first managing director, Jaroslav Chundela, sought collaboration with leading theatre artists, especially those who had been banned from the stage by the communist regime after the violent suppression of the Prague Spring, such as Jan Grossman, Evald Schorm and Jan Kačer. The dramaturge, translator and later actor Leoš Suchařípa also worked there. Director Ivan Rajmont became the head of the theatre in 1975, and many actors who would later become stars of the Czech theatre performed on its stage, such as Jiří Bartoška, Karel Heřmánek, Pavel Zedníček, Marie Spurná, Tomáš Töpfer and others. The development in the Drama Studio after 1989 was just as dynamic; among the many creators, we should mention at least Jiří Pokorný, whose dramas, representing the Czech version of the ‘in-yer-face theatre’, were staged at the Drama Studio in Ústí in world premiere (Dad Shoots Goals, Rest in Peace). The theatre has had a turbulent period marked by changes in the ensemble and management, as well as disputes with the municipal authority in 2014 and it had to temporarily relocate to another address. The theatre has never strayed from the focus on serious dramaturgy and (mostly successful) stage adaptations of inspiring texts. David Šiktanc is the current artistic director of the theatre.