JEEPS Only the rich are not ashamed to complain about their poverty. Some people get a jeep as part of a baby kit, others will never save enough to buy one. Fortunately, a new inheritance reform brings hope to all the unfortunates whose family circumstances have left them with nothing. Now, anyone who buys a ticket in the state lottery can inherit. If luck is on their side, that is... A theatrical mockumentary about certain tragic events in a Munich employment office that went unnoticed by the general public because of the Champions League final. A Kafkaesque vision of contemporary society where a middle-class man loses one of the last opportunities to acquire a house – his inheritance. Letí Theatre prepared a stage production of the new comedy by German playwright Nora Abdel-Maksoud, nominated for the Best Drama of 2022 at the Mülheim Theatre Festival, just one year after its world premiere at the Kammerspiele in Munich. The ‘old stars team’ of the Letí Theatre reunites after a long time at the Vila Štvanice Theatre to anger and cheer up the audiences in whatever proportion they like.
The new stage adaptation of Nora Abdel-Maksoud’s play Jeeps directed by Martina Schlegelová for the Letí Theatre is brisk and built on a rapid sequence of punchlines. The satirical grotesque, taking place at a labour office, keeps the vigorous rhythm and excitement for the full hour and a half, enhanced by a quartet of perfectly synchronised actors. (…) The production runs at a swift pace, with the director mastering a series of punchlines and interspersing them with past and current plot twists heading – through many turns and ever more absurd details – towards the dramatic ending. (...) Jeeps is a satirical comedy that reflects the absurdities of our times but also brings up some new ideas on the matter. In this case, the elementary message is that reforms cannot improve anything unless people change their way of thinking.
– JANA MACHALICKÁ, Lidové noviny
Jeeps is a fine and pure drama building on the mise-en-scene, actor’s performances, verbal humour and unrelenting commitment. The play raises a pertinent social issue. Rather than proposing a critical view, the authors invite the audience to reflect on the matter for themselves.
– ANETA KALUSOVÁ, ČT ART
MARTINA SCHLEGELOVÁ (1981) She studied dramaturgy and drama direction at DAMU in Prague. Already as a student, she found interest in contemporary drama and independent theatre, which led her to become the artistic director of the Letí Theatre, an independent Prague scene focusing on new plays, in 2006. She prepared over fifteen productions for the Letí Theatre, most notably Pool (No Water), Terminus, Confessions of a Masochist and Olga (Horror Stories from Hrádeček). She was also engaged in the international project Against Progress. Against Love. Against Democracy, organised by the Letí Theatre in collaboration with the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art and the CAMPQ immersive project. She also had a go at directing in regional theatres, including the Klicpera Theatre in Hradec Králové, Slovácko Theatre in Uherské Hradiště, HaDivadlo in Brno, J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen and F.X. Šalda Theatre in Liberec. She taught at the DAMU Department of Theory and Criticism for eleven years, where she also received her PhD. She occasionally translates plays from English, especially by contemporary British authors. In 2013, she started directing radio productions and she was employed as an in-house director at Czech Radio for four years. She directed several productions for the South Bohemian Theatre, including Hangmen by Martin McDonagh, Elites and The Fellowship of Owners by Jiří Havelka and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht. In February 2018, she was appointed as the artistic director of the South Bohemian Theatre, and in 2024, she will take up the position of the theatre’s new managing director.
LETÍ THEATRE One of the oldest Czech independent theatres, founded in 2005, focuses solely on contemporary drama, especially by European playwrights. All plays are presented in world or Czech premieres. As part of its artist residency programme, Letí often commissions new plays from both Czech and foreign authors, such as Anna Saavedra: Olga (Horror Stories from Hrádeček), which was named the Best Czech Play of 2016; Roman Sikora: Confessions of a Masochist, Petr Kolečko: Poker Face, Marie Nováková, David Košťák, Joan Yago and Claudia Cedó: CAMPQ, Bernhard Studlar: iPlay, etc. The theatre has no permanent ensemble or uniform directorial approach, but rather searches for not-yet-staged innovative texts that open socially relevant topics. In its productions, the theatre further explores the possible ways of staging contemporary plays, for example using the elements of site specific or immersive theatre (projects: ‘Letí na Letišti’ at the V. Havel Airport in Prague, Against Progress, Against Love, Against Democracy at DOX Contemporary Art Centre, and CAMPQ – an immersive installation on the Štvanice Island in Prague for the 2019 Prague Quadriennale). Many of its projects are thus created at venues outside theatre buildings. The collaborating directors of Letí include, in addition to its artistic director Martina Schlegelová, also Marián Amsler, Adam Svozil and Daniela Špinar. In September 2015, Letí found its home stage at Vila Štvanice. Letí is a member of the Czech Association of Independent Theatres and the Fabulamundi European network.