Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandma is Celebrating Her Birthday Today!

Vít Peřina

Michaela Homolová

Robert Smolík

Filip Homola

Vít Peřina

Veronika Košvancová Khomová, Kristýna Trojanová, Filip Homola, Antonín Týmal

The performance is in Czech, with English surtitles

The production is intended for older kindergarten children (aged 5 years and up) and 1st to 3rd grade primary school pupils

Roman Dobeš
9 October 2021

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD’S GRANDMA IS CELEBRATING HER BIRTHDAY TODAY! The original puppet comedy by Vít Peřina for children and their accompanying adults is an original variation on the classic fairy tale. Wolves are returning to the Czech forests after a hundred years. The youngest male of the pack has been given his first mission to become respected in his new range. In the forest that day, a young forestry officer is preparing for his hunting exams. And on the same fateful day, a little girl – nicknamed Little Red Riding Hood after the red hooded cape she wears – walks through the forest alone, without her parents for the first time in her life. The three initiation journeys of the three characters (a young wolf, a future gamekeeper and a little girl) intersect in a crazy finale in the middle of the forest – in a cottage where Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother is celebrating her birthday. The production was prepared by the team led by director Michaela Homolová, who has created a number of other successful productions for the whole family (e.g. Budulínek, The Ram That Fell from the Sky and Shhh. Shhh. Hooo. Woof!).

The new version of Little Red Riding Hood is stylistically related to the highly successful Budulínek, which was created by the same team. Here, too, are expressive marionettes that immediately catch the eye, not to mention the fact that they keep their secrets until the end. In general, the whole production is extremely refreshing, and moreover, it manages to combine the playfulness that appeals to a children’s audience with humour and hyperbole for the adults.
– JANA MACHALICKÁ, Lidové noviny

The show – like many other productions at the Naive Theatre – turns into a Grotesque at multiple points throughout, sometimes bordering on dark comedy with elements of wild street ‘Punch Comedy’ shows. There’s a lot more devouring than usual involved, just as the final deliverance is (a bit) different. (...) The cast tease each other and also improvise to build on random situations, like when a prop wanders off or behaves in an unpredictable way. We are watching a neighbourhood theatre of sorts where the audience feels welcome as friends and guests. The formula of traditional domestic puppet shows combined with a distinct, and in this case ‘woodlander’ or even ‘tramping’ aesthetic, comes to the fore.
– VLADIMÍR HULEC, Divadelní noviny

MICHAELA HOMOLOVÁ (1972) A director and actress. She studied directing and dramaturgy at the DAMU Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre in Prague, graduating in 1995 with the production Around the World in Eighty Days in the Small Theatre in České Budějovice. Since 1996 she has worked with the Prešov theatre Babadlo, and in 1999 she started to work as an actress and director at the Naive Theatre in Liberec. The first plays that she directed there include The Tinder Box, Slapstick and …another Bedřich. Since 2005 she has regularly worked with the author (and dramaturge) Vít Peřina, and their productions for children and youth have won a number of festival awards (for example Alphabet Soup, The Magic Porridge Pot, Roast Doves, or Sayings, Budulínek, The Ram That Fell from the Sky and others). In 2014 the production of The Ram That Fell from the Sky was nominated for Best Production of the Year in the prestigious Theatre Critics’ Survey. For the production Shhh. Shhh. Hooo. Woof! she received the Divadelní noviny Award, the Mateřinka Festival Award and an Erik Award.

NAIVE THEATRE LIBEREC The theatre was founded in 1949 as one of the first professional puppet theatres in the former Czechoslovakia. Its history is connected with the names of director and actor Jan Schmid (who founded the Ypsilon Studio there in 1963, which then moved to Prague in the 1970s), director Markéta Schartová and playwright Iva Peřinová. From the early 1990s its managing director was Stanislav Doubrava; since 2021 Kateřina Pavlů and Michaela Homolová act as its managing director and artistic head, respectively. The theatre’s most critically acclaimed plays include The Handsome Fire Chief or Fire in the National Theatre (2005), directed by Tomáš Dvořák. Its author, Iva Peřinová, was nominated among other things for an anniversary Alfréd Radok Award. The play was filmed by Czech Television, and the company also performed it repeatedly on the stage of the National Theatre’s historic building. Five years later the same creative team produced a puppet interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet Swan Lake (2009). Another area of long-term success has been the theatre’s work for small children, created by director Michaela Homolová and author and dramaturge Vít Peřina. Their production of Budulínek (2012) won an award for the best Czech puppet theatre production of the year. A further production by the team, The Ram That Fell from the Sky (2014), met with similar acclaim. The company’s further successes include the ‘magical’ productions Bohemia is by the Sea (2016), There are Places the Dark Likes, Where Never and Nothing Hide on Islands Remote (2017) and Shhh. Shhh. Hooo. Woof! (2019), and The Cabinet of Miracles, or Orbis Pictus (2020). All these productions – especially The Ram, universally understandable in language terms – were successful not just at the Divadlo festival, but were invited to a number of prestigious Czech and foreign theatre festivals. The Naive Theatre is a regular guest at these festivals, undertaking numerous journeys not only to most European countries, but also to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US, Canada, Mexico, India, Israel, Korea and Pakistan. In June 2021 the 26th year of the Mateřinka International Festival of Professional Puppet Theatres took place. It is held in Liberec every two years and is organised by the Naive Theatre.