Umělecká beseda na Malé Straně
In January 1927 the Liberated Theatre moved to a new address, at the Umělecká Beseda in Malá Strana. Here it was also under the leadership of the Alumni Association of the Czechoslovak Department in the The French Lycées. In May 1927 the premiere of one of the most famous plays of the Liberated Theatre, Vest Pocket Revue, took place featuring the first appearance of the authorial duo of Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich.
“Vest Pocket Revue“ was in effect a semi-amateur performance featuring home-made props and masks. The performance brought in almost the whole of Prague‘s intellectual and artistic crème de la crème. V+W (as Voskovec and Werich were known), clowns with white powdered faces, were inspired by the renowned Fratellini circus dynasty. The performance was partly according to a script and part improvisation. They took to task traditional way of theatrical creation, the behaviour of bourgeois society and much else besides.
Prague was being presented with something quite unprecedented. The theatre’s central characters very soon became the authorial duo V+W and their verbal clowning, carnival tradition, central-European cabaret performing, authors‘ commentaries, absurd humour, modern poetry, political invective and political satire.
Along with the directing duo of Frejka and Honzl, Voskovec and Werich directed the plays themselves and often even designed the stage sets. A whole range of well-known Czech artistic figures participated in the scenography: Adolf Hoffmeister, Štyrský and Toyen, František Zelenka, Bedřich Feuerstein, František Muzika, Vítězslav Nezval.
In September 1928 the Liberated Theatre moved from the hall in Malá Strana to Hotel Adria in Wenceslas Square.
This guided walk is a part of the "Democracy on the Brink. Historical lessons from the late 1930s" project supported by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union.
Foto: Adam Fjury