Cimrman English Theatre Presents New Play, Pub in the Glade
Jára Cimrman is a popular figure in the Czech Republic. So popular, in fact, that he was once voted ‘The Greatest Czech’ in a historic country-wide poll in 2005 - - despite being completely fictional (Cimrman was eventually disqualified, allowing King Charles IV to take the honors).
An adventurer, inventor, writer, philosopher, etc., of impossible genius, Jára Cimrman is said to have fixed Thomas Edison’s first light bulb, constructed the first airship with Count Zeppelin using Czech wicker, and even invented the internet. Among numerous other claims.
In reality, he’s the invention of writer Jiří Šebánek and acclaimed Czech actor Zdeněk Svěrák, among numerous other contributors; Ladislav Smoljak, who wrote & directed many Cimrman works, joined the creative team shortly after. After making his debut on radio, Cimrman soon transitioned to the theater, where Svěrák starred in plays that were credited to Cimrman himself.
In Prague, the Jára Cimrman Theatre has been presenting Cimrman’s plays for the past fifty years; the very first performance, Akt, took place at Malostranská beseda in October, 1967. The company had to move several times over the years due to pressure from the state, but since 1992 they’ve settled down in Žižkov at a theater that now bears their name on Štítný street.
Cimrman’s plays - which are amongst the most popular in Prague, selling out to this day - are, of course, presented in Czech. But since 2014, a local repertoire has been bringing Cimrman’s plays to a new audience with English-speaking performances.
Cimrman English Theatre first staged the 1994 play The Stand-In (Záskok) more than two years ago. I caught that debut performance, which was well-performed and enthusiastically received (Zdeněk Svěrák himself was among the audience); special mention must go to the adaptation itself, which managed to transcribe the comedic wordplay from Czech to English exceptionally well.
The Theatre even brought The Stand-In to the USA earlier this year, which marked the first time a Jára Cimrman play had been performed outside the Czech Republic.
Last year, Cimrman English Theatre put on a second English-language play, The Conquest of the North Pole, about a group of Czech ice swimmers who travel to the titular destination, which was also warmly received.
And later this month, Cimrman English Theatre will unveil their third English-language Cimrman play: Pub in the Glade, an adaptation of one of the most beloved Cimrman plays, which debuted in 1969. The story, involving the titular pub in a remote forest location, even involves Cimrman’s old friend, Count Zeppelin. The original play was co-written by Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak.
Pub in the Glade will premiere at the Jára Cimrman Theatre on Friday, October 27. More information and reservations can be made at the official website.
Cimrman English Theatre typically stages an English-language performance at the Jára Cimrman Theatre each month, so keep an eye out for future shows.
At the end of November, the Theatre will present another performance of The Conquest of the North Pole; that will be followed at the end of December by the encore show of Pub in the Glade.
Jára Cimrman can also be seen in film in the classic 1983 comedy Jára Cimrman ležící, spící (Jára Cimrman, Lying, Sleeping), which stars Svěrák as Cimrman and was directed by Ladislav Smoljak, who also directed many of the theater plays. The film is available locally on DVD with English subtitles.
Lead photo provided by Cimrman English Theatre