PORTA APOSTOLORUM

Miroslav Bambušek

Cast: 2 women, 7 men

Second prize in the Alfréd Radok Foundation’s Award for best Czech play 2004.

 
A small post-war evening party in a small frontier town, a small evening reckoning with a respected German family. A cruel, terrible play about things everyone would prefer to know nothing about. Fritz is celebrating his birthday, and his fellow-pupils come to the celebration: Mr. Starosta, having returned from a concentration camp, the police representative and other inhabitants of the frontier town of Postellberg. Fritz's mother Maria serves them horseflesh and they all look forward to the electric current coming on and being able to listen to the gramophone. The war has ended, but wrongs and hate remain in their hearts. Who is involved in the conspiracy against Fritz's German family? Who came to celebrate and who to carry out the terrible act of retaliation? Bambušek's heart-rending Sudeten-German story is acted out on three basic time levels which are connected to each other, run parallel, or interpenetrate without the author noticeably distinguishing between them. He thus shapes a terrifying symphony of voices of those who went through the purging of the war years, and shows how difficult is the return to normal life. Post-modern tendencies in the text show themselves through collaged quotations - beginning with Lenin's biography, through the Czech 1980s children's magazine Pionýr, to Patrik Ouředník's successful book Europeana published in 2001. The author replaces the stage directions by today's popular emotion indicators - "smilies". All these things create the terrifying but simultaneously grotesque atmosphere of Bambušek's play. Miroslav Bambušek's Porta Apostolorum came second in the 2004 Alfréd Radok Awards.

  The play is available also in German translation.


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