KOULE / THE SHOT
Cast: 10 men, 7 women (variable)
Plays written for radio broadcasting usually do not cause scandals. However, Drabek’s play Koule had attracted attention even before it was broadcast and started a media quarrel. This is because it deals with quite recent events that Czech people have not been able to face yet.
The legend of Czechoslovak athletics, Mrs Milena, comes to a radio studio to wish “a nice aftnoon” to the listeners, those “amazing cute people” and tell them her life story. The play is a fictional portrait of an old Czechoslovak athlete Milena who has sacrificed her life to her love to sport: the state forced her to take dope, stole her privacy, chose her friends, decided about her participation at competitions abroad and her chance to start a family. It is not that important, who or what these facts may refer to. Firstly Drabek’s play is not meant literally, secondly one has to perceive it as a whole to fully understand it. Milena’s confession is presented as a radio interview with extracts situated in the regular broadcasting.
The play is mocking the radio routine, kitschy programmes, and inferiority complexes of their creators, people calling to the radio, nostalgic feelings about socialism and wordy speeches. This picture of society is really not very flattering. Milena is rather a tragicomic character. Drabek presents her as a victim, who is unable to realize her part of guilt, as well as a human being who feels need to help other people.
In 2012 Drabek wrote a similarly successful theatre version of this play.
The play is available in Czech original.