BITVA NA KOPCI / THE BATTLE ON A HILL

Ladislav Smoček

Cast: 2 men, 2 women

A small cast tragicomedy about relationships was originally written for radio and only later adapted for theatre. An afternoon on a hill where an important battle took place long time ago and that seems very pleasant at first serves the playwright as a background to a testimony to people’s intolerance and their inner emptiness. Constant fighting between the two men and their ironic verbal duels (it’s just their pure male vanity prompting them to dispute each other’s points of view) take place during a Sunday excursion of two Czech, probably marital, couples. In his play, Mr Smoček presents one of his frequent themes – people in the nature, and, first of all, the theme of people in an exacerbated situation and, through it, human egocentrism, vanity and egotism. Although the male protagonists in A Battle on a Hill are really overwhelmed by civilization as far as their outward self-presentation is concerned, in a moment of status conflict they will regress to the primeval times of civilization: they lose both ability to think rationally and to evaluate soberly the situation they are in. The intellect, ethics, morals and – surprisingly – self-preservation instinct are all gone. The victory goes to the atavistic desire to push oneself through, beat one’s rival, prove one’s power and strength – ironically that all of this happens against the background of a much stronger and powerful force that might be able to blow the rebellious worms off the face of this planet in a fraction of a second. False morals, striving to enforce one’s truth at any price, and false interpretation of dignity bring Smoček’s characters to the edge of annihilation. Because of their petty dispute, both Jarin and Olin are ready to sacrifice not only their own lives but also lives of two innocent human beings.

  The play is available also in English translation.


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