David Drábek

Cast: 3 women, 3 men

Embryo čili Automobily východních Čech / Embryo or, Automobiles of East Bohemia


Drábek’s grotesque can be considered a kind of contribution towards the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU. It reflects the smallness and provinciality of the Czech Republic for which, in place of a lion, a better state symbol would be an old woman with a poodle. The eternal cycle alternating between blossom and fall, as we know it from the history of the Czech nation repeatedly swallowed up in and vomited out of the European space, cannot be played anywhere else but in the cage of a Czech sitting room where, entrenching themselves, are the prodigies (teenager Sidonia) and losers (Simple Simon), the ice-hockey fans (butcher Honza) and intellectuals (television magnate Kajetán), screwed-up featherbrains (Irena) and high-minded fine ladies (Kajetán’s wife Stella). The comic courtship of Irena and Honza in the first act, which is a muddle of typically Czech disparaging pub humour and themes of global civilisation from the incessant effervescent media massage, culminate in Kajetán’s wild attempt to clone modern man; but all he succeeds in bringing to life is an unviable embryo reproducing the drivel of mobile communication. And they would not be Czechs without candy floss or without fairy stories: when technology goes mad, time goes mad too and in the end people. In the continual muddle Sidonia, the hope and future of the nation, is transformed into a squirrel and Simple Simon with the wave of a magic wand turns wise. The play also goes under the title of Silicon Baby or, Autobus in the Underworld.

In Embryo Drábek demonstrates a panorama of a Post-Modern mass-media universe, in which various dependencies and cross-gender mutants originate. Their lives become a drama of alienation - and that in spite of the unrestrained black humour. (Nina Chovancová: V zajetí ujetosti, Divadelní noviny, 13.4.2004)

  The play is available in Czech original.