Is there still room for icons in our cynical world?
A witty, original, dark comedy by Czech enfant terrible Petr Kolečko combining realism and physical theatre, live action and multi-media. Prague, 2011. Champion poker player Jana travels the world in style. But behind her success lie dark secrets. Her past infatuation with Václav Havel. Her father’s letters from Africa. Her troubled relationship with her daughter Pavlína… On the eve Havel’s funeral, when she returns from Tokyo to find Pavlína in the company of Viktor, a young man with political ambitions of his own, an embarrassing family dinner turns into a dangerous game escalating first in sex, then in violence and, eventually, in farce. Is Pavlína President Havel’s daughter? What is Viktor really after?
Becka McFadden’s direction embraces the Kolecko’s ambiguity and absurdism to create a world in which nothing is what it seems. Characters bluff and double bluff, even objects can’t be trusted: paper garlands become sushi, guns become bananas, and sex is an comic dance.
Petr Kolečko is one of the most successful Czech screenwriters and playkoleckowrights of his generation. By the age of 22 he had his first play, Britney Goes to Heaven, produced at the Petr Bezruč Theatre in Ostrava, translated into English and Polish, and presented as a staged reading at the Immigrants’ Theatre Project in New York. In 2008, he took part in the Royal Court’s international playwrights’ residence. He had a particularly successful seven-year stint as the artistic director of Prague’s A Studio Rubín, devoted entirely to contemporary Czech theatre. His plays have been staged by major theatres in the Czech Republic, and translated into English, French, Spanish, German, Romanian, Polish and Slovak. For TV, he wrote the critically-acclaimed sitcom The Fourth Star (Čtvrtá hvězda). Two of his plays, Icing (Zakázané uvolnění) and Fifty (Padesátka) have been adapted as feature films.
Poker Face was written in 2012 as part of Generation Icons, a European project exploring cultural identity and generational change. The main coordinator was Divadlo LETÍ, in Prague, and the co-organizers were GUnaGU Theatre, Bratislava, Slovakia Wiener Worstaetten, Vienna, Austria, the Arts and Theatre Institute, Prague, Czech Republic and the HaDivadlo Theatre Brno, Czech Republic. The project blended three countries, three generations of authors, three original plays, and three directors for a direct confrontation between individual nationalities, generations and cultural contexts. The texts generated during the process, although different in form, all reflected the current social-political and economic environment. Poker Face and the Slovak Kill Hill ™, by Villam Klimáček were about money, games and the disillusionment which ensued the arrival of the capitalism in Eastern Europe. iPlay by Bernard Studler was a collage where poetry, humour, and politics blended. LegalAliens became involved in Generation Icons in 2013 when it was asked by Divadlo LETÍ to be their UK partner,
Poker Face premiered at the KINGS HEAD THEATRE, London, in October 2016. 2017 dates including Trieste TACT Festival, Voila! Europe and Milan’s PACTA Salone
Lara Parmiani, Mark Ota, Daiva Domynika. Special guest Arnost Goldflam.
★★★★★ Raw edged and relevant (London Pub Theatres)
★★★★ Confident theatrical imagination (A Younger Theatre)
★★★★ Very funny and sophisticated (West End Wilma)