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The Owners of the Keys

Milan Kundera’s play The Owners of the Keys is set during World War II. It is the story of a family, who, in the interests of their own safety, refuse to help a woman from the illegal resistance movement. The difficult decision-making process is presented through dreams and visions. The director Krejča wrote the following comment regarding how they would be visually represented: “Something will be shining into one vanishing point.” He did not mean a vanishing point of a painted set or stage architecture, but rather a vanishing point in dramatic space, as the symbol of the one vanish point of human life – death. Even in his design, Svoboda painted a point of light in the middle of the stage, and the photographs of this production are evidence that Svoboda was also able to realise this from the technical perspective.

Milan Kundera
The National Theatre Prague
premiere: 29. 4. 1962
director: Otomar Krejča
costume designer: Jindřiška Hirschová

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