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Pictures from the Insects’ Life

Svoboda’s first production at the National Theatre was a staging of Pictures from the Insects’ Lives by the Brothers Čapek. For this allegory of human life, director Jindřich Honzl chose the positive variation of the ending: the Tramp awakens from a bad dream and energetically strides forward into a new life. Svoboda’s scenography for this “bad dream” was engaging and surrealistically playful, with situational humour based on the contrasts between the artificial and the natural, between the human and the insect – dreamlike dragonflies with aeroplane propellers, flowers with whimsical ladies’ hats, bird-filled trees representing pipes and chimneys. The stage floor did not serve as only the tolerated foundation for the sets, but it was an equal staging element. Dynamic elevations were formed by intensely colourful segments of stage platforms. The designs carry the signature style of a masterful painter.

Karel a Josef Čapkové: PICTURES FROM THE INSECTS´LIFE / ZE ŽIVOTA HMYZU
The National Theatre Prague
premiere: 21. 11. 1946
director: Jindřich Honzl
costume designer: Josef Svoboda

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