Czech Women Playwrights of the Transition: Exploring New Directions

In this paper I will focus on the plays of the Czech playwrights Daniela Fischerová and Lenka Lagronová, with the goal of exploring the directions these playwrights are taking since the revolution in 1989. Plays discussed will include Fischerová’s post-89 plays The Message Table, Sudden Misfortune and The Lights Are Playing a Game, and Lagronová’s play The Antelope.

Fischerová is most well-known for her play Between Dog and Wolf, produced in 1979, which explored issues of artistic freedom in a repressive society. According to Fischerová, since 1989 her work is more concerned with “simple human fate: life without political prejudiced.” While this may be true, her plays are hardly simple or uniform in their approach. The Message Table concerns collaborators guilt, Sudden Misfortune focuses on mythical characters and “issues of human compassion in the face of extreme hardship,” and The Lights Are Playing a Game is described as being a “cosmic drama.”

Lenka Lagronová is a younger playwright who has emerged only since the revolution. Her most well known play so far is The Antelope, a deeply personal play concerning a girl’s relationship with her ill mother. Lagronová’s play is described as being “unmistakably feminine.”

Through interviews with the playwrights, as well as analysis of their plays, I will seek to discover the similarities and differences between these two playwrights, and general trends in playwriting since 1989. Are generational issues apparent? What does it mean to be a woman playwright in post-89 Czech Republic? Do the playwrights share an interest in similar themes? Is there a common writing style to the plays since the revolution? These are some of the questions my research will address.