Contacts and Comparisons in History and Culture
Edited By Gerald Power and Ondrej Pilny
Ondřej Pilný Irish Drama in the Czech Lands, c. 1900-2013
Ondřej Pilný Irish Drama in the Czech Lands, c. 1900–2013 Works by Irish authors have enjoyed prominence in Czech theatres ever since the nascence of modern Irish drama in the last decade of the nine- teenth century. Yet the pattern of what was performed in the Czech Lands, and when, matches canonical status in Ireland only in part, since the Czech production history has been shaped not so much by the success of a par- ticular play in Dublin, but rather by the fact that the work would have been presented to acclaim in London, in Germany, or occasionally in Paris. Moreover, the arrival of a number of Irish plays at Czech stages was deter- mined by the interest of a translator, director or dramaturge quite inde- pendently of its staging history in Ireland; often, it was mere chance that occasioned a popular Czech production, without the play necessarily being regarded as a major work in the context of Irish theatre. Similarly to other parts of Europe, the two playwrights to have enjoyed by far the greatest reputation in the Czech Lands were Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, particularly in the first half of the twentieth cen- tury. However, both authors were frequently referred to as English, and it was only rarely that their Irish origins were discussed or even mentioned.1 Wilde was first championed by Czech Decadents: in 1895, a debate ensued 1 This comment refers primarily to the coverage of individual works in the press,...
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