“To Chinese people this story is something like Babička (Grandmother) or Prodaná nevěsta (the Bartered Bride) to Czech people,” explained Martin Kříž, one of the people involved in the emergence of a relatively new theatre group Chinorodí, (playing on the Czech adjective činorodý, meaning vigorous or energetic), which focuses on Chinese theatre. Martin attended the University of Economics in Prague, taking Chinese Studies along with Translating and Interpreting. He now teaches Chinese at University. Together with Bára Jelínková, who has been acting in all kinds of theatre group since her childhood and also organises a children’s theatre group, he set up a group which soon gained other enthusiastic members. With regular all-weekend rehearsals from January of this year they managed to learn the play. It is to the credit of Czech amateur groups (although in this case “Czech” is not entirely true) that they come up to the standard of professional groups. In the case of Chinorodí this applies twofold. The play does not lack dynamism, flow or professional performance. The group is comprised of Czech students of Chinese Studies, but also has Chinese members, one member from Japan and one Czech with African roots. (www.cinskedivadlo.cz)
The premiere at Horní Počernice theatre attracted many people, both supporters and those who were simply curious, and they could certainly have had no regrets as the theatre group gave a fine performance. The sound of Chinese on stage was also surprising. “The director chose this approach in an effort to create an atmosphere of time and locality, like sketching in,” explained Martin Kříž. Otherwise, the interest shown in the performance was a pleasant surprise for the entire group. “We are happy that, thanks to this, people in the Czech Republic will not see China as the “Yellow Peril”, but as a country with a distinctive culture. We are glad that we have at least been able to bring it a little closer to the Czech audience. The success of the premiere has also given us a greater appetite for work. Otherwise, we don’t yet know when the next performance will be, but we will let people know in due course through our website. By the way, if anyone is interested in putting on our play, whether in a Prague theatre or outside the city, we would certainly be happy to travel beyond Horní Počernice.” said Martin Kříž.