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Czech Theater return after the pandemic lockdowns with a new production, of Jiří Pokorný’s dark and menacing comedy, “Dad Takes a Shot”. Photo credit: Danny Aboud.

Brno, Oct 7 (BD) – Take a shot (idiom): to fire a gun, to propel a ball toward a goal; to take a shot +at: to try to hit, to make a hurtful remark, to attempt to do something successfully; to take a shot +of: to drink hard alcohol. All of these happen in “Dad Takes a Shot” (this play is not suitable for young audiences, in case that’s not obvious). Czech Theater, z.s. is excited to be taking a shot – a second shot – at this play.

In September 2020, in the eye of the pandemic, Czech Theater finished the final performance of Karel Čapek’s marvelous “Makropulos Secret” and held auditions for its next play, “Dad Takes a Shot” by Jiří Pokorný (translated by David Short). The actors had completed four rehearsals when the coronavirus numbers climbed to a point where the government again closed down theaters; continuing was impossible.

Czech Theater is a multicultural theater; some of the actors returned to their home countries. It is an amateur theater; when one hobby was taken away, some actors took up other hobbies. When they were finally able to meet in person again to rehearse, half of the crew was gone. In September 2021, Czech Theater held auditions again.

An epidemic of violence (Jenda kills Slavek). Credit: Danny Aboud.

According to Anne Johnson, one of Czech Theater’s founders, “As sad as it was to lose some actors, it has been a pleasure to welcome new faces and restart the process of putting on a show, live and in person.” Czech Theater is a community theater; making it possible for the people of Brno to come together and enjoy a Czech play in English is one of its main purposes.

“Dad Takes a Shot” was written by Jiří Pokorný and is dedicated to Brno’s famous HaDivadlo director Jan Antonín Pitínský. It won the Alfred Radok prize in 1997. Czech Theater is using the translation by David Short (though some slang vocabulary was changed from Short’s choice of UK English to make it accessible to the audience, many of whom do not speak English as their first language). The play’s language – rough, crude, poetic – is one of its appeals, and this poetry comes through in the performance.

“Miss… miss?” Photo credit: Danny Aboud.

The play is not as well known as some plays Czech Theater has done, but it is recognizably Czech in tone. It starts as a naturalistic story of a group of drunks at a nonstop pub and then escalates violently into a pitch-dark comedy.

Performances will be at Music Lab on October 30 and 31 and November 6 and 7. The venue is small and we recommend purchasing tickets online through smsticket, as shows are often sold out in advance. Proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for Covid will be required for entrance.

A shot of rum. Photo credit: Danny Aboud.

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