ERBEN: DREAMS / Handa Gote Research & Development

performance length: 50 min
I fell asleep again. And there were strange pathways which, I heard someone say, lead to Mníšek, and a power of people of different kinds were running on the path across from me. And so H. and I joined them and on the path always three steps away from me I saw men standing there in strange attire holding long rods in their hands, and I heard certain words, like some kind of password, between one and the other being aw-
Karel Jaromír Erben

In this performance Handa Gote continues to explore European imaginative traditions and sources of inspiration closer to home. The group draws from a text by mid-19th Century Czech poet Karel Jaromír Erben, in which he described his dreams, as well as other Czech Romantic texts, though none of these are actually spoken in the performance.

The staging approach is influenced to some extent by Noh traditional Japanese theatre. Not by its aesthetic per se, but by its philosophy and procedures for dealing with the situation onstage: Noh philosophy works as a starting point for considering stillness, stylization and simplicity. Painter Paul Klee once described this kind of theatre as "moving statues".

Erben: Dreams is also inspired by folk theatre, folk traditions and amateur village theatre. Typical Central European carnival characters find themselves here in unusual contexts. Technology in the project is reduced to several essential elements: the microphone, mechanical phonograph, a simple projector with glass negatives. As in its earlier works but especially its most recent, Mutus Liber (2015), Handa Gote's focus is on "handiwork". Craftsmanship is the starting point, to which the groups returns frequently, developing it further. In addition to folkloric inspiration Handa Gote draws also from the surrealistic imagination in the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Handa Gote Research & Development is devoted to experiment with dramaturgy, the inclusion of non-theatre elements in its work and the development of its own concept of post-dramatic and post-spectacular theatre. For many years the group has taken inspiration from science and technology. The group conducts continuous research of theatrical language, laboratory work in the fields of sound and light design, all the while questioning these disciplines. (The group promotes the use of the terms visual dramaturgy and light dramaturgy over the term “design“.)

Group website:
Creative team: Švábová, Procházka, Smolík/Kropáček, Dörner/Hybler
Produced by:
Premiere: 8. 12. 2015, Alfred ve dvoře Theatre
Supported by: the City of Prague, Czech Ministry of Culture and Motus, producers of the Alfred ve dvoře Theatre.