Aristophanes’s Entry onto the Contemporary Czech Stage between the Wars and during World War II
Since the end of the Second World War, well over eighty performances of Aristophanes's plays have been staged, meaning that ancient Greek comedy has become a permanent part of the Czech theatrical repertory. Over the course of more than eighty years, Aristophanes's plays have been staged almost every year, with four performances in different locations in the Republic being unexceptional. Lysistrata alone has been performed at least forty-five times since the end of the war, a figure comparable with performances of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. In the interwar period and during the Second World War the name of Aristophanes was associated with many directorial personalities, among whom Karel Capek and Jiri Frejka excelled, together with significant artists like Josef Capek and Antonin Heythum. Aristophanes comedy in translation by Ferdinand Stiebitz became the new novel material and a source of opportunities for the emerging generation of Czech avant-garde theatre; moreover, the stage performances on several occasions served as a pacifist manifesto (Frejka, Podhorsky) in difficult times of impending fascism.
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