David Drábek

David Drábek (1970). The playwright and stage director, David Drábek, graduated from film and theatre studies at the Philosophical Faculty of Palacky University in Olomouc. During his university studies he founded (together with Darek Král) the Hořící žifara (Burning Giraffe) theatre studio that specialized in the genre of modern cabaret. From 1996 to 2001 he worked as a playwright at the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc. Between 2001 – 2003, he was in charge of the newly created alternative stage, Hořící dům (Burning House). In 1995 he received the Alfréd Radok Foundation Award for the Best Play of the Year for the text of Jana from the Park and in 2003 he received the same award for the text Aquabelles that later won the 2005 Best Czech Play of the Year Award. His play The Coast of Bohemia Square that ranked second in the 2007 Alfréd Radok Awards play competition and became the Czech Play of the Year in the 2009 Alfréd Radok Awards. Chocolate House became the 2011 Czech Play of the Year. In 2003, Větrné mlýny published a collection of seven of his plays, in 2011 Kosmas Publishing House released a set of ten newest author’s plays entitled To Shake the Czech Pork Jowl.

David Drábek is one of the most cited and transcribed playwrights, as a stage director, he is one of the creators with an unmistakable imagination.

As an author, stage director and playwright, he worked with a number of Czech theatres, including the National Theatre and the Vinohrady Theatre and in 2005-2007 he was the full-time director of the Minor Theatre. From 2009 to June 2017 he was the artistic director of the Klicpera Theatre in Hradec Králové. Together with Daniel Přibyl and Michal Dočekal, he won a tender for the management of the Municipal Theatres of Prague (from 2018).

David Drábek is one of the most famous Czech theatre artists. His plays significantly criticise man whose humanity has dissolved in media and consumer reality. For his harsh reflections, he chooses the means of hyperbole, supported by inventive imagination that results in a seemingly bizarre plait, in which both conceivable and ‘unthinkable’ characters come together with those who have existing archetypes. His most acclaimed play is Aquabelles, a testimony of the impossibility of authentic life due to the commercialization and social medialisation, however it can also be understood as the author’s contribution to the issue of male identity in a globalized world ‚without borders‘.

The award-winning ‚play of immobility‘, The Coast of Bohemia (2007) addresses the crisis of aging married couple by an imaginary abduction of the tram by their son.

In contrast to the burlesque story, the play deals with death as a moment of stereotyped, emptied, or otherwise stagnant survival. The main cause of ‚being dead alive‘ is the lack of communication that prevents man from aligning himself with himself and finding the right values. (L. Jungmannová)

David Drabek (1970) is an author and director in one, with a lushly developed fantasy vision. His heroes are getting older with him. There is obvious the deformation of reality according to the subjective view of heroes and their efforts to solve the crisis of young and middle age. He shows the hopes and disappointment belonging to different ages and to various social categories. His style is characterized by grotesque hyperbole, references to pop-culture and personal and general history. (J. Soprová)


Author: David Drábek
Translation from Czech: Tihana Hamović
Cover design: Dina Radoman