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2016 | 19 | 1 | 181-200

Article title

Strukturalistická stopa Olgy Srbové


Title variants

Structuralist Structuralist Footprint of Olga Srbová

Languages of publication



The name of Olga Srbová (16. 7. 1914–14. 4. 1987) has almost fallen into oblivion, as she stopped to use her maiden surname after she entered into marriage with actor Jaromír Spal, being known as Olga Spalová since then. Therefore, she is mostly known for her later, post-war engagement in radio; but the first stop in her career, and her life’s love, was theatre. Olga Srbová started her university studies in 1933, receiving Ph.D. degree from Czech and French Language and Literature at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in 1937 (dissertation: “The Characteristics of the new Czech historical novel”). Among her teachers were, according to her student’s record book, J. Mukařovský, A. Pražák, F. X. Šalda, M. Weingart, V. Tille and others. Firstly, she thought of devoting herself to theatre theory; while only a few theoretical studies can be found in the scope of her works, they nevertheless testify that Srbová mastered the methods of her teachers with skill and understanding: “The Character in New Drama” (Word and Verbal Art 3 (1937): 4: 221–226) contributes to the changes of the concept of a character in the contemporary theatre; in the “Authorial Stage Directions” (Life 15 (1937): 3–4: 98) she explores the influence of the contemporary stage practice on the nature of stage directions. As many others of her generation she admired the new media – film and radio; to the latter she devoted a booklet Radio and Verbal Art (Praha: Vyšehrad, 1941), even now valued as one of the most important works of the time. Until 1946 she wrote mostly theatre reviews, having started publishing in the renowned Students’ Journal in 1927. There she published her first poems and short stories, and in a short time (from 1930 on) also essays on theatre and theatre reviews. She published in other periodicals too (in more than 30 between 1931 and 1976), the height of her career as a critic being the cooperation with the daily newspaper Práce (after 1945). Being well versed in the whole of the contemporary theatre, both Czech and European one, she could comment with equal expertise on drama, stage speech, verse speaking, character building, direction, set design, actors training, and theatre theory. However, the most interested she was in actors’ work; the indisputable top of her attempts at portraying actor is the Theatre or the Book of Dreams (Praha: Odeon, 1975), the story of the actor’s career of Eduard Kohout.


  • Theatralia, redakce, Masarykova univerzita, Filozofická fakulta, Katedra divadelních studií, Arna Nováka 1, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic


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Publication order reference


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