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2016 | 25/3 | 107-117

Article title

“Listen to many, speak to a few”: Eduard Vojan’s Hamlet on the First Czech Stage


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Hamlet has been frequently performed on the Czech stage, not only during the nineteenth century but also throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. From 1905 until the end of his career at the National Theatre in Prague, Hamlet was also the mainstay of Jaroslav Kvapil’s repertoire. The aim of this paper is to concentrate on four productions of Hamlet at the National theatre in Prague in 1905, 1915, 1916, and 1920. In order to illustrate the critical reception of these four productions, the paper draws upon a range of period theatre reviews and critical commentaries. It attempts to show how directorial and acting choices have shaped the play in performance, by focusing in particular on Eduard Vojan’s renditions of Hamlet, set in different national contexts. Vojan (1853–1920) was one of the greatest Czech actors and performers of Shakespearean protagonists, famous for his deep, almost Protean insight into his characters. His portrayal of Hamlet (1905) still represents one of the best Shakespearean renditions on the Czech stage. Vojan discovered and skilfully interpreted Hamlet’s complicated character. His Danish prince was a lonely, sarcastic, and nonconforming individual opposing the world’s pettiness.


  • University of West Bohemia


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