I´m Still Alive With a Coatrack, a Cap, and a Signal Disc
I’M STILL ALIVE WITH A COAT RACK, A CAP, AND A SIGNAL DISC /STILL-LIFE WITH BLUE ANGELS (JEŠTĚ ŽIJU S VĚŠÁKEM, ČEPICÍ A PLÁCAČKOU)
translated from Czech by Alex Zucker
3 women, 10 men
In his play the author connects in an original manner with the best Czech tradition of tender and absurd humour as we find it in the prose works of Bohumil Hrabal or the films of Miloš Forman. The centre of his interest is the staff of one railway station in the backwoods of East Bohemia. A railway community consisting of the stationmaster, the train dispatchers, the shunters, the inspector, the signal operator, the cleaner, the cashier and also, of course, the landlord of the local pub give something of the impression in today's global world of an exotic tribe of Indians from the depths of the Amazonian jungles. They speak their own language, they pair off only among themselves, but within their tribe they experience exciting daily mini-stories, tales to tell in the future over beer and cards. The author offers us several in his play, and at first unnoticeably, but then strikingly he links them together with the tale of the inspector who is lurking secretly in the station pub to catch some culprits – lovers of beer during working hours – in the act. He himself, however, succumbs to temptation and his secret mission ends in a grotesque tragedy. This text reflects serious matters; one might almost say existential matters, with subtle playfulness and humour. It is witty, amusing and has a peculiar bitter tone springing from the perfect description of the banalities of everyday life.
It is actually a static conversation piece, in which the action passes very slowly. Everything essential takes place at the level of the language used, exactly observed from railway-workers’ slang; the entire course of events is reflected from the banality of the everyday situations. (Vladimír Hulec: česká komedie teď žije s nádražáky, Mladá fronta Dnes, 2. 5. 2003)
On the one hand a feeling for the authenticity of the surroundings and the verbally playful poetic, on the other an ability for the exact stylisation of the actor’s performance breathes a deserved comic life into a play with a relaxed structure. (Richard Erml: René Levínský: Ještě žiju s vešákem, čepicí a plácačkou, Reflex, 24. 4. 2003)