2 M, 2 F
A tragicomedy about losing illusions about the Velvet Revolution, about losing illusions about today’s world, and about the fact that many people nowadays put all their eggs in one basket.
The story is set in two alternating timelines. The first one takes place just before the revolution (1988) and immediately afterwards, at the time of the general euphoria caused by the democratic changes; the second one is set before the 2011 Christmas during the time of general moral crisis and right after the death of Václav Havel symbolizing the end of post-November 1989 illusions of the Truth and Love. In the pre-revolution timeline we follow, in short flashback scenes, the fate of Franta, both bitter and comical: he is critically ill with cancer, plays the Czech national card game of Mariáš (Matrimony) and works at the oil wells somewhere in Africa – just moments before his death he would rebuke his daughter Jana for not being able to play his favourite card game which has far reaching consequences for her future life.
A year passes. During the Revolution days, Jana had slept with one or the other of the dissidents in a pub during a power shortage and now she has no idea with whom she’s expecting her baby, her future daughter Pavlína. Jana becomes a solitary, ironic and bitter poker player, and, as a consequence, a millionaire. Twenty two years later, the ironic and sarcastic poker master player returns home from a poker tournament. She surprises her daughter Pavlína with a lover, Viktor, an idealist who believes in the revival of the society through the means of establishing a new political party, with a programme of mandatory support for the employment of young people. But he lacks money and so the sharp and practical Jana is only laughing at his ideals as well as Viktor himself. On the other hand, she offers Viktor two million Euros, but Viktor, disgusted by her cynicism, declines her money.
Nevertheless, next day Viktor returns. He would like to sleep with Jana who fascinates him – but this time the couple is surprised by Pavlína. At first, Viktor tries to claim it all was just a test of Jana’s affection for her daughter (after all, Jana did feel ashamed in front of Pavlína). But a moment later, Viktor surprisingly pulls out a revolver and demands from Jana an enormous sum of money from her winnings that – as he knows – she keeps in her house in gold. Is he really an idealist, or is he bluffing as much as Jana and is in fact just an ordinary, common thief? And is Jana really as devoid of feelings and as cold as she displays in her behaviour to him and to her own daughter, conceived accidentally all these years ago – and maybe even by the future President? It transpires Jana is mainly a better player and from the
game of the posturing she emerges as a victor. Devastated and depressed, Pavlína in the end reconciles herself with her mother and starts to learn how to play poker from her.
The play opened in September 2012 at the Gunagu Theatre in Bratislava in Slovak translation. The play originated in the framework of the international project by the Centre for Contemporary Drama Theatre Letí Generation Icons, as a part of the EU Culture 2007 – 2013 Programme.
Translations: English, German, Romanian.
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