Roman Sikora (1970). Contemporary Czech playwright and journalist who graduated from the Theatre Faculty at Janáček’s Academy of Performance Art (JAMU) in Brno. He had several occupations, for example, in Třinec Ironworks or as a night receptionist at the Municipal Theatre in Brno. As a theatre critic, he also cooperated with Literární noviny and Lidové noviny, Czech Radio 3 Vltava and World and Theatre Magazine. He was also the head of the cultural section of the online journal Deník Referendum. He currently lives in Prague and makes a living as a freelance playwright.
He is the author of a series of politically-cultural essays, short-forms that he describes as “dramatic nonsense” genres, as well as theatre plays, some of which have been featured on both domestic and foreign stages. In 1998, he won the second prize in the Alfred Radok Foundation Award for the Best Czech Play for his Annihiliation of Antigone. The play Confessions of a Masochist, which originated in the residential program at the Centre for Contemporary Drama organised by Theatre LETÍ, was translated into a number of foreign languages and staged in Poland, Switzerland, Germany, France, Brazil and Russia. In 2017, he won the first prize in the Talking about Borders competition, announced by the State Theatre in Nuremberg, for his play Palace by the Loire.
Sikora is often characterized as an angry playwright. His opposition to totalitarian tendencies of the market system and the ideology of prosperity and the embracement of technology builds on the bursting power of the words he often uses in provocative, surreal and unusual combinations. In recent plays, he often uses a specific, neuro-fragmented language full of repetitions, incomplete sentences, and grammatical inversions.
PALACE BY THE LOIRE / ZÁMEK NA LOIŘE
A new Lady moves into one of the palaces by the Loire. She is the wife of a minister and oligarch from the Czech Republic who decided to hide her from public because she was already humiliating him back home. Most of the time, she is drunk on the bed or bullying the servant, the former castle manager André, the Czech theatre-specialist and interpreter Jean-Luc and the new chef Alfred, who is unable to understand how anyone can eat and drink what she likes to eat and drinks, while his French specialties they are being thrown at him in a rage when he flees the chambers in confusion. The residence is also shared by an invisible personal bodyguard, Boris, an Afghan veteran, whose main task is to keep the billionaire mistress inside the palace.
The Lady is supposedly an interior designer, so her task is to properly innovate the interior of the palace. Historic furniture ends in garbage and is replaced with a practical inventory from IKEA and maybe a huge pool will soon be built in the palace’s gardens too. The residence has to be en vogue. Everyone is happy with their work, only Jean-Luc is sorry that he has a lower salary than his French colleagues, André gives the cook a tour of the remaining historical premises of the residence, Alfréd, after tasting Lady’s favourite wine, gracefully falls into deep unconsciousness and another night of hell with the Lady can begin. In all servility and contempt.
CONFESSION OF A MASOCHIST / ZPOVĚĎ MASOCHISTY
Cast: 1 woman, 3 men (can be modified)
Mr. M is a very complicated person. He doesn’t care about ephemeral and unreachable things like satisfaction, happiness and self-fulfillment – things that everybody else wants. He wants to suffer, and not only under the whip of his girlfriend or his boyfriend. He is looking for pain in the broadest sense of the word. The last parliamentary election brought him a prospect of the world full of the joys he is longing for.
He doesn’t care about human rights. At work, he is happy when he is bullied by his boss and when he has to work extra hard for a salary that is extremely low. He doesn’t want anyone to defend his rights. He supports the government in restricting employees’ rights and to transfer most of the public services into the private sector. When he gets social welfare, he calls for its abolition. When he works, he calls for longer working hours and lower pay. When he votes, he calls for restriction of the right to vote for people like him: the losers and the lazy ones.
He is a man who wants to suffer and it looks like his brighter days are finally to come. He went to the ballot with enormous joy but his life didn’t turn out exactly the way he wanted. When he defeats a Chinese contester at the Olympics of Human Resources, he receives public honors and Miroslav Kalousek invites him into the club. But that is not what Mr. M. wanted.
The play was written during a temporary residency project of the Centre for Contemporary Drama, Theatre Letí and Švandovo Theatre in Smíchov. The play has been in the form of a staged reading successfully performed at Theatre Ouvert in Paris and within the frame of Theatertreffen: Neue Dramatik aus Europa in Berlin.
The play is available also in English, French, German, Slovenian and Russian translation.