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When the theatre hall is transformed into a gallery where the viewers choose what they want to see.

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Archa Theatre will present a Czech theatre installation with 12 women of different professions in English.

Prague’s Archa Theatre will offer a completely new experience of attending a theatre performance. Its new original production Those Who Speak for Themselves will transform the theatre hall into a huge gallery, whose exhibits will be the authentic life stories of twelve women. It will then be up to the audience to decide whether to experience all the stories or only some parts, or in what order they will see the stories. The English-language premiere of the play is scheduled for Sunday, August 22.

“The viewer enters a space that resembles a gallery installation. The authentic stories of twelve women intertwine in the production, including Iva, who works in a framing shop, Lucie, a sculpture student, Eliška, who bakes fresh croissants daily in a French bakery, Lara, a DAMU student originally from Catalonia, Spain, and Martina, who farms with her daughter in a house near Prague,” says the director, Jana Svobodová.

According to her, the audience can easily find their way around the non-traditional theatre unit at the very beginning of the production, which introduces the visitors to the space. Other individual

blocks will take place simultaneously in different locations in four identical cycles. The audience can thus decide what they want to focus on.

And will the visitors see and hear everything? “We are never sure of that in our lives. Let your sensory interest guide you. In the end, the only story will be yours,” says Svobodová, who says that one of the valuable things about the play is that the performers are not actors, they are not playing roles, and they are acting for themselves. “The stories intertwine, the persons meet unexpectedly. It’s like when you’re walking down the street, you’re thinking about something, someone passes by, and you catch their line. And it folds into a new story,” she adds.

All the performers auditioned. “In response to our open call, which said that for the new project we were looking for participants with an interest in documentary theatre and a willingness to share their personal stories, 90 participants applied, of whom we invited 30 to an interview and subsequent workshops. That there would be 12 women in the project was not the original intention. The men dropped out, the women stayed. It just happened,” adds Romana Sekáčová, the assistant director.

An important part of the director Jana Svobodová’s unique theatre installation is the music by Michal Nejtek.

The performance will be followed by a debate with the creators and protagonists of the show.

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