Czech Republic: Local theater company stages German play about brutal neo-Nazi murder
The Činoherák Ústí theater club is producing a play entitled "The Kick" by Andres Veiel and Gesine Schmidt, based on the true story of the brutal murder of a 16-year-old boy in the East German village of Potzlow. The ensemble will hold a preview performance at the Činoherní studio (Drama Studio) in the Střekov quarter on Friday.
"The Kick" is the opening play in the ensemble's "Three Forms of Freedom" cycle. Činoherák Ústí is the first ensemble ever to produce "The Kick" in the Czech Republic.
The story of 16-year-old Marius occurred in 2002. The youth had traveled to the village of Potzlow on an outing.
He was last seen drinking with friends before disappearing. His body was found four months later.
Three boys his same age who were right-wing extremists were subsequently charged with his homicide. They committed the brutal murder because they thought he looked Jewish.
"We've had our eye on this piece for a while. At a time when part of the Islamic population of Europe is radicalizing and right-wing radicalism is gaining popularity by opposing them, I think this is very topical," dramaturg Vladimír Čepek told the Czech News Agency.
Marta Vítů will perform the main role of the mother of the two assailants. The brutal murderers will be played by Václav Hanzl and Jan Plouhar.
According to director Michal Skočovský, the play has been in production for nine months. "It's been complicated. The original text came together as a collection of testimonies and we had to shape those documentary texts into dramatic form. It took a long time," he said.
The director considers the play a reflection of society. "In the media we are hearing about xenophobia every single day, and this text is essentially a reflection of contemporary society. It's an expression of humility toward existence itself," he said.
The play will preview on Friday and premiere on Monday, 19 January. The group will be performing once again in a building in the Střekov quarter of Ústí nad Labem.
The original Činoherní divadlo (Dramatic Theater Company) left the premises last spring after disagreements with the former municipal leadership over financing. The ensemble then established the Činoherák Ústí theater club.
The club's home stage is in the building of the former Hraničář cinema. The performance in Střekov has been commissioned for the time being by the Činoherní studio, which receives funding from the city.
The group will be paid roughly CZK 75 000 per performance. They requested a subsidy of CZK 12 million last year from the Ústí nad Labem City Hall, and councilors are apparently supposed to review the request during their February session.
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