A situation comedy about happiness as the subject of scientific research. An apartment, numerous doors, a main character with dozens of disguises, a set design featuring elements from the 1960s, a dynamic tempo, loads of humour and brilliant actors. A great surprise for anyone who thought that Václav Havel’s plays were always serious, complicated and only accessible to intellectuals.
Eduard Huml is a man of science. A sociologist, he strives to define the concept of happiness and essential life values. He regularly dictates his theories to Blanca, the young stenographer he fancies. However, Dr Huml has a problem: he’s married and has a mistress. His wife, Vlasta, and alluring mistress, Renata, are aware of one another and both urging him to end this dysfunctional relationship. But which one?
Meanwhile, Dr Huml takes part in Dr Balcárková’s research, using a computer called Puzuk to explore human individuality and draw more general conclusions. A team of experts regularly gathers for this purpose at the Humls’ house, and each time the sensitive measuring device breaks down. The researchers are puzzled. Is it because the device can’t cope with the two-faced sociologist’s personal problems?
Václav Havel (1936–2011) wrote this comedy in 1968 for Prague’s Theatre on the Balustrade.Though the play evokes the technological innovation of time – computer intelligence – and takes an ironic approach to pseudo-scientific methods, the play’s central theme concerns the state of a man who loses any sense of time and place through mindless repetition and the refusal to find a true solution. Even worse, he drags himself into a cowardly existence.
About the company
The NTB Drama company is both a traditional and modern European ensemble with an important role in the Czech cultural scene. Its remarkable tradition dates back to the late 19th century and the height of the National Revival, when the first Czech-language theatres were established. Since then, it has hosted some of the leading lights of Czech and European theatre, such as Jiří Mahen, Emil František Burian, Jindřich Honzl, Miloš Hynšt, Alois Hajda, Bořivoj Srba, Ludvík Kundera, Zdenek Kaloč and Evald Schorm. Its theatrical productions of the 1960s became legendary for their Brechtian style of epic theatre. Today, NTB Drama has two valuable, historic buildings at its disposal – the Mahen Theatre and the Reduta Theatre – and offers an artistic response to contemporary topics, with an emphasis on craftsmanship and stylistic variety.