The world premiere of the puppet musical fairy tale The Bald Princess at the University Hospital in Motola

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On Saturday, April 6, 2024, the world premiere of the puppet fairy tale will take place in the premises of the Ronald McDonald House on the grounds of the Faculty Hospital in Motola Bald princess, which freely processes the music of Terezin author Lena Stein-Schneider. The performance was created as part of the Musica non grata project, a co-production of the National Theater and the Puppets in the Hospital association with the financial support of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Czech Republic. The world premiere is exclusively intended for pediatric patients of the Oncology Department of the Faculty Hospital in Motola.

On the creation of the show Bald princess a young author team participates in the composition Matyáš Míka (concept, script and direction), Markéta Labusová (music) a Iva Šcerbáková (scenography). The story became the springboard for the creation of this musical puppet fairy tale Goldilocks (in the original Die Goldhärchen) German author Lena Stein-Schneider (1874–1958), who was interned in the Terezín ghetto in 1942–1945. “I was attracted by the character of the main character – a likable, sassy rebel who is not afraid to step out of the captive conventions that determine her position. However, while the original fairy tale ends in a lesson about gentleness and obedience, the path of our fairy tale leads in a different direction. Our heroine undertakes a long rescue journey for love, during which – without losing any of her courage and openness – she learns to be sensitive to others and is convinced that just because she is a princess, the world does not lie at her feet. I took this direction in the story because I believe that the ability to see the consequences of one’s actions and the risks of arrogance and humiliation resonate more clearly today than the theme of obedience. In terms of the senses, we completely leave the author’s original text,” he says Matyáš Míka.

Creators and performers: (from left) Alžběta Nováková, Kryštof Míka, Markéta Labusová,
Matyáš Míka and Iva Ščerbáková.

The main emphasis on the legacy of Lena Stein-Schneider, who became famous before the Second World War as an author of operettas, popular and film music, has moved from the textual to the musical component Bald princesses. “The vast majority of the musical entries work with motifs from Lena’s original songs, which, however, I modernized with instrumentation, freshened up with new rhythms and adapted them to the genre in such a way that, from the point of view of today’s children, they more clearly communicate the nature and mood of the individual characters. Lena’s title song remained in its original version Ich tu ja doch was mir gefällt (I only do what I want), which we determined as the musical symbol of the main character Goldilocks,” the musical concept approximates Bald princesses composer Markéta Labusová.

Considering the mobility of the performance, the actors work with playbacks that they control themselves. Markéta Labusová combines the sound of analog instruments, which she uses in the moments when Goldilocks enters the dangerous world, with the sound of the piano as a reminder of the fact that Lena Stein-Schneider was an excellent pianist, and the sound of the violin that accompanies the title song.

The performance is mainly intended for children from 4 to 8 years of age and is designed to be presented in schools, kindergartens, at theater festivals of creation for children and as part of the offer of educational programs of the National Theater ND+. The organization promises an extraordinary audience for the project Puppets in the hospital, which, as a co-production partner, will regularly bring the production to children’s patients in hospitals and clinics. The specific needs of this audience group also influenced the dramaturgy of the production and the way the material was processed. “For new productions, we think not only of a certain age group, but also of children with specific diagnoses or needs. If the performance opens up space for communication about topics such as difference or how important it is not to give up on the long journey that leads to the goal, we know that together with the story we bring more than just a momentary reaction from the illness experienced. Productions with such ambition include Bald princess. This extraordinary project once again advances the quality of our offer in places where professional theater cannot otherwise reach,” he adds Jakub Matějkaproducer of Puppets in the Hospital.

The partners of the world premiere are Ronald McDonald Housewhich was created to support families of seriously ill children, and University Hospital in Motola. A show thanks to its deliberately chosen name Bald princess thus it acquires another symbolic dimension. “We believe that artistic creation has the power to heal and bring joy, especially to children who are going through a difficult healing process. Cooperation with the Musica non grata project, the National Theater and other partners allows us to provide our young patients not only with care, but also with cultural experiences that can enrich their stay in the hospital,” he says M.Sc. Jana Nováková, MBA, deputy for nursing care at the University Hospital in Motola. “Performances for our young patients are played here regularly and the children always look forward to them. It’s wonderful to see them laugh and forget, at least for a moment, where and why they are. In addition to free accommodation, we also try to bring joy and well-being to the families of seriously ill children and support them in difficult times. That is why we are very happy that we can host the world premiere of this charming fairy tale from the hands of a young generation of creators and that our paths cross again not only with the Puppets in the Hospital, with whom we collaborate regularly, but also recently with the National Theater and the Musica non grata project.” supplies Lucia KubištováHouse Manager of the Ronald McDonald House.

Bald princess. Graphic author: Iva Ščerbáková

“On behalf of the National Theater Opera and the State Opera, I am very happy that the Musica non grata project devoted part of its efforts to children as well, and that even after the weekend of 5-7 April, when this four-year cycle of the National Theater will finally close, a performance that has the potential to carry its legacy for many more years will remain here. At the same time, I am pleased that as part of our dramaturgical series Women in music we recall the personality of the practically forgotten author Lena Stein-Schneider, who, like many other artists, paid the price for her Jewish origin by being persecuted by the Nazi regime, and her music and pre-war achievements thus remained forgotten for a long time,” concludes the artistic director of the National Theater Opera and the State Opera By Boy Hansen.

Bald Princess, performance workshop. Photo: Václav Hodina

Fairytale Bald princess it was also translated into German and it is planned to be introduced in German-speaking countries in the future. In addition to the performance, the project also includes a music workshop.

Bald princess

Concept, script, direction: Matyáš Míka et al.
Music: Lena Stein-Schneider (1874–1958) a Markéta Labusová
Scenography: Iva Šcerbáková
They play and sing: Alžběta Nováková and Kryštof Míka
German translation: Johannes Mohl

The article is in Czech

Tags: world premiere puppet musical fairy tale Bald Princess University Hospital Motola

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