Drama The National Theatre

My Heart Beats to the Rhythm of Swing

Jiří Traxler, Martin Vačkář, Ondřej Havelka

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Stage director: Ondřej Havelka
Sets: Martin Černý
Costumes: Kateřina Štefková
Music: Jiří Traxler
Choreography: Jana Hanušová
Dramaturgy: Daria Ullrichová

In 1980, Sixty-Eight Publishers, formed and run by the Czech expatriate writer Josef Škvorecký and his wife Zdena Salivarová, issued in Toronto Jiří Traxler’s memoirs Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just a Musician and in 2008 a follow-up, Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just a (Retired) Musician. The books give an account of the clash between the free spirit of jazz/swing and two totalitarian regimes, a testimony to the unequal struggle between human liberal-mindedness expressed by music and the tendency to fetter people and take control of their minds and deeds.

In his adaptation, Ondřej Havelka focuses on the turning point, the period between Nazism and Communism. The production takes the form of a revue, embracing the theme not only by means of spoken word but also music and song. The extraordinary project depicts the turbulent history of Czechoslovakia from an original angle of vision and in a highly original manner.

Previews: 25 and 26 June 2015 at the National Theatre

World premiere: September 2015