This stimulating compilation of essays and images reveals an essential and valuable component of Czech contributions to the world of modern theatre heretofore largely unseen outside the country itself. Featuring the craft of twenty-seven of the best stage and costume designers of the twentieth century, Joe Brandesky supplies ample evidence of their consistently high quality and dynamic creativity, survival skills for a people whose national identity had been dismantled during many years of occupation and repression.

Essays by Vera Ptacková, Dennis Christilles, Delbert Unruh and Marie Zdenková their full texts restored and reedited for this volume since their initial publication in exhibit catalogs, provide historical and linguistic insights into contemporary Czech scenography as well as comparisons to the major art movements affecting the designers. Brandesky's informative introductory essay contextualizes the shifting tenets of Czech theatre design. Also included are biographies of the designers, a bibliography, and thirty black-and-white photographs.

The accompanying CD provides access to the vibrant and sophisticated images of the Czech theatrical world: 138 richly colorful paintings and drawings of costumes, models, and set designs and in situ photos of exhibited designs plus 27 color and black-and-white photos of the designers. The CD also includes the full text of the book with links to all the art and to the designers' biographies. Book and CD together showcase the Czech Republic as a center of international stage design.

"Czech Theatre Design in the Twentieth Century will be highly inspiring to anyone who enjoys theatre at its most imaginative, a theatre where generations of scenic artists discovered a world in which not only can the actor live the role, but where the space comes alive as is if in a strange, grotesque dream."—Theatre Design & Technology
"Czech Theatre Design in the Twentieth Century is a delight for the eye and an adventure for the mind. Brandesky traces the sources of Czech stage design to the most diverse aspects of the country's history, culture, and material being. The well-chosen images illustrating the work of major designers, paired with explanatory texts, contribute to our appreciation of the brilliance of Czech stage design and to our understanding of the central position that theatre has always occupied in Czech culture as a bulwark of national values and traditions."—Daniel Gerould, Lucille Lortel Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature, City University of New York Graduate Center



Sources of the Czech Design Legacy by Joseph Brandesky

Trends in Twentieth-Century Czech Theatre Design by Vera Ptachkova

Czech Scenography in America by Dennis P. Christilles

Modernism to Imagism by Delbert Unruh

Authority, Playfulness, Metaphor, and Irony by Marie Zdenkova

Biographies of Designers by Helena Albertova and Josephy Brandesky

List of CD Images

Selected Bibliography

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Publication Details

Publication Date
Pages, art, trim size
118 pages, 30 photos, CD, 6 x 9 inches