Brno, May 27 (CTK) – Saturday’s incident in the Husa na provazku theatre in Brno, where activists stormed the stage in order to disturb a controversial performance, reminded of scenes from films about the arrival of fascism, Martin Glaser, head of the Brno National Theatre, said today.
The Brno National Theatre organises the Theatre World festival of which the Saturday performance was a part. It was disturbed by over 20 activists from the Decent People movement, who moved onstage, making noise and barring the actors’ play for about an hour until a police anti-conflict squad escorted them away.
Protests against the Our Violence and Your Violence performance, a production by Croat theatre director Oliver Frljic, emerged beforehand mainly in reaction to a photo from it which shows Jesus raping a Muslim woman.
Glaser said the disturbance went beyond acceptable limits and was a warning signal about the developments in Czech society.
“The Brno Nazis” wanted to take justice into their own hands. “Efforts to ban art always mean something dangerous,” Glaser said.
He said he does not regret having included Frljic’s production in the Theatre World festival, since the production is critical of the current Europe and uses provocative methods.
The performance used provocative means to criticise the West’s relation to the Middle East countries.
Glaser said the Decent People’s action added another, more urgent context to the performance. It emphasised the theme of this year’s festival, which is freedom and its fragility.
The activists, originally a part of the audience, jumped up and stormed the stage in reaction to a scene where the actors stripped naked and started hugging and touching each other.
Glaser said nakedness has been nothing unusual on European stages in recent decades.
The scene with Jesus raping a Muslim woman appeared at the end of the performance when the Decent People were no longer among the audience.
Glaser said the actors are accustomed to protests, with which the performance repeatedly met in other towns abroad. Nevertheless, they said the police turned up immediately in such cases, unlike in Brno on Saturday, when the police anti-conflict team arrived with a considerable delay, after repeated urgencies by the theatre staff, Glaser said.
Police spokesman Pavel Svab said the police checked the identity of 19 of the activists on Saturday. They will propose that administrative proceedings be launched against some of them for suspected misdemeanours and they will check video recordings of the incident to see whether some persons committed an offence.
On social networks, a debate between critics and supporters of the Decent People’s intervention has flared up.
Brno Mayor Petr Vokral (ANO) told CTK today that the Decent People’s action was an unfortunate attempt to score political points before the autumn local elections.
The Decent People, whose chairman Zdenek Pernica is a national kick box champion, criticise the policy of the Brno City Council headed by Vokral. The movement wants to run in the autumn elections.