How Iva Janžurová met British Prime Ministers

Since March last year a play called The Audience, by the British film writer and playwright Peter Morgan, is being performed in the famous Estates Theatre in Prague. It is based on the weekly meetings that Her Majesty Elizabeth II holds with Prime Ministers to discuss the current political situation. The well-known Czech actress Iva Janžurová stars in the leading role.

The three-hour-long performance shows the life of the world’s longest-reigning monarch Elizabeth II from her accession in 1952 to the present day. Step by step, each of the parts reveals the personality of the now ninety-year-old queen. The play shows that even such a strong person as Elizabeth II had many personal crises and worries during her life.

“It is a paraphrase of the royal historical dramas which we know from Shakespeare,” comments Martin Urban, the dramaturge of the play. The stage director is Alice Nellis, who primarily makes movies.

For a Czech audience, the most interesting parts are the ones where David Cameron, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher appear, as we do not know so well the other British Prime Ministers. Czechs can also sometimes be a little bit confused because they are not familiar enough with all these political issues from the second half of the twentieth century in the United Kingdom.

But what surely catches the audience’s attention is the amazing scale of various costumes that Iva Janžurová wears during the performance. The credit goes to the Slovak designer Katarína Hollá.

The cast includes Martin Pechlát as David Cameron, František Němec as Anthony Eden, Taťjana Medvecká as Margaret Thatcher and Anna Mercedes Čtvrtníčková as young Elizabeth.

The play is a really catchy story of how a twenty-five-year-old inexperienced lady full of determination became the honoured and successful queen she is now. All that is accompanied by the typical ironic and dry British humour.

Text vznikl v rámci kurzu Angličtina pro žurnalisty Kabinetu jazykové přípravy.

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