New English language production of Cimrman play staged in Prague

photo:  (Brian Stewart, photo: Ian Willoughby)

After the success of the first-ever English production of Jára Cimrman plays, The Stand-In, the English speaking audience now has a chance to get acquainted with another of the fictional character’s plays. Dobytí severního pólu or The Conquest of the North Pole is now being staged in Prague’s Jára Cimrman Theatre by the Cimrman English studio, a group of Prague-based, English-speaking actors.


I spoke to the director Brian Stewart of the Cimrman English studio and I first asked him to explain what the play is about:

“The play’s events are set in 1908 and it is about four members of a swimming society, who decide to go to the North Pole. So they set off first thing in the morning, get a light training by swimming in the waters near the National Theatre. Then in the afternoon they get on the train and they set off to the North Pole.

“So it is a story of four incompetent men who decide that they are going to conquer the North Pole. They start off and within time they begin to lose their way and they run out of food. So the story evolves around the four characters and their relationships to one another.”

What was your reason for choosing this particular play? Do you think it will be more accessible to the English speakers?

“I don’t think so. I think Stand In was very accessible to English speakers and also to Czechs who have an interest in the English version of it. It is a very different play to the Stand-In. And my understanding is that this is one of the most popular Cimrman plays. They always prefer the Conquest of the North Pole to the Stand In.”

What challenges did you have to overcome when translating the play?

“There are lots of word puns that are very difficult to translate, so you have to come up with an alternative, but that’s the way it is when you are translating any play. You have to try and find an alternative which means something in your language and at the same time captures some of the essence of the original language.”

Do you expect the audience to be English or Czech?

“We have a mixture. There are Czechs coming to the performances because they are curious about how it is done in English. There are also Czechs with English speaking partners and for years they have been trying to get them to understand Cimrman and what it means. And now at last they can understand it. They come and see the show and get an insight into this great Czech genius.”

And will The Conquest of the North Pole be followed by other productions?

“We hope so, but so far translation s in the future. When that will happen, we don’t really know. That’s not really down to this little English theatre.”

Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
Added: 15.04.2016

Related articles


Shapely Czech Venus reveals secrets

First results from a scan of the famous Venus of Dolní Věstonice show it was made from one piece of clay...


For me, playing the bad guy is the...

Since moving to Prague in 2002, American actor Brian Caspe has had parts in numerous big productions...


2017 Letní Letná festival of new...

What can visitors look forward to at the 14th edition of Letní Letná, which gets underway on Thursday...


Prague exhibition spotlights iconic...

An exhibition dedicated to the famous shoe designer Manolo Blahnik is now on display at Prague’s Kampa...

Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…


The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…


Facebook recent activity