A Study of Aphasia

1. září 2021

In A Study of Aphasia, the protagonist is a singer who loses her voice during an opera performance. Listeners then witness the entirely new world our singer enters in the course of a single night at the hospital.

A nurse who is having a difficult night shift tries to make her utter at least a single word using various means. The singer relentlessly refuses. Maybe somewhere deep inside she is looking for a new form of communication.

In his book Children’s Speech and Aphasia (1918), Emil Fröschels - an Austrian linguist and the founder of speech therapy — describes the relationship between the development of language skills in children, speech impediments, and psychology. Inspired by Fröschels’ book and a scene from Ingmar Bergman’s film Persona — in which an actress loses her voice — composer Michal Rataj and director/author Katharina Schmitt explore the themes of language, speech and voice. Meanwhile the question “Who is speaking?” is just as important to them as the question “Who cannot speak?”, or “Who cannot be heard?”

Ivana Uhlířová při natáčení rozhlasové hry Nauka o afázii Kathariny Schmitt a Michala Rataje

A Study of Aphasia examines the voice as a fundamental component of human identity. Its dramaturgical framework is the situation between the non-speaking and speaking characters, which results in a wide variety of vocal phenomena, from song to sprechgesang and whispers to speech and shouting. The authors exhibit states between speaking and non-speaking in relation to the characters’ psychologies. This performance is also a reaction to recent months’ events in politics, the environment, and society.

The main character ceases to believe that her work has any meaning in relation to the world’s current problems – virtuoso singing suddenly seems laughable to her. We observe her amidst a profound artistic crisis, in which she doubts the importance of art. The resulting acoustic composition is a mirror of her internal world.

Listen the Drama at the Prix Bohemia Radio festival!

When: Wednesday 20th October 2021 | 15:30 – 16:40 
Where: Film hall, Arts Centre UP
Entrance: Free admission with accreditation

Look at the detailed program of the listening session.

Cast: Doctor (Lucie Trmíková), Nurse (Ivana Uhlířová), Announcer (Ondřej Látal), Patient (Petra Alvarez), Barbora Kabátková, Ivana Bilej Brouková, Anna Chadimová Havlíková, Kamila Mazalová (Tiburtina Ensemble) and Andrej Gál (Cello) , percussion)
Dramaturgy: Kateřina Rathouská
Translation: Viktorie Knotková
Music: Michal Rataj, Vocals: Petra Alvarez Šimková
Director: Katharina Schmitt
Premiere: September 1, 2020
Recorded: in 2020

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