Milan Kundera

The Owners of the Keys

Mahen Theatre / Drama 09/12/2023 19:00 - 20:40

A Comedy of Fatefulness and a Tragedy of Pettiness

The world-famous writer Milan Kundera (born in 1929 in Brno) thoroughly develops “the unacknowledged heritage of Cervantes” and the tradition of Central-European novel, exploring this peculiar ‘art’ as a brilliant essayist who puts emphasis on the Rabelaisian, satirical view of the world. He also wrote three dramas, two of which (Jacques and His Master, a tribute to Denis Diderot, and The Blunder) were staged in post-1989 Czechia. Only now, more than half a century later, are we finally going to have all Kundera’s drama work adapted for stage. It is a big moment for Czech drama. The Owners of the Keys (1962), distinguished by the precision of composition which we know from Kundera’s novels, is being produced by the same drama section of the National Theatre which also produced František Hrubín’s A Sunday in August and Josef Topol’s Their Day. The story of Jiří Nečas – who, during World War II, hides a fleeing girl in his father-in-law’s apartment, keeping the keys in the pocket of his trousers – brings to the scene noble gestures and low motives. It portrays our world beyond whose windows the Nazis go on marching.

Premiere: 23rd October 2020 at the Mahen Theatre

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Production team

Milan Kundera Author
Martin Glaser Direction
Milan Šotek Dramaturgy
Pavel Borák Stage design
Markéta Sládečková Costume design
Ivan Acher Music
Martin Špetlík Light design


When do we play?

The Owners of the Keys Mahen Theatre / Drama

The Owners of the Keys

Lecturer's introduction before the performance
  • 31/10/2023
  • 19:00 - 20:40
The Owners of the Keys Mahen Theatre / Drama

The Owners of the Keys

  • 09/12/2023
  • 19:00 - 20:40