Showing posts with label Prague. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prague. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain" by Peter Sis

Yesterday I read a children's picture book that took me right back to the nine months I spent in Prague, Czech Republic.

Peter Sis, a Czechoslovak immigrant to America in the 1980s, wrote about what it was like to be born at the start of the Communist regime and grow up in a totalitarian system.

When I lived in Prague, I had listened with extraordinary intent to Czech friends who had gone through this history. I loved hearing their experiences, their wisdom from what they had been through, and learning from them how people and families cope with a dystopian reality.

Peter Sis has compressed his own history and his nations' history into this graphical history that can be read in less than an hour. He bore witness! He warned! It's as if he is handing the reader at home the conversations we expats got to have in Prague with our Czech friends about what it was like.

I can't recommend the book enough. It would make a wonderful book to read together as a family for an intergenerational discussion about freedom.

This book has been widely acclaimed both as a Caldecott Honor book for distinguished illustration (the author's wonderful drawings help tell the story), and as the winner of the Siebert award for the most distinguished informational title in America, for children, in the year it was published.

Here is a short interview with the author.

From "The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain"

“When my American family goes to visit my Czech family in the colorful city of Prague, it is hard to convince them it was ever a dark place full of fear, suspicion, and lies. I find it difficult to explain my childhood; it’s hard to put it into words, and since I have always drawn everything, I have tried to draw my life— before America—for them.”                 —Peter Sis

You may be interested in these other reads:

The Restoration of Order: The Normalization of Czechoslovakia" by Milan Simecka

How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed by Slavenka Drakulic

In Prague, You Can Enjoy Reading "Café Europa" at the Café Europa

WWII was worse for Central Europe than even our histories and memories tell us

Heda Kovaly, Czech Who Wrote of Totalitarianism, Is Dead at 91  

Understanding Iran: The Power of One Graphic Novel named "Persepolis"

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Why the Obama Presidential Library should be built in Springfield, Illinois

President Obama taking the oath of office
I notice the race is on for the Obama Presidential Library. The two cities mentioned as possible sites are Chicago and Honolulu. This astonishes me, as I find the obvious choice to be Springfield, Illinois.
Obama campaign poster
As a community, Springfield had an outsized influence on Obama as he spent his early legislative days there in the Illinois legislature. Why did it have such an influence? Because Springfield has excelled at passing on the message of the Lincoln Presidency to all humanity, even, as it turns out, to future Presidents.
The old
Illinois State Capitol
Obama deeply identifies with Lincoln and used several of Lincoln's signature moves prior to and in his first term: speaking on the steps of the Illinois State Capitol, a long slow train ride to Inauguration, and assembling a Team of Rivals. As Obama conducted his State legislative business in Springfield, Lincoln's words, example, and sites were everywhere in the city for him to identify with, learn from and absorb. Obama even used a term from the Gettysburg address as his first Inauguration theme: "a new birth of freedom."
The Obama family
Placing the library in Springfield would be a gigantic economic boost to Southern Illinois. Chicago is already thriving and doesn't need the Obama Presidential Library to continue thriving. I appreciate that the current Mayor there has some pull, but will the Chicago mayor 100 years from now care as much? Will promoting the Obama Presidential Library and Museum be on the top of that mayor's to-do list?

Honolulu might seem an obvious place since Obama's boyhood was there. However, if it is placed there it ensures that the people who will get to see it are upper-income, older Americans who can afford a Hawaiian vacation plus Japanese tourists on holiday. How would that change the world any? I can't help but think that the young person who could most use the inspiration of the Obama legacy, wouldn't get to see it.

That's why the Obama Presidential Library should be placed in Springfield, Illinois. Think of the savings to education budgets if school children can take in the Lincoln Presidential library and Museum and the Obama library in the same field trip.
The famous hug
after winning a second term
Foreign visitors who come to learn about one of our Presidents who worked to heal a divided nation,  would learn about two of our Presidents who worked to heal a divided nation. An Obama Presidential Library and Museum would probably be one of the most important economic drivers of Springfield as a city, even 100 years from now.

Springfield has a lower cost structure for a visit and its slow Southern pace makes for a more reflective experience, plus it places the Obama presidency in the context of wider American history. Tourists can afford to spend more days there so they can take in both the Obama library and museum. If Obama's library and museum are placed in Chicago, people will give one of those two new buildings an afternoon of their time and that's that. Back to business.
Obama in Prague
speaking on disarmament
I'm thinking about the experience created by this placement not only as a library professional, but as a consumer of the experience these destinations create. Between us, my family and I have visited the Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan Libraries. On my last trip back to America, my family and I made a special trip to Little Rock just to take in the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library. One of the things that made the Clinton Library experience work so well as an education about American history is that it was partnered with the experience and history of the Little Rock Nine.
Placing the Obama Presidential Library in context with Lincoln's presidency is a powerful history lesson in and of itself. But the most important reason the Obama Presidential Library should be in Springfield, Illinois is the message it sends to people yet unborn.

This is what makes the historical context in Springfield perfect for Obama's legacy. Springfield was the scene of a white riot in 1908 so horrible that the NAACP was formed out of the complete despair that resulted from the event. White Springfield has come to terms with this event and is not in denial. The Mayor officially apologized on behalf of the city. A walking tour has been created that explains what happened. It would not be to Springfield's shame if this story was more widely known around the world, it would be their success story.

Why? Because out of that despair, trying to pick up the pieces after a devastating hate crime, humanity organized. They worked to create a better future by organizing themselves into an association (the NAACP). These citizens had no idea what would result from that work. Out of that community organizing and the changes that resulted in society because of it, 100 years later, there was an almost unimaginable outcome: the citizens of the United States of America elected a black President.

Humanity: there is nothing you can't do if you're willing to come together and work for it. That's the astonishing, hopeful message an Obama Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois could send the citizens of the world.

To put it in President's Obama's words: "We are here because enough people ignored the voices who told them the world could not change."

You might be interested in reading more about my visit to Springfield, Illinois. Touring Springfield, Illinois was one of the things I most wanted to do before becoming an "Empty Nest Expat."

Entering the Land of Lincoln

What Inspires Stories?

The Springfield Race Riots of 1908

A living tribute to Abraham Lincoln

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

America's Finest Example of Prairie School Architecture

Route 66 Road Food

How broke is Illinois?

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The perfect tribute to Václav Havel : the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent

The Goddess of Democracy
from Tiananmen Square
circa 1989
Václav Havel and the Czechs inspired my 'Empty Nest Expat' adventure. I knew people who could elect a playwright as President were different in a way I couldn't define than me and my countrymen. The Czech Republic seemed like such a delightfully highbrow non-warlike society. I wanted to learn all about the Czechs by moving overseas and seeing what they were like.

To this day, I'm inspired by Václav Havel. This week, I discovered that one of the most beautiful tributes has been created to honor what he did so well: creatively dissent from the State.

Havel, for years a dissident at odds with the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, led the challenge that eventually overthrew the regime, and consequently, he became the first President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic.

Many credit Havel with the fact that both the Velvet Revolution resulting in the overthrow of Communism and the Velvet Divorce separating the Czechs and the Slovaks were violence-free.

The inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent will be awarded to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Saudi women’s rights advocate Manal al-Sharif, and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

I am particularly delighted that Saudi citizen Manal al-Sharif has been recognized. At a time when human beings have walked on the Moon, it seems so strange that other human beings still aren't allowed to drive a car on a particular part of our planet just because of their gender.

Showing breathtaking courage and speaking plain common sense, Manal al-Sharif posted a samizdat video of herself on Youtube driving in Saudi Arabia while she described to the camera all the different reasons a woman needs to be able to drive to fulfill her different duties. The video was swiftly removed. I was one of the 600,000-1,000,000 people who got to see it before it was gone. Awed by her courage, I also thought her reasoning was undeniable.

Manal al-Sharif is an internet security consultant in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia working for Aramco. I predict someday she'll have her own statue in her nation.

These three Havel Prize laureates will receive an artist’s representation of the “Goddess of Democracy,” the iconic statue erected by Chinese student leaders during the Tiananmen Square protests of June, 1989.

To learn more about the prize, here is the web page.

To see additional posts about Václav Havel

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

First Rehearsals - Vagina Monologues in Istanbul

Great movements often start in coffee shops.
Vaclav Havel famously met
with his fellow Czech dissidents
in the Cafe Slavia across from
the National Theatre in Prague.

My expatriate American friends,
Donna and Kendra,
newly arrived in Turkey,
had decided to organize a VDay event
with both expatriate and Turkish women.
They decided to produce the play
"The Vagina Monologues"
in Istanbul.
Auditions were over.
Our first rehearsal
was at an Istanbul coffee shop.
We shyly came together,
that day in February.
I was struck by the beauty of the women there.
Each one wanted to help other women
through her own personal participation
in Eve Ensler's famous play.
 I had heard about the "Vagina Monologues" for years
and finally saw them in Madison, Wisconsin.

Eve Ensler, the writer of the play, wants to end
the great global silence
about the ongoing epidemic of violence
perpetrated against women and girls
around the world.

The play represents the experiences of women
all around the globe,
most notably, women in the Congo.
Each year, a new monologue is added
reflecting the news of the day.
I wish that wasn't necessary.
I didn't know about performing a play
like this in a conservative country,
but I took faith from the courage of our
producer/directors and the other women present.
 I have no interest in acting.
I don't have that bug at all.
But I do want to support
everything Eve Ensler does.

Her life's mission is
to wipe out violence against women worldwide.
Yes, I know.
You probably think she's crazy.

Yet the impossible happens every day.
Do you think Vaclav Havel and his Czech friends
believed the Berlin wall would eventually fall?

the NACCP expected they would be so wildly successful
in seeking change that less than 100 years later
there's a black man in the White House?

I am not sure they would have dreamed it.
They just started with the first step.

Can't you just imagine how
hopeless those situations
looked at the time?

I wonder what it will be like for women
100 years from now if all of us just take that first step
toward ending the culture of violence.
VDay believes the reason for the global silence
about what women are experiencing is
 the indifference of authorities worldwide,
 the instinct of denial within families,
 and the lack of public outrage
about the violence
that millions of women experience every day.
But on this first day,
it was just interesting to learn about the play
and to meet the other women.
Kendra, one of our producer/directors
listening intently to a first reading.
V-Day dreams of a world in which
women and girls will be free to thrive,
rather than merely survive.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Start of a Week in Provence

My college friend of 35 years, Robin, called me from her home in Provence, France and said, "when are you coming to visit? Don't you have the time now? You simply must come." I begged off because I was hard at work learning Turkish and working on other projects. What is a girl to do, though, when your friend tries to call you three times in one day and says, "come!"  I had no choice. So off I went.
 I help out a representation of "The Kitchen Maid"
a famous Dutch masterpiece by
Johannes Vermeer (painted 1658)
There isn't a very direct way to get from Provence from Istanbul.  I flew first to Amsterdam, where I was able to experience an hours worth of my Dutch heritage.  In the very nice Amsterdam airport, there is a small gallery of paintings from the Rijksmuseum, the famous Dutch Art Museum full of Van Goghs.

Isn't that a fabulous idea - to have an art gallery in an airport? To share the very best of one's culture with people who are stuck in an building with no place to go?  I'm surprised there aren't similar art galleries in airports all over the world. Good job, Dutch people, you made me proud. And you made me want to come back.

From Amsterdam, I then flew to Marseilles.  It was an utterly gorgeous day without a cloud in the sky.  Southern France has the soft, balmy Southern California-type weather only without the pollution.  When the plane flew out over the Mediterranean and the Southern France coastline of majestic rocky fjords, it was simply breathtaking to take in the coastline, the sea, the sailboats and yachts, and the sun-washed city of Marseilles. I had no idea there was such a pretty, craggy coastline to Southern France.

I knew Robin would not be there right away to pick me up, having never once arrived on time to get me at any airport in the world. There is a comfort in knowing someone so well. I knew eventually she would show up and I would no longer have to loiter around the lobby, sneaking peaks at the amazing weather outside.

Robin and her husband live in Singapore now full-time where Robin has started a new job as a Senior International Government Affairs Advisor for a large oil company.  She has her hands full between her new executive position, two daughters, and her husband's health care. Robin's husband has been recovering the last couple years from the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy involved with having a brain tumor.

While my friend Robin employs a terrific Filipino man to help her physically care for her 6'4" husband, I wanted to give my dear friend lots of love and appreciation and make sure someone was taking care of her. We had last seen each other in Prague when she came to visit for some serious girlfriend time and I dragged her to the Museum of Communism rather than letting her see the art she wanted to see (hey, she worked for the State Department then, I was doing my duty as an American citizen).
La Mourrade
Eventually, my beloved friend came to the airport and we packed ourselves off for the trip to Provence and her fairy wonderland home "La Mourrade."  Robin and Jim rent their home out much of the summer, when they do get to spend time there, they practically cry leaving the place, life is so beautiful there.
 My bedroom window
Overlooking the terrace, the Lubéron,
and the spectacular mountain painted by Cézanne,
Mt. Sainte-Victoire
Along with their spectacularly-sited La Mourrade provencal home, this is the beautiful lunch Robin had prepared that greeted me upon arrival:
 Oysters on the Half Shell
Al Fresco
A fresh, healthy Provençal salad
 Grilled Sardines Stuffed With Lemon
A life-long friend
is a blessing.
I am truly grateful for
my friend Robin.
Lemon sorbet
with Black Currants
and Cassis
and a sprig of homegrown mint
A beautiful cappuccino to end the meal
Later that night, while enjoying champagne poolside, Robin asked, "Now aren't you glad you came to Provence?" Yes, I was.  It was the start of an amazing week.
Poolside at La Mourrade

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My 7 Links Blog Project

Thanks to Miss Footloose (aka Karen van der Zee) I've been invited to participate in the My 7 Links project organized by Tripbase, the wonderful organization that has recognized both our blogs with Expat Blog of the Year awards.

In this post, I am sharing 7 of my old posts you might not have discovered yet, at the end I list five other bloggers I've nominated to do the same.

My Most Beautiful Post - This is from one spectacular afternoon overlooking the Vltava River in Prague with my friend Sher. If you know nothing about Prague, this will help you understand why people fall in love with it. A Springtime Stroll Around Letna Park

My Most Popular Post - I'm deeply committed to doing what I can as an individual consumer and citizen to prevent climate change.  So I decided to sell my car and live without it.  Then one day I realized I had survived just fine without it for quite awhile. Starting My Third Year Without A Car

My Most Controversial Post -Looking back, I can't say I write very controversial posts. This one might not be the kindest one I've ever written, and I did try to put the behavior I was describing into historical  context. Little Corruptions

My Most Helpful Post - The American lifestyle has a cost structure that feels unsustainable to me. In this post, I try to help Americas imagine a lower cost structure. The Czech Republic is the same size as South Carolina.  Imagine if you were able to travel around a state the size of South Carolina for $400 a year.  How the Czech Government Delighted Me As A Consumer

The Post Whose Success Surprised Me The Most - Who knew a visit to a gift shop would generate such discussion? My post The Swedish Tourist Attraction That Did Not Attract Me ended up featured on the Displaced Nation Blog where ABC News Royal Correspondent Jane Green and I debated the idea of monarchy. 

A Post I feel Didn't Get the Attention It Deserved - Is it my idea? Or my blog post? What do I need, pictures? I only received two commented on this post, and I still like my idea.  Why not give the opposite of a Nobel Prize to countries that could use, well, an intervention?
Does the World Need the Opposite of a Nobel Peace Prize?

A Post I am Most Proud Of - In 2009, I was struck how my Czech friends felt their opinions were ignored on a proposed American missile system that was slated for installation in their country.  I wrote a blog post asking President Obama to come to the Czech Republic and either sell them on it or announce it would end.

He came, gave an amazing speech, and won the Nobel Prize. And the anti-missile system moved away from the Czech Republic. What a win/win.  All because of my blog post!

I hope you're smiling here. I don't actually believe President Obama came to Prague because of my blog post. But I was contacted by the BBC to provide commentary about his speech (didn't happen due to logistics) because their producers had been reading my blog.

I do feel I showed my Czech friends, feeling their way through their new democracy, that taking action makes you feel better rather than being paralyzed.  They marveled that I felt I could effect positive change.  They didn't (which is exactly what politicians want you to think cause then you'll leave everything to them).
Dear President Obama, Please Come to the Czech Republic

I live for comments so tell me what you think!

Here are the links to five blogs I've nominated to join the project:

Adventures in the Czech Republic

Black Girl in Prague

Blogging Gelle

Ricky Yates

Senior Dogs Abroad

Friday, April 22, 2011

Prague's Anglican Minister: The Reverend Ricky Yates

Happy Good Friday readers! Today I was delighted to see my pastor in Prague, Chaplain Ricky Yates of St. Clement's Anglican Church, properly written up in the Prague Post and recognized for his work serving the English-speaking expat community in Prague.

Regular readers of my blog know how incredibly tight-knight I found the expat church community at St. Clement's and how Pastor Ricky was there for me and my friend Anna when we got in a tight spot with our visas.  I simply can't say enough about the community of people there and his leadership of us.  Click on my title to read the whole article. You can also look to the right of this post and see the link for Ricky's blog.  Best of all though, if you're in Prague, head on down to the church on a Sunday morning at 11 a.m. to tell him hello yourself.  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

St. Clement's Anglican English-Speaking Church Services will be broadcast globally this Christmas on BBC Radio 4

You've heard that Christmas carol about ''Good King Wenceslas,'' right?  Well who was he? The Czechs know but everyone else could probably use a little background.  My beloved church community in old town Prague has had the great honor to be selected by BBC Radio 4 to broadcast a program about the life and death of St Stephen and also of Wenceslas, tenth century Duke of Bohemia, who became known as St Vaclav, patron saint of the Czech Republic.

Would you like to hear it yourself on Sunday, December 26th?  It will be available online at 08.10 GMT (9.10 CET in the Czech Republic) and you can also listen to it anytime in the next seven days after that.

 I'm so proud to see my friend and pastor Ricky Yates be honored this way and so happy more people will discover this wonderful community of people who gather weekly from all over the world to worship in Prague.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Starting My Third Year Without a Car

It never occurred to me that I could live without a car until I decided to become an ''Empty Nest Expat.'' Such is the constant brainwashing of Americans that the American dream must include a car.  Had I known how fantastic it is to not own a vehicle, I wish I could have given it up much sooner.

I sold my beloved Saturn red coupe the month before I left to go overseas.  A Saturn was the perfect car for a woman to own because it was possible to buy the car without negotiation and to pay for three years of maintenance up front. Saturn's innovation was pricing the product visiably so buyers didn't feel that it was a contest with the car salesman to see who could 'best' the other in deciding on a price.

As a Saturn car owner, all I had to do was drive the car into the dealership every 3,000 miles to get the oil changed.  My favorable opinion must not have been universally held because the Saturn brand went bankrupt a year after I sold my car. Even loving the car as I had, I didn't appreciate how much nicer life is without one.

Moving to Prague, I was able to enjoy a very simple, cost-effective transportation system at the low cost price of $22 a month.  This enabled me to have a wonderful quality of life because I could easily go home for lunch from most places in the city and I didn't have to devote any of my time to gassing up, car washes, or getting my vehicle maintained. I also didn't have to devote my time to being stuck in traffic because public transportation always had a dedicated lane, metro tube, or tram track.  Better yet, I no longer needed to earn the money necessary to own a car.  This opened up more free time.

I have lived in two subsequent cities since then: Madison, Wisconsin in the United States and Istanbul, Turkey.  In both places, public transportation works just fine and a car is superfluous.  I never want to go back to spending money on something I don't actually value!

When I get in a car now as a passenger (a very rare occurrence) I'm always struck by the stress that the driver is experiencing.  I am thrilled to give up that need for control and have the freedom and lack of stress created by leaving the driving to others.

I would never have learned this without moving to another culture because my own consumer culture constantly reinforces that I should own a car.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Prague Pub Celebrates Czech Beers

 What's on tap at the Prague Beer Museum?

Here's a story that could prompt every reader to think, "Gee, I wish I'd thought of that."  It's so deceptively, brilliantly simple an idea that there is no way it could not possibly succeed.  Someone has started a Prague Beer Museum with the idea of collecting some of the nation's' best brews in one place for beer aficionados to sample. Brilliant! Click on my title to read the whole article.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'm moving to Istanbul!

Today is a blur.  A sunny, potentially relaxing day in Prague but still a blur. I'm packing up my things because today marks my last day in Prague.  I hope it's "just for now." I realized when I came here this time that my love of the Czech Republic wasn't going to be fulfilled by just coming for a couple months and doing my to-do list of sites. It's not a "if it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium kind of feeling." This is a life-long passion for a country that has only increased, not decreased with my three months here.

My 90 days in the Schengen zone is up, and I need to move somewhere out of the Czech Republic to apply for residency.  I looked at Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Burma, and Russia in addition to Istanbul. Everyone raves about Istanbul.  And I have a friend there.  It made me count up how many times I've moved to a new place without knowing a soul: eight.

I have been truly blessed with incredible friends here in Prague, especially in my church home of St. Clement's Church.  They sent me off with much love!  Well, here, my chaplain tells it well. I'll let him tell it, you can read my plan, and I'll keep packing.  And returning library books.  And dropping off thrift items.  You know what these kind of days are like!  Click on this link to read my plan. 

Food and Views at the Prague Food Festival

On the tram
heading up to Prague Castle
from Malastranská

Last night was the start of the Prague Food Festival, taking place this weekend at Prague Castle. Elsie Pells, a Cape Wine Master from South Africa and Karen Parker, an Australian expat from Adelaide and I went out to enjoy the view and the food.

 Karen and Elsie entering the festival
set up in the Prague Castle Gardens

Karen and Elsie
are both very active members in the
International Women's Association of Prague

Just looking at the beautiful scene
we knew we were in for a wonderful evening.
Beautifully carved watermelons on display.

I was fascinated by these
suckling pigs on a spit

American food writers always say that Americans
are so far removed from the real source of their food.
I took a moment to take in the reality of this rotisserie pig
complete with his juicy eye sockets and seam up his belly.
I can see why meat gets sold in sterile packages.
It is a lot easier to face!

The castle gardens look over
all of Prague.

 I love this picture of Elsie.
She was our wine master
suggesting vintages for the evening.

Elsie is proud to represent a new
South African wine on the Czech scene
called Phant (short for Elephant).

Wouldn't a bottle of Phant
be a perfect hostess gift or
wine to serve during South Africa's
coming-out party - the World Cup?

This was my food selection:
salmon on wasabi potatoes.

The ladies had a beef burger
with fois gras tucked into the burger.
Our selections were from
the Kampa Group booth.

The light became golden as the sunset
slowly spread through the clouds
on part of Prague.
 The sun stopped short of the House of Tyn
But you can see the spires on the Old Town Church
with the Zizkov TV tower in the distance.

A rainbow appeared
over the incredible view of the city.
Pinch me.  I'm in Prague.
I'm at the Castle.
This is one of my last evenings in Prague.
I feel so privileged to get to see this.

We stayed until the festival closed.  It was sparsely attended the first night, probably due to the iffy weather.  We watched the full moon play with the clouds, finally it rose from behind it's cover and as large and as golden as a charger plate, it came out in full glory for our admiration.  What a setting! We slowly walked down the cobblestones stairs of Prague Castle, savoring every moment of aesthetic pleasure, and went home.

Related posts: Who Will Be the Czech "Jamie Oliver"?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" Under the Stars at Letní Scéna

As soon as I read that the Prague Shakespeare Festival was going to put on "Romeo and Juliet" under the stars in the medieval open-air Vyšehrad theatre called Letní Scéna, I knew I had to go! "Romeo and Juliet" is, of course, the most romantic play in the English language and Vyšehrad, overlooking the Vltava River, is one of the most romantic places in a city overflowing with romantic places. It was such an inspired idea. And ladies, you don't always need a man in tow to appreciate the romance of the setting! Romance is a state of mind.

I forgot to take a picture of my date, Black Girl in Prague, who was her usual fabulous self.  I waited to meet her at the Vyšehrad Metro Terrace.  Since I forgot to eat before I came, I slipped into the little Thai restaurant there so I would have some food in my stomach.  Who wants their hunger to interrupt the balcony scene? Not me.  I expected no greatness from any restaurant situated within a metro station.  Indeed, the opposite.  After all, the customers are in a hurry, there is graffiti everywhere outside, what could possibly be aesthetically-pleasing about the experience? I even let the waiter pick my food out because I was too lazy to make a choice myself.  OK, so I was wrong. Greatness can reside in a metro restaurant.

Kaeng pet kai, rice, and green tea
at Yam Yam Thai Restaurant.
The open-air theatre
at Vyšehrad.
Can't you picture
all the people and performances
that have taken place here
over hundreds and hundreds of years?

We were lucky to grab one of the seats with a back rest.
Can you find me in the audience?

Prague theater director
Gordon Trufitt and his wife Eva
sat across the aisle.

I used to see my Prague blogging buddy
everywhere in Prague.
This was my first time meeting
Grant Podelco and his fiancee Daisy
 with young Emma.
It was a pleasure!
Grant gave me great blogging tips during intermission.
He writes two blogs: Gusto and Grant's Prague Bike Blog.

Mercutio was played by Guy Roberts.
Guy is the Founder, President and Artistic Director
and he was sooo good in his role as Mercutio.
David Fisher played the Nurse.
You know when you watch someone act
and you can just tell how much fun their having?
David Fisher almost stole the show
with his hilariously bawdy portrayal
of Juliet's Nurse.
Wow, could he project his voice too!
Romeo and Juliet
were played by
Kendrick Ong and
Lenka Fisherová-Novaková
Juliet had wonderful enthusiasm
and Romeo was appropriately dreamy.
We had great seats for
enjoying the ensemble on stage.

I loved the sword fights!

Letní Scéna (Open Air Theatre) was perfect
for balcony scenes.
Thanks so much to Guy Roberts and his artistic company at the Prague Shakespeare Festival for putting on an enchanting evening of theater.  It can't be easy in this funding environment. I for one, appreciated the opportunity to enjoy your gifts!  Prague Shakespeare Festival will put on the play "As You Like It" May 12-22, 2011 in this same theatre next year.  I'm impressed with the ambition for next year: ten days of performances!

Related Posts:

Prague Playwriting Contest Shows Off Three Finalists

Wonderful English Language Theater in Prague
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