The Embassy of the Czech Republic announces the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2015 – Karel Čapek, celebrating the legacy of the world-renowned author through events in the nation’s capital from September 3–November 21, 2015. Enjoy theatrical performances, lectures, a special concert, and more!
The Mutual Inspirations Festival (MIF) is an annual initiative spearheaded by the Embassy of the Czech Republic, focusing on the mutual inspirations between Czech and American cultures and featuring each year an extraordinary Czech personality who has greatly influenced and inspired others through his or her work. In previous years, the festival has highlighted such personalities as President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (2010), composer Antonín Dvořák (2011), filmmaker Miloš Forman (2012), President Václav Havel (2013), and writer Franz Kafka (2014)
Now in its sixth year, the Mutual Inspirations Festival celebrates a literary genius of the twentieth century —writer Karel Čapek (January 9, 1890‒December 25, 1938). Nominated an astounding seven times for the esteemed Nobel Prize for Literature, Čapekis revered for his “science fiction” works such as Rossum’s Universal Robots (R.U.R.), War with the Newts, and The Insect Play. Called a forerunner to George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, his most popular play R.U.R. made famous the word “robot.” The play itself centers on machines dominating the human race with the threat of extinction. Through his writing, Čapek questionedethical aspects of industrial inventions: mass production, nuclear weapons, and artificial intelligence. His timeless and unforgettable works have been published into over 50 languages. This year marks the 125th anniversary of his birth.
American playwright Arthur Miller said the following of Čapek: “There was no writer like him…prophetic assurance mixed with surrealistic humor and hard-edged social satire: a unique combination.” Author Kurt Vonnegut echoed the sentiments, calling Čapek “a great writer of the past who speaks to the present in a voice brilliant, clear, honorable, blackly funny, and prophetic.”
Running from September 3-November 21, 2015, the festival highlights events at select venues in the Washington area, such as the Kennedy Center, the Gonda Theatre in the Davis Performing Arts Center at Georgetown University, the Avalon Theatre, and Bistro Bohem. Highlights of this year’s festival include a jazz-age evening of music and dance, theatrical readings of the new work R.U.R.: A Retro-Futuristic Musical, the world premiere of War with the Newts adapted by Natsu Onoda Power, a robotics demonstration and lecture with Czech robotics expert Vladimir Mařík, a panel discussion on R.U.R. and the Rationalized World, and a Lego Robotics Workshop for children facilitated by the Great Adventure Lab. Additional noted speakers include Templeton Prize-winner Tomáš Halík, art historian Otto Urban, and theatre/ interactive media arts scholar Jana Horaková. The festival incorporates a variety of events, including theatrical performances, film screenings, a concert, lectures, and exhibitions. With over 30,000 people attending the festival over the last three years, the festival strives to reach a wide audience through its vibrant programming.
Catch the Čapek fever this fall and be inspired!
Photo Courtesy of the Karel Čapek Memorial
Olga Scheinpflugová and Karel Čapek