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Professor Translates New Czech Play

November 09, 2009

Professor Stepan Simek’s new translation of Petr Zelenka’s award-winning play Theremin appears in “Czech Plays: Seven New Works,” the first modern anthology of contemporary plays from the Czech Republic, published by the City University of NY Press.

Theremin tells the story of the Russian inventor, musician, and industrial spy Leon Sergievich Theremin, whose most significant invention was the first electronic musical instrument, the “thereminvox.”

Petr Zelenka is the most prolific contemporary Czech playwright and filmmaker.  His plays have been translated into numerous languages, and his movies have been shown around the world.  His latest film, The Karamazov’s, based loosely on Dostoyevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov,” was the official Czech nominee for the 2009 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film.

Professor Simek’s collaboration with Zelenka spans more than ten years.  Simek, who among others is one of the authorized translators of the former Czech President Vaclav Havel’s work, translated four of Zelenka’s plays, and produced and directed his 2002 Tales of Ordinary Madness to great critical acclaim in the spring of 2007 at Portland’s CoHo Theatre.

See larger images of front and back cover here.