Blood, Sweat and Queers

Barbora Schnelle and Henning Bochert are looking forward to a new invitation to the Rehearsal for Truth Festival. We will bring the Czech play Transky, body, vteřiny by Tomáš Dianiška, which Edward Einhorn, together with Katarina Vizina, translated into English. We presented the play in German translation by Barbora Schnelle (as Spottschau) at the Ein Stück: Tschechien Festival in 2023. In New York, it will be presented as a staged reading with the title Blood, Sweat and Queers.

The play is inspired by the life story of the successful athlete Zdena Koubková (1913-1986), who was mistakenly assigned a female identity at birth. Koubková was celebrated in the sports world of the time as a “wonder woman” and held several world records (including in the women’s 800-meter track). In 1936, she was medically identified as intersex, underwent gender reassignment surgery to become Zdeněk Koubek. In addition to the fate of the main character, Dianiška’s play also describes the world of the 1930s with its increasing fascism, permeated by homophobia, transphobia and gender stereotypes. In his tragicomic play, the author presents a series of important moments in Zdeněk Koubek’s life. Successful sporting milestones alternate with emotional and intimate moments, which ultimately lead to a strong coming-out of the main character. The production of the play at the Petr Bezruč Theater in Ostrava won the 2019 Theatre Critics’ Award in the categories Production of the Year and Czech Contemporary Play.

Translated by: Edward Einhorn and Katarna Vizina

Staged by: Barbora Schnelle and Henning Bochert


LAURA HEISLER – Broadway: Coram Boy. Off-Broadway productions: Kin, The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters, Doris to Darlene, and People Be Heard (all at Playwrights Horizons); Orpheus Descending (TFANA); Everything Will Be Different (Soho Rep); The Mistakes Madeline Made (Naked Angels); The Given (Studio Dante); BFF (WET); Too Much Memory (Rising Phoenix). TV: Evil, Law & Order: Organized Crime, Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Med, The Americans, Madam Secretary, Elementary, The Middle, Bones, Numb3rs, The Defenders, Ugly Betty. Film: The Harbinger, We Go On, YellowBrickRoad, Coach, Cold Souls.

NATALIA PAYNE – Natalia’s New Yorker stage successes include Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Keen Company), Fairview (Soho Rep, TFANA – Pulitzer-Preis 2019), The Last Match (Roundabout), Me, Myself & I (Playwrights Horizons), Aliens with Extraordinary Skills (WP Theater), Jailbait (Cherry Lane), New Jerusalem (Classic Stage Company), deathvariations (59E59). TV: recurring parts in Workin‘ Moms (CBC/Netflix) und Cardinal (CTV/Hulu), sowie Gastauftritte in Law & Order: S.V.U. (NBC), Sensitive Skin (HBO Canada) & more. Film: The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, The Word, Crazy Love. BA in theater sciences at Yale University. Find more on her website.

Zinzer Jay (they/them) is a non-binary performer, playwright, political strategist, and self-described “jester for justice.” They strive to imbue humor and a frothy frivolity into every aspect of their work, both on the stage and on the campaign trail, because they staunchly believe that radical joy is an integral ingredient to achieving a collective and sustainable liberation.
They have designed interactive workshops, led grassroots initiatives, and executed large scale digital organizing campaigns for the Biden-Harris Administration, Stacey Abrams ‘22, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood, SEIU, Climate Action, Broadway Advocacy Coalition, and Elizabeth Warren’s presidential bid.
Previous written works include: Tale As Old As Time (dir. Christian Borle); They, B, C’s; Diary of a Snowflake; Dynamite: A Wicked Sweet Musical and Stitches: A Solo Show. 

JASON LIEBMAN – Some theatre credits include Tiger Style! (Eugene O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference), Finks (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Dunkfest ’88 & Tapefaces (Ars Nova), Playing in Traffic (Women’s Project), Fight Girl Battle World, Men of Steel & Living Dead in Denmark (Vampire Cowboys), Hamlet (New World Theatre). Film: Emoticon ;), Motion Sickness, Arranged. TV: Gossip Girl, Plot Against America, Bull, Law & Order, and (saved the best for last…) Big Wolf on Campus. Member of Ensemble Studio Theatre.

Foto: David Turecký

Tomáš Dianiška (*1984) studied acting at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and became an ensemble member of the F. X. Šalda Theatre in Liberec, where he played more than 30 roles. He is the main author and actor of the F. X. Kalba Theatre, which was originally founded as a “punk offshoot” of the F. X. Šalda Theatre, but later became independent and merged with the Palmovka Theatre. As a playwright, he was involved in the productions Zvrhlá Margaret or House of Love 2: Návrat hezkých hochů at the A studio Rubín Theatre. For the F. X. Šalda Theatre in Liberec, he wrote Googling and Fucking, Mickey Mouse je mrtvý (Mickey Mouse is Dead), LSDown, Logo, Dianiška je Bůh (Dianiška is God) and Atomová kočička (Atomic Cat).

He has been a member of the Divadlo pod Palmovkou (Theatre under Palmovka) ensemble since September 2014. He has performed several plays at the PALM OFF studio stage: 1000 věcí, co mě serou (1000 Things I Think Suck; a theatre adaptation of the blog of the same name), Mlčení bobříků (The Silence of the Beavers), Jak sbalit ženu 2.0 (How to Pick Up a Woman 2.0, a theatre adaptation of the book of the same name by T. Baránek), Pusťte Donnu k maturitě!, Poslední důvod, proč se nezabít (The Last Reason Not to Kill Yourself; a theatre adaptation of the blog of the same name) and Bezruký Frantík (The Armless Frantík, written with I. Orozovich; transferred to the big stage of the theatre at Palmovka due to great audience interest), 294 statečných (294 Brave Ones) and Encyklopedie akčního filmu (Encyclopaedia of Action Film), both already conceived for the big stage. Tomáš Dianiška has also acted in all these productions and directed many of them.

In addition to his home theatre Divadlo pod Palmovkou, Tomáš Dianiška works as a writer and actor for several Prague theatres, including MeetFactory, Divadlo LETÍ, A Studio Rubín, Masopust Theatre Group, Chemické divadlo (Chemical Theatre), Divadlo X10 and others. He has worked as a director at the Chamber Theatre Aréna Ostrava (V. Klimáček: Comics) and at the Petr Bezruč Theatre in Ostrava – here he staged his plays Transky, body, vteřiny (A Spectacle of Mockery) and Špinarka.

He describes his plays as pop pieces that examine well-known cultural phenomena in a satirical way. In his original, eclectic style, he mixes different genres, incorporating dime novels, westerns or comic heroes alongside documentary material. He has received a number of important prizes for his plays. His production of his own play Transky, body, vteřiny at the Petr Bezruč Theatre in Ostrava was named best production of the year and best Czech play of the year at the 2019 Czech Theatre Critics’ Awards. His most recent play, 294 Brave Ones, was named best play of the year at the 2020 Theatre Critics’ Awards.

Rehearsal for Truth International Theater Festival
Thursday, 13 June 2024 | 7:30 pm
Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021

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