The Milena’s Recipes
Milena Jesenská, a notable Czech journalist known as the addressee of Franz Kafka’s Letters to Milena died in the concentration camp Ravensbrück in 1944 when her daughter Jana (Honza) Krejcarová was eleven years old. In 1969, Honza published a book called Addressee Milena Jesenská, which was later translated into several languages and which caused a sensation among the Czech culture elite of the period. Honza Krejcarová, also known (after one of her husbands) as Černá, wrote in addition to these memoirs of her mother, a small, yet in the context of the Czech culture important body of work (In the Garden of My Father, Clarissa). Between the late 1940s and the beginning of the 1960s she inspired and fascinated many of her contemporaries, especially her lover Egon Bondy. Bohumil Hrabal saw her as “a black swan with a broken wing”.
The biographies of Milena Jesenská and Honza Krejcarová were the point of departure for a fictional dialogue between two women – mother and daughter – who reflect upon their lives in the kitchen, the heart of the home and family life that neither of them had ever experienced. Their stories are full of contradictions and so are their characters. Never-ending oscillation between grandeur and philistinism, beauty and ugliness, luxury and need, spiritual purity and primal urges, provides the frame and boundaries of their existence lying on the threshold between dreams and reality.
The production does not aim to create a documentary on the lives of Jesenská and Krejcarová. Their meeting is an invented story and a matter of our personal interpretation. From the fragments of their memories and thoughts, we compose our own visions of two intimate feminine worlds framed by the “insane” 20th century. The authentic materials in the production of Milena’s Recipes are not a subject of reconstruction, but we use them as a source of the emotional trace we see in them.
the heart of the matter
let’s not merely mess around
with recipes for a better society.
(Egon Bondy – Diary of a Girl Looking for Egon Bondy)
We would like to express our thanks to the Good Will Fund of Olga Havlová.
The play is a coproduction of Studio Hrdinů and Kabinet múz Brno.
Prague premiere: 9.9.2013
Brno premiere: 15.9.2013
Duration: 70 minutes