Master of Fine Arts Michal Dočekal

* 1965

  • "Then we dissolved the SSM organisation at DAMU. It was not easy because part of students and similarly tuned friends were publishing the magazine Café A.F.F.A., which was secretly meant as anti-regime. Martin Mejstrik, Yvona Kreuzmann, guys from FAMU, I believe that Igor Chaun was there too. They had to issue it under SSM. We were in dispute with them because they feared for the magazine. I argued with them that the SSM must be dissolved, and that actually happened. Some of the professors got quite mad, but we did it. I think it was in the week before November 17. (It was a courageous idea - to dissolve SSM ...) Yes. We knew we had to do something, as signing petitions was not enough. (Did you think that all DAMU students will leave the SSM?) We thought the basic SSM organization would cease to exist at DAMU; in the protest against the ruling disorder. Though a professor of dramaturgy said: "Michal, it is just a gesture." It was such a talking that the gestures are as futile ... I said that, of course, it is a gesture, but that gesture bears a significant meaning. Such gesture must be done."

  • “I went to visit my parents; it was May and my dad was washing the windows. We lived in Hradčany right under the ministry of defence. My dad was washing the windows and at the time he was already a bit deaf and I heard the Voice of America screaming into the street from our flat. Of course we used to tune that a lot. It was difficult to tune, as they tried to disturb the quality of signal, and then they finally stopped. So as I was walking the morning street and the Voice of America was screaming, the weather was lovely and I was thinking: This is the end, it has to finish soon. I felt euphoria. It was one of the strongest little experiences related to a trivial activity of window washing and the contemporary period. That was in May 1989, when Several sentences were signed.”

  • “There (at DAMU) we were formulating a proclamation, that the DAMU students enter a strike, some of them arguing it will never go public and a number of students went to their parents for the weekend, which I just could not grasp, when such events are about to take place, you would leave for the weekend. I felt it was weird but there were such people too. And the boys Dienstbier with Benda said that we cannot do it that way and the strike has to be voted for as it cannot be just announced. I shouted at him that the revolution cannot be voted for and I declared that anyone can do whatever they like and I was at strike then. That was how I declared the strike. There were no other procedure steps. There were about ten percent of the DAMU students, which has a total of hundred and fifty.”

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    Praha, 25.05.2017

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There is no voting on revolution

Michal Docekal
Michal Docekal
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Michal Dočekal was born on 7th April 1965 in Prague. He grew up with his parents in Hradčany. His relation towards the totalitarian regime was strictly defined by his family past. None of the large family relatives ever entered the communist party and most of them suffered for it due to the regime. His attitudes were formed by information obtained from his family and people around the underground of 1970s and 1980s. He didn‘t care for studies much. During attending gymnasium he joined the Prague theatre group A studio Rubín. Although he passed talent exams to DAMU (Theatre Academy of Musical Arts), he did not get a recommendation from the secondary school and therefore could not be accepted. A year later he began studying directing at DAMU. Since 1988 he participated in most of anti-regime demonstrations. During the week prior to the 17th November he was one of the main actors of dissolving the basic organisation of SSM at DAMU and later announcing the strike of the DAMU students. On 18th November, 1989 he participated in the debates in the Realistic theatre regarding announcing theatre and general strike for the support of students. Witnessing the massacre on 17th November at the National Avenue in Prague he presented at the public strike in the Vinohrady theatre and led students´ strike at DAMU. In 1991 he graduated at DAMU and in 1991 - 1994 was the director in the theatre company Kašpar. In 1994-2002 worked as a director and artistic director in the Prague theatre Comedy. Since 2002 act in the National theatre in Prague. In 2002-2014 was the artistic director of the drama. Since 2015/2016 season he has been the head of the drama of the National theatre and at the same time a director of the drama ND.