“I was sitting in the Bystrica bar, Karel Gott was also there, there were Laco Trop and Laco Déczi, Slovak Gypsies, Déczi then emigrated to America and he’s been living there since, I think, and there was some play being broadcast on the radio. And I said: ´Turn that radio off, we’re drinking here...´ and all of a sudden, Karel Gott says: ´It’s not a play, it must be some serial.´ And at that moment we could already hear the Russians arriving. We thought it was just some radio play. So I got out of the bar, and there was a tank, on the Národní Street, a stray tank. And two whores were slamming into it with their umbrellas, beating the tank and yelling: ´Go home!´ It was about eleven at night, and the Russians were already there.”
“In 1969 they were beating me with such a long baton and saying: ´We will show you a real Young Boháček´s Suffering, now you’ll see what suffering is!´ These were already the staunch members. In 1968, policemen sided with the Czechs and they were anti-Russian, but within a year they (communists) carried out these purges, and when the first anniversary was celebrated, there were only these sons of bitches. These communist sons of bitches, traitors and the crew picked up from the streets, who supported it and who were doing the beating – beating me terribly, because they realized who I was, using such a long hose-like baton, white, about one metre long.” Interviewer: “And this was in 1969?” – “In 1969.” Interviewer: “And you were in Prague participating in that demonstration?” – “Which demonstration? I just happened to be passing by, there were tanks, roadblocks, and they were beating people. And if you didn’t protect your head, they slammed you. It was violent, it was actually no demonstration at all. Quite simply, Husák’s goons were beating people, and this scum, for they were scum – half of these guys were plain clothes policemen, they were not in uniforms. Among them were the Russians, also in plain clothes, beating the people and ´normalizing´ them.”
“Havel reproached me (for not having learnt my role properly). I told him: ´Are you crazy, can you imagine how busy I am? I’m acting in different places, too, I have other things to worry about rather than learning your texts. I’ve already acted this part once, I gotta know it.´ I didn’t even try. Well, he knew it. I said: ´Nevermind, I will use my system of cheatsheets.´ See, now I’ve revealed my secret to you. And Havel is poking his nose into it. And he was on the stage, in the auditorium, and he commented: ´At least you could’ve learnt the text by heart!´ I replied: ´I had other things to worry about. Have I acted it? I have!´ I have acted the part indeed – and nobody noticed. For I had cleverly placed my cheatsheets on the table, and so on. It doesn’t matter how I managed to act it!”
“Since he (Václav Havel) was a bit of an authoritative type, he loved Krejča, and was skilled in directing, whereas I focused more on a character and why a character says this and that on the stage. Where it all stemmed from, this primary message. And Krejča and the likes have already known that and they were employing this in their directing. They were looking down on actors who had not passed through their hands. Václav was wonderful, no doubt, and I know that his greatest art became evident when he started being normal, ordinary. And thus we became friends. But this doesn’t mean that I would ignore some of his crucial life experience, that I wouldn’t think of it at all. We became friends, even though we were also critical of each other at times... But why am I saying this? You wanted to ask me something, didn’t you?” Interviewer: “I actually asked about the Theatre Faculty but you began talking about something else.” – “Oh yes, so Fabiánová told me to forget it, she advised me to stay in Šumperk and keep acting there for as long as it was possible, and then Kovář brought me over to Klatovy, which is right on the other side of the country. I was there until they closed the theatre down and then Pepik Topol, another friend of mine, from Pardubice, what he did was... because Glanc, the father of Helena Glancová, held some managerial position there, and he made it possible for me to start acting in Topol’s play in Pardubice. Pepik Topol was a great guy...” Interviewer: “Perhaps we are digressing a bit.” – “Sure. So Topol helped me to get to Pardubice, where I was hired and I stayed for about three years. And from Pardubice I went to Činoherní klub. I was already a real actor by that time.” Interviewer: “So you settled in Činoherní klub in Prague…” – “As if they had forgotten that I had no theatre education. Nobody ever brought that up.” Interviewer: “Not even later, when they wanted to get rid off you?” – “Well, then they did...”
“So we went and I turned back to Major Schramm Street and two cars appeared in front of me and they started pressing me. I switched to the reverse gear and said: ´I’ll make it, I’ll back up and drive away.´ I was backing up and these two cars pressed me from the front. I thought: ´We’re in shit.´ So I locked the door and they started banging into the car. Immediately. ´In the name of the republic, in the name of the national committee,´ or what not, ´of the government of farmers and workers, open the door!´ Havel was already reaching out to open the door. I told him: ´Fuck them! See them banging into the car? When they beat their knuckles off, we open the door. But now they would just slam our mugs, see how pissed they are!´ So I eventually unlocked the door – the car had only two doors, you know, and in that instant, I only glimpsed the soles of Havel’s shoes. They pulled him out like a carpet roll. And shoved him into a car immediately. I resisted, I wouldn’t go, and I was shouting this nonsense: ´I know my rights, I know my rights as a motor-vehicle driver! I will park first...´ This made them think, they hesitated whether they should shoot us or what...” Interviewer: “And were there some bystanders?” – “Yes, there were. And some guy was calling out: ´Mr. Landovský is shooting a film again!´ I thought I would shit my pants as I was laughing. And they made one of them get into my car, and he ordered me to drive in their fleet: ´Follow the car in front of you!´ They took Havel and Vaculík captives. And they took away the charters from me, I had them in my car. Havel was in one car, Vaculík in another, and they set out. And I was just driving my car.”
In face of an evil regime, each of us should do what they are capable of - but nothing less!
Pavel Landovský was born September 11, 1936 in Německý (Havlíčkův) Brod in a family of an agricultural technician. He was trained to become a tool engineer, studying at a high school in Teplice. He started his career as an actor (without any previous education in acting) in Šumperk, and through Klatovy and Pardubice he got to Prague, where in the 1960s he became one of the foremost actors in the Činoherní klub. In 1977 he signed the Charter 77 and became involved in the activities of the opposition, he was also acting in the so-called living-room theatre (Play Macbeth). In 1979 he went to act in Burgtheater for two years, but after that he was forced to remain in Austria. After the revolution in 1989 he acted alternately on Czech and German stages, and his career included a number of roles both in theatre and film. Landovský is an influential Czech actor and playwright. Among others, he acted in the following films and plays: Wedding As It Should Be, Private Torment, Pension for Single Gentlemen, Markéta Lazarová, Unbearable Lightness of Being, Black Barons, Empties. Theatre plays: The Hour Hotel Keeper, A Case for a Village Policeman, Arrest, Sanitary Night, This Time We Get Rich. Pavel Landovský died on October the 10th 2014