Professor, PhDr. Ivan Vyskočil

* 1929  †︎ 2023

  • "A totalitarian regime cannot have a sense of humour, because humour means feedback: to turn around, go backwards and come forward again. So, humour wants movement, not to stay in one place. Humour doesn't want to argue, it wants to question. Humour actually wants to make fun. And sometimes it takes a very long time to figure out what the joke is. Sometimes it takes an awfully long time to find out what gallows humor is - and with gallows humor it usually starts! The Bolshevik hates something like that, because the Bolshevik wants to get it right from the start, and he wants to be sure that it is not only right, but that it is also productive, profitable."

  • "The sixties always come up for a while, but they need a calmness. Because when calmness is missed, the concentration is missed as well. When we get concentration and calmness, the sixties will appear or return. Now that I am leaving AMU, I see how much people need to take their time, to learn waiting and calmness instead of rushing. That's the main issue of the sixties for me: it's about a calmness that has meaning, that knows it's waiting for something and that what it's waiting for is substantial. Because these are things that you constantly suspect, but you have to wait to find out, and it's not just a hunch."

  • "Communist regimes have mostly lost money because profit allows doubt, risk-taking. And communist regimes usually didn't take risks in business, they wanted to have everything ready from the beginning."

  • "When I was about fifteen, students in grammar and high schools were organized as Technische Nothilfe. They went to clean up the rubble in Kačerov, on the waterfront, in Vysočany. Everywhere we were delegated as students to look for corpses. I was afraid to find a dead person, but even that happened to me..."

  • “I thought: ‘Fine, I will work with you, and we will try to do it for as long as they permit us.’ He replied: ‘People don’t come to see the things I do. Let’s do it together in another way so that people start coming.’ I told him: ‘I don’t know how, but we will give it a try. We need to think of a name, we need to give a name to what we do.’ We thus decided that we would call it ‘Text-appeal.’ This word was suggestive of another alluring word, but we meant it seriously with our texts. We wanted to write texts which would be appealing and attractive, which would somehow make an impact on people. To our surprise, it began to be received well.”

  • “My living at home in Spořilov actually ended with my graduation from secondary school. That was in 1948, which was also the year when the communist coup d’état happened. Not only had my childhood thus come to an end, but also that feeling of freedom. What followed was actually very thrilling. It was a way of keeping one’s character in the time or environment which did not give many opportunities for that. That was at the conservatoire, as well as later at the psychology department of the Faculty of Arts.”

  • “I remember the war – you had to be careful where and to whom you spoke. The same thing then remained true for the following forty years. When we were at the secondary school, at the drama conservatoire, we held nightly fire watches from the fourth grade onwards. We were divided into groups of three. We always looked forward to it, because we were locked up in the school building at night, and naturally we did some pranks. We went to see the drawing classroom, then we yelled in the hallways, and we simply did things that were not allowed at the time when the teaching staff and the principal and the other students were present, and when we just had to walk the hallways silently and tread lightly. So this was kind of refreshing, in a way. The night fire watches were held in 1943-1944, and night air raids were reported at that time, too, together with some other less pleasant things like having to go to hide in a shelter and dealing with these things, writing reports, and so on. Yes, that was in 1944, and I was fifteen and I was in the fourth and fifth grade of secondary school.”

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    DAMU, 18.12.2013

    délka: 02:09:56
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu A Century of Boy Scouts
  • 2

    Praha, 07.02.2020

    délka: 01:49:39
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 3

    Praha, 20.06.2020

    délka: 01:26:11
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of the 20th Century TV
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

The Scout motto ‘Be prepared’ means to be prepared for the good as well as for the bad

Ivan Vyskočil on July 1962
Ivan Vyskočil on July 1962
zdroj: Dobové foto: červenec 1962, fotil Emanuel Frynta, zdroj: Současné foto: vyfoceno během rozhovoru

Prof. PhDr. Ivan Vyskočil was born April 27, 1929 in Prague as the oldest of four children. His father worked as a clerk and later he ran a book-binding shop. Ivan Vyskočil grew up in the Prague neighborhood Spořilov, where he became introduced to Boy Scouts. He graduated from the academic grammar school in Prague, and after his graduation he studied acting and directing from 1948 to1952 at the Drama Conservatoire, which later became the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU). In 1952-1957 he studied psychology, pedagogy and philosophy at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. He was doing his practical training as an external instructor in correction facilities. In 1957-1959 he taught psychology at DAMU. At the same time he began acting in the Reduta Theatre together with Jiří Suchý in performances which he named ‘text-appeals.‘ In 1958 Ivan Vyskočil established Theatre Na zábradlí together with Helena Philippová and Vladimír Vodička, and he was active as its director, playwright and actor. After leaving Theatre Na zábradlí, in 1963 he returned to Theatre Reduta where he established Nedivadlo (‘Non-Theatre‘). From the 1960s he was publishing his own texts and radio plays, and cooperating with the Czechoslovak Radio as an author and presenter. After 1968 he was forced to leave Reduta and his works were censored or completely forbidden from publishing. From 1971 Ivan Vyskočil taught acting at the People‘s Art School in Josefská Street as part of courses for the working public. The ban on his works was lifted after 1989 and some of them were remade for television broadcast. In 1992 he established the Department of Authorial Creation and Pedagogy at DAMU, and he served as its director until 2003. At present he continues teaching at the department and he is a member of the academic senate at DAMU, member of the arts council at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) and member of the arts council of DAMU. Ivan Vyskočil died on April 28, 2023.