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The Last Cyclist
Author(s): Naomi Patz
Dress rehearsal in Terezín of a bitterly funny absurdist allegory mocking Nazism and the evils of prejudice: Cyclists (Jews) are the victims of lunatics (Nazis) who escape their asylum to persecute bike riders. Many ridiculous misadventures later, the schlemiel of a hero defeats the lunatics by accidentally sending them to the moon on the rocket ship they had built to be rid of him, the last remaining cyclist. He tells the audience, “Go home! You are free!” but his girlfriend objects: “Only here on the stage is there a happy ending. Out there, where you are, the rule of madness continues.”
Format: Full length, with no intermission, minimal costuming and scenery.
Cast Size: The script calls for a minimum of 9 actors playing a variety of roles; best is 11-12 actors; script can include up to more than 20 actors in minor chorus-type roles.
Running time: 90 to 105 minutes
Notes:Original Source Material: Description of Švenk's original script in "Terezín," published by the Council of Jewish Communities in the Czech Lands, 1965; hand-typed copy of remembered and revised script by Jana Šedová and her collaborator Darek Vostřel in the library of the Theater Institute in Prague; Frantisek Zelenka drawings for sets and costumes; survivor memoirs.
The play by Naomi Patz is “reconstructed and reimagined” based on a cabaret by Karel Švenk, as adapted in 1961 by Jana Šedová, the only known survivor of the original cast.
Nationality of Author: U.S.
Original Language: English
English Language Translator: Rough translation into English by Zdenka Marečková, adapted and refined by Naomi Patz.
Production Rights Holder:
Contact Naomi Patz via The Last Cyclist website.
Experience(s) Chronicled: European Jewry Before the Holocaust | Allegoric or Metaphoric Representations | Concentration and Extermination Camps | Resistance | Theater During Holocaust