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Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...

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Happy Birthday Hurvínek! A Czech Puppet Icon Turns 90

Published on May 05th, 2016 in Entertainment

  • Hurvínek and Žeryk, vintage photo (courtesy of Divadlo Spejbla a Hurvínka facebook page)

  • Spejbl and Hurvínek puppet theater (courtesy of Divadlo Spejbla a Hurvínka facebook page)

  • Spejbl and Hurvínek,vintage photo (courtesy of Divadlo Spejbla a Hurvínka facebook page)

  • Josef Skupa and Hurvínek (courtesy of http://alchetron.com/)

  • Josef Skupa with Spejbl and Hurvínek (courtesy of Divadlo Spejbla a Hurvínka facebook page)

  • Josef Skupa and Hurvínek (courtesy of http://alchetron.com/)

  • Spejbl and Hurvínek puppet theater (courtesy of Divadlo Spejbla a Hurvínka facebook page)

 

This week marks the 90th birthday of a Czech icon – Hurvínek, the beloved Czech puppet created by puppeteer Josef Skupa.

 

Hurvínek is the younger half of the father-son comedy duo Spejbl and Hurvínek. Conceived by Skupa in the early 1920s, the artist perfected his act (dim-witted father, hyperactive son) in the cabarets of Western Bohemia.

 

Skupa’s puppets, created by master woodcarver Karel Nosek, are also known for the politically-charged performances that landed their puppeteer in a German prison during the Nazi occupation.

 

Luckily Skupa escaped from Dresden and by 1945 the pair had gained such popularity that a dedicated Spejbl and Hurvínek theater was established.

 

The theater is still there today and has been enjoyed by generations of Czech children and their families, mine included.

 

The company has even gone out on tour with S + H and their roommates Ms. Kateřina, Mánička, and Žeryk the dog, performing in more than 30 countries in 20-plus languages.

 

Read more about the fascinating history of Spejbl and Hurvínek here.

 

 

Chloe meets Spejbl and Hurvínek, and is delighted! 

 

 

For locals and any visitors who are curious about the history of marionettes in the Czech Republic, I recommend catching a performance at the original Spejbl and Hurvínek puppet theater, located in an historic building in the Prague district of Dejvice.

 

While the performances are not English-friendly, they are visually satisfying enough to make it a worthwhile activity for puppetry enthusiasts and the bizarre adventures that characterize each show are definitely something to behold.

 

Children will especially enjoy the candy store and giant marionettes (touching is encouraged!) in the lobby.

 

Not able to catch a performance? A new exhibit in honor of Hurvínek’s birthday will be opening later this month at the Old Town Hall in the heart of Old Town Square.

 

Posters, photographs, and, most importantly, the past and present puppets used to bring these legendary Czech characters to life will be on view.

 

The exhibit runs from May 16-June 26.

 

 

Theater of Spejbl and Hurvínek

Dejvická 38, Prague 6
www.spejbl-hurvinek.cz/en/
tel +420 224 316 784
metro Dejvická

 

Old Town Hall (Staroměstské radnice)

Staroměstské náměstí 1/3, Prague 1
www.staromestskaradnicepraha.cz/
tel +420 236 002 629
hours Mon 11:00 – 22:00; Tues – Sun 9:00 – 22:00
metro Staromestka, Můstek

 

 

 

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