Ordinary people

普通人 - Obyčejní lidé

  • Indiscipline
  • Show
The 2019 archive

Wen Hui and Jana Svobodová

Beijing - Prag / First time in France

Halfway between documentary theatre and dance, words and movements bear witness to lives tried by Czech and Chinese totalitarianism.

Ordinary people © Christophe Raynaud de Lage


There's something exceptional about normal people. Women, men, dancers, musicians, a worker, an artist, a self-taught director, young and old, Czech or Chinese, these ordinary people lay themselves bare onstage in their own language. Through touches of nostalgia, moving and funny anecdotes, memorable historic events, and personal tragedies, they lead us into their lives. Fears, wounds, hopes for freedom, each in turn tells us of a trajectory derailed by the excesses of a totalitarian communist regime. China, Czechoslovakia... So far, and yet so close! Language drives them apart, but History brings them together. Memories help build a bond. The sincerity of the words answers the memory of the bodies. Dance movements, silly songs, images projected onto a screen, and the clinking of objects against mobile barriers fill the space, forever restructuring it. In a show halfway between documentary theatre and dance, Jana Svobodová and Wen Hui give us to see emotionally-charged fragments of those extraordinary lives.

Born in 1962, Jana Svobodová graduated in 1987 from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where she resides. Since 1997, she has taken part in dramatic projects with a strong social and political bent. Her creations have been performed in the Czech Republic, South Africa, and the United States. She is the artistic director of Archa.lab and of the Akcent International Festival of Documentary Theatre.

Born in 1960, Wen Hui studied traditional Chinese dance and choreography at the Beijing Dance Academy. She studied with Trisha Brown, then with Pina Bausch's company in 1995. She founded Living Dance Studio, the first independent dance studio in China, in 1994, with documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang. Her creations use dance, text, and documentary film (Memory in 2008, Red in 2015) to tell the story of her country through the memory of bodies. 


With Jan Burian, Jaroslav Hrdli?ka, Pavel Kotlík, Li Yuyao, Pan Xiaonan,
Philipp Schenker, Vladimír T?ma, Wen Hui, Wen Luyuan

Direction Jana Svobodová, Wen Hui
Dramaturgy Ond?ej Hrab assisted by Lonneke van Heugten, Carmen Mehnert
Music Jan Burian
Lights Pavel Kotlík
Video Jaroslav Hrdli?ka
Direction assistant Valida Babayeva


Production Archa Theatre
Co-production Hellerau European Centre for the Arts Dresde as part of the European project Theatron
With the support of Culture Program, Onda - Office national de diffusion artistique
In partnership with France Médias Monde

Practical infos



Read more