International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People Association

Mezinárodní asociace divadel Pro děti a mládež

Association Internationale du Theatre pour l´Enfance et la Jeunesse


2008 – Jiří Vyšohlíd

Actor, Director, and Music Composer

Even though Jiří Vyšohlíd –  companion and one of the closest colleagues of Josef Krofta – has been working in the theater DRAK for 30 years now, he still perceives his work there as an exciting adventure. His theater and life vitality have made him a younger man by many years. His passion for cycling in any kind of weather is also one of the reasons for his inexhaustible vitality. His energy is well known among his colleagues. When everyone around is tired after ten hours of rehearsals, Jiří Vyšohlíd is still full of life, and then he starts to play one of his many musical instruments, lead four puppets at once, advise a sound designer, and correct off-key tones played by his colleagues… One must admire Jiří´s focus on details that he examines from every possible angle and his precise analytical approach to it. One can say that Jiří is a treasure seeker within the theater – he does not let go until he finds it and exposes it to his audience’s and to his own joy. And the theater DRAK has experienced many of these joys.

(from the website of the theater Divadlo DRAK)


Confession of Jiří Vyšohlíd in the magazine Loutkář (1993)

Dependency on the theater DRAK: “It is an old, endless love – my current problem. One day a man is destined to find out that something, that he used to love and regarded as his, has changed. It’s rather senility and nostalgia for the old days. We try to deal with it individually – man, I say, thank God that it even happened and that it lasted that long. Those days we used to live in Hradec and everything what we did, we put into it one hundred percent, starting with Krofta up to the last person in the studio. Nobody did anything else – today, everything “around” is very distracting. Most people have existential problems – where to get money for your family. But maybe, it is one of my optical illusions…

Further, what gets me is that some new theater members feel a bit more “free” than it should be healthy – some things that are important for theater, as discipline, they are not willing to accept. But, probably, it isn´t something harmful; it has nothing to do with creative work. When we were young, we were probably the same – and that is, exactly, the generation issue. On the other hand, they have a great advantage; they are talented in many ways today.  They sing, play musical instruments – they cannot only act, but they are also good musicians.  At that moment, the theater can afford to have live music on stage. Especially today when all the composed music is played through speakers, or it’s messed up by microphones, compared to this, all the live music sounds like heaven…”

Dependency on music and theater: That´s my life´s schizophrenia.  I´ve studied puppetry, but right before I was accepted to the school, I got hooked on music. I even played the clarinet. And, in fact, I lacked any musical education – as a child, I only used to play the piano for two years, but I was asked to quit, because I did not practice. But, probably, it was encoded in me, because I voluntarily returned to music later on. Then, with Mirek Vildman, who studied with me, we were hired at the same theater, and because he already knew everything about me, he asked me to write some music. So, I tried it – and suddenly I discovered that I was writing music into everything that we rehearsed, but I wasn´t ready to do it as an almost full blown professional. For a while I was leaning more toward the musical side of me, and it made me crazy to see how theater abused music, but shortly afterwards, I realized that it was the way it must have been. And these two points of view are still fighting within me.

All the rest of the musicians, who from time to time create something for theater, have certain advantage in comparison to me – they do their own music, and only here and there they are willing to submit to compose a specific music. I´ve never known that because I’ve never composed anything else but specific music. That´s why I´ve never had a chance to compose the music that burns within me. So, now in my old age, I fight with another dilemma – to quit theater and dedicate my time to my own music, or…oh my God, would I be even capable to do that?!

I am afraid to leave theater. Somebody does it for three years and is not afraid to leave. Not long time ago, several guys left after many years doing this, as Honza Bílek, Láďa Peřina. I, myself, saw that it wasn’t easy for them. After all, everyone has to have a lined-up plan in front of him, and I don´t have that. So, how long have I worked in Drak? – oh my God…!!”

Dependency on work: That´s the last screw into my coffin. I am an obvious workaholic.  So, as I used to be pushed to combine music with theater, I knew that I could only count on myself and couldn´t miss anything important.  And my effort to make everything right led into desire to make everything even more perfect. Today, I endlessly polish, re-write, cross out, and change every silly thing ten thousand times… I did not do that when I was young. When I find myself without work, I live in dread, it´s destroying me psychologically. Then, suddenly, I get a job, and I live in a constant stress not to mess anything up. So, the only occasion when I feel fine is when I am finishing something what is good. But that usually lasts only a few minutes, because then, I am already becoming scared if another project will come and when…