Honza Petružela: To build bridges between the center and the outskirts

Creative dramaturgical and producing unit Fujaré has been working in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm and its surroundings since 2016. It organizes the nternational festival of human voice called Hlasy, an unconventional concert cycle where folklore encounters with other genres, a live summer cinema with music, theater and music workshops, lectures, discussions, happenings… What did the last year bring to him and what he would like to realize in the new one - these are the issues discussed with Honza Petružela, who also acts as editor-in-chief of the theatrical magazine Theatrical Revue.

What does Fujaré mean? Does it have something to do with the name of a sonorous Slovak musical instrument, your connection to the local region and folklore you are also interested in?

Our name describes us perfectly - open at the end, playful, a little bit weird, a bit hilarious ... Although we dramaturgically started with folklore because we enjoy working with the place we live in, we have not focused just on it. Our very first show - a cycle Hudební fujaré which we have been producing for the fourth year - was based on folklore. So you can see the tradition! Overlap of folklore music with the musicians from other genres still form unexpected mergers and improvisations. And generationally mixed audience as well as the musicians who don't come across this model so often appreciate it. From the very beginning, we didn’t want only to import the productions to Rožnov, but we also tried to have overlaps in our productions. We search, we try, we seek, we connect different things, we offer new productions, we try to inspire others, we simply do fujaré.

Fujaré is engaged in a variety of activities. Nevertheless, what is its main mission?

Fujaré should inspire, ferment, act as a catalyst. We do not have our own space, so we "inhabit" different places in the town. So different audience is set up and we have to collaborate with different subjects and create events fitted to specific spaces and people. It is not about doing "just" cultural actions, but also about thinking about the place we live in more complexly and widely - what we can offer to it, how we could develop it. That is why we have gradually been expanding and deepening our focus. Not only do we realize concert productions and the summer cinema, but we also started to offer lectures and discussions about the civil society and happenings. In 2018 we also organized civil protests in the framework of the national events of the Million Moments for Democracy. So, back to your question - my answer is culture - civil society - yeast.

Could you tell us more about the successful projects realized in the last year and the novelties for the new year?

Fujaré is for the three of us the leisure activity on which we don’t rely on financially. Unfortunately, our time capability isn’t sufficient to cover all the activities. So we're glad that we are able to keep the current shows and events, because they've attracted certain audiences and they have been successful. Moreover, certain awareness about traditional events within the year was established. We also managed the second annual of the international music festival of the human voice Hlasy, even though we were flushed by a storm in the middle of the event. The second half of the festival was then realized unplugged in a wallachian barn. But what made me most happy was the project prepared in cooperation with the town library. Within this project, 153 places all around the Czech Republic and abroad reminded the events of August 1968 and brought the issue of occupation (and not only the August one) into the streets, among the people, even the young ones (“Mom, why are here these soldiers?”).
So no big plans for 2019. We just want to go on and keep the existing. Nevertheless, the circumstances always make us do something. We plan something on the occasion of the anniversary of November 1989, in cooperation with the town library ... To sum it up, it would be great to welcome a new member in our team (yeah, it sounds like a challenge).

You are significantly involved in musical projects ... What are your activities in the field of theater?

Our theater activities have been so far realized through theatrical tours: we put the theaters lovers to the bus and go twice a year to Ostrava to see a high-quality dramaturgy of smaller scenes. I give a lecture on the bus on the production, and I'm delighted that the audience endures it and appreciates the piece about Eichmann and the people come back next time. And our happenings have got a theatrical features as well, such as Invaze18. I call it urban games. The theatrical features are present in our actions in general, having the changing potential or at least being an impulse. We have a lot of ideas as far the theater is concerned. Gradually, we are going to focus on them and we are looking forward to it.

You are active both in Prague and Rožnovsko. In what way could the Praguers be inspired by those from Rožnov and vice versa?

Interesting and not very well researched is the phenomenon of the "returnees", people who after some time of gaining experience return to their birthplace. In my view, it is a significant issue and I am sorry that it is overshadowed by more visible trend of leaving the regions. I lived in Prague sixteen years, but four years ago I and my wife came back home and suddenly great opportunities appeared, hand in hand with new problems, indeed. Linking centers and suburbs is important. The society could not function without it. And apparently, it should be built from the bottom upwards and mutually. Bridges need to be built. And it is essential to be prepared to the local politicians’ reactions like: Do it in Prague, you intellectuals!

What have you recently enjoyed in culture?

I am very glad that other and other cultural projects and places in Bohemia, Slovakia, Poland and elsewhere appear, sometimes thanks to Nová síť, places that are creative and attract other and other devoted people. And it makes sense. And if I should name one project, I would mention great Maryša performed in the Petr Bezruč Theater.

What, on the contrary, has disappointed you?

I am disappointed by incompetence, aggressiveness, boredom, stupidity and idiocy of the competent people both in culture and elsewhere. I was disappointed that when we made a carnival happening with live music on the anniversary of November 17th in Rožnov, lots of young people were sitting in the pub because November was not an issue for them... And I am really sorry I did not get tickets for Breughel in Vienna although I had promised my wife to take her there ...

What are your wishes?

I wish people did not sit at home and rather went to culture, together with their children and their friends. I wish we were able to laugh at ourselves. I wish that the thirtieth anniversary of November 1989 were celebrated by abdication of the Stb prime minister and the president (in fact, they do not have to wait until November) . And my last wish is no rain during the festival Hlasy.