apap | nyc 11th january 2014
Showcase starts at 3 p.m. at BOHEMIAN NATIONAL HALL
321 EAST 73rd STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10021
9th january 2014
Show starts at 6 p.m. at THE CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ
29 Cornelia Street, NEW YORK, NY 10014
From authentic testimonies compiled by Tomáš Hrbek, Lucie Kolouchová, Daniel Hrbek and Brian Daniels.

This is the story of two people who went through the same places and experienced similar tragedies – and yet they never met. The paths of their lives crossed each other, but also passed each other by. Athlete Milos Dobry and actress Hana Pravda spent their working lives building suspense, knocking crowds into submission and drawing gasps from onlookers. Both survived Auschwitz and were first-hand witnesses to murder. Did they possess exceptional strength of character and an iron will, or was their survival just “good luck”? A remarkable piece of verbatim theatre, The Good and the True weaves the true testimonies of two extraordinary people into an English-language

adaptation of the award-winning Shoah, directed by Daniel Hrbek for Prague’s Svandovo Theatre. Actress Isobel Pravda is the granddaughter of survivor Hana Pravda; she plays her grandmother for the first time on stage. Actor Saul Reichlin is an award-winning actor whose own one-man play Sholom Aleichem has been performed in the West End, on Broadway and in most major European countries.

Supported by Czech Centre London, the Czech Ambassador and the Embassy of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, and the City of Prague. Thanks to Alex Pravda and his family, Milos Dobry and his family, Tomas Hrbek, and the Olomouc Jewish Community.

" An Ubearably Explicit Story You Will Remember Long After You Leave Theatre " ...read more
THE JEWISH TELEGRAPH
25TH JANUARY 2013
" A Captivating Holocaust Chronicle " ...read more
YORKSHIRE EVENING POST
by Sheena Hastings
24TH JANUARY 2013
" Isobel Honoured To Play Her Brave Grandmother " ...read more
THE HAMPSTEAD AND HIGHGATE EXPRESS
24TH JANUARY 2013
" Holocaust Diarist Is Played By Actress Granddaughter In The Good And The True " ...read more
LONDON EVENING STANDARD
by Dayla Alberge
11TH JANUARY 2013
Creative team
Director, set designer, musical selection: Daniel Hrbek
Dramaturgy: Lucie Kolouchová
Produced by: Svandovo Theatre
Cast
Milos Dobry Saul Reichlin
 
 
Sound designer:
Martin Hejl
Light designer: Kieran Dicker
Assistant director: Julek Neumann
 
Hana Maria Pravda Isobel Pravda

Hana Pravdova

Hana Pravdova was born Hana Becková in Prague on January 29, 1916. Her father Josef Beck was an architect and former Czech legionnaire. She studied drama under Olga Scheinpflugová and Karel Dostál, and acquired her first engagement at the Olomouc Theatre. In 1937, its director Oldřich Stibor sent her on a one-year study visit to work with Aleksei Dikiy at Leningrad’s Great Drama Theater. After her return in 1938, she was engaged at the Kladno Theatre and appeared as a guest performer at the Vinohrady Theatre, the National Theatre, and the Svandovo Theatre. During this time, she also created several films, including Marijka the Unfaithful and The First Kiss. Her promisingly developing career was interrupted by the Second World War. She was first transported to Terezin and later to Auschwitz, where her first husband Alexander Munk died in 1945.

 

Hana herself managed to escape from a death march at the war’s end. In 1945, now using the stage name Hana Alexandrová, she returned to the Svandovo Theatre (renamed the Realistic Theatre), where she met her second husband, actor Jiri Pravda. In 1949, they emigrated to Australia with their one-year-old son. They later settled in London, where they were active in film, theatre, and television. Jiří (who now called himself George) acted at prestigious theatres such as the Old Vic, alongside great actors such as Laurence Olivier. Besides acting, Hana Pravdová also worked as a director at small London theatres. George Pravda died in 1985. Hana Pravdova, known in England as Hana Maria Pravda, visited Bohemia (primarily Prague) several times after 1989. She died in London on May 22, 2008.

Milos Dobry

Milos Dobry was born Milos Gut in Prague on January 31, 1923. After Bohemia and Moravia were declared a German protectorate, he was expelled from school because of his Jewish background. In November 1941, he was sent on the first transport to Terezin as part of the camp’s Aufbaukommando (“construction commando”). His parents and brother Josef were transported to the camp in 1942. Here, he met his future wife Zuzana Beckmannova. In December 1943, Dobrý was transported to Auschwitz, and in July 1944 he was moved to a labor camp in Schwarzheide. Later, he and his brother Josef survived the death march. His parents and almost all his relatives died in concentration camps.

 

Zuzana Beckmannová survived her ordeal and married Dobry in 1949. They had two children. Back in Prague, he studied inorganic chemistry with a specialization in cement and started to play rugby for LTC Praha. He was so good at rugby that he became a member of the national team, with which he played many matches. In 1990, he was named the president of the Rugby Union. During this time, he also held lectures on the Holocaust at schools. Zuzana Dobra, born Beckmannová, died in 2010. She had two children with Miloš. Miloš Dobry died on November 23, 2012.
" This extraordinary play, adapted by Brian Daniels, about two young people who suffered at the hands of Nazi brutality and lived to tell the tale is a heroic survivor´s story.
Any play about those who endured the horrors of Auschwitz and survived is remarkable and this piece about two young people who suffer brutality, including starvation and beating, is no exception.
The young lives of actress Hana Pravda and athlete Milos Dobry took them to the same death camps, but they never met.
The Good and The True – translated from the award-winning Czech original and written from authentic testimonies compiled by Tomas Hrbek, Lucie Kolouchova, Daniel Hrbek and Brian Daniels – arrived in time to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
The story, well-crafted and at times unbearbly explicit, conveys the horrors that both young people endured at he hands of Nazi persecution – and the living hell of the camps where they witnessed murder and mayhem first-hand.
Both characters survived Theresienstadt and Auschwitz mainly because their will to live was unshakeable.
They became symbols of hope in the middle of unimaginable horrors that defy description.
Food, or the lack of it, is mentioned frequently – it wasn´t thought of starvation but „the fear they would never eat again“ that gnawed at them.
The role of Hana, who dies in 2008 aged 92, is taken by her granddaughter Isobel Pravda.
Ms Pravda was utterly persuasive, investing her performance with a quiet dignity and intelligence which was most effective and poignant.
Both Isobel and Saul Reichlin, who plays sportsman Milos, gave beautifully nuanced performances, moving about the stage like two cats on a hot tin roof – although here we have a symbolic railway track scattered with discarded shoes and boots.
The action on stage is executed behind a fence of barbed wire with atmospheric lighting and sharp sound effects, keeping the audience hooked on the other side as mere observers.
The play has some harrowing descriptions of brutality yet the message of hope in adversity rings out strongly.
Out of bad comes good and out of good comes truth – if that were not so then Milos and Hana would have perished along with six millions others.
Fortunately they survived and were able to recount their stories for future generations to listen to and learn from.
This is one of those nights at the theatre you will remember for a long time.
The Good and The True finishes tomorrow before moving on to West London Synagogue on Holocaust Memorial Day. "
John Fisher
25TH JANUARY 2013
" Sunday is Holocaust Memorial Day, hence the timing of this play. The sad fact is that there are the six millions stories of those who were exterminated, plus the testimony of people who lived through the horror but survived. Each one is good reason to keep the narrative alive.
Hana, a budding actress and Milos, an athlete, never met, but they passed through many of the same places, and their young lives were ravaged by what they experienced first in Terezin (Teresienstadt) and then in Auschwitz. Both managed to avoid the gas chambers by being fit and strong enough to do hard physical work for the Nazis.
This is their story, based on Hana´s journal, kept in the last months of the war, and interviews with both protagonists. Separate monologues are told by great character actor Saul Reichlin and the luminous Isobel Pravda (actress granddaughter of Hana, who went on to live and work in Australia then London).
Prague-based theatre company Svandovo Divadlo deserve our gratitude for bringing this piece on a UK tour, as does Leeds-based producer Brian Daniels, who adapted the English translation. "
Sheena Hastings
24TH JANUARY 2013
" The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor will play her elderly relative in memoir-based play about her life in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
The Good and The True was originally written in Czech and explores the true stories of survivors Milos Dobry and Hana Pravda,
Actress Isobel Pravda takes the lead role of Hana in the play which will be staged at the West London Synagogue in Seymour Place, off Edgware Road, on National Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27) in the presence of the Czech Ambassador.
There will also be a Holocaust Memorial Service at 6pm at the Synagogue to wich everyone of al faiths and religions is welcome.
The drama follows the fortunes of two Czechs forced to suffer for their Jewish heritage under Hitler. Hana, who dies in 2008, was a theatre and film actress deported to Theresienstadt and then Auschwitz. She escaped a death march and returned to Prague before settling in the UK where she was a theatre director. Dobry was also sent to Theresienstadt with his parents and brother. He survived Auschwitz and a death march before returing to Prague where he died in November 2012.
Isobel, whose career includes roles in Silent Witness, Murphy´s Law and Dark Matters, said: „This is possibly the most chalenging role I´ve taken on during my acting career. The terrible consequence of being Jewish that my Grandmother faced are ones endured by many ethnic group and must always be viewed as a brutal example of man´s inhumanity to man. I feel honoured to be able to tell her incredible story of strife and survival. "
THE HAMPSTEAD AND HIGHGATE EXPRESS
24TH JANUARY 2013
" A Holocaust survivor is to be portrayed by her own actress granddaughter in a new play for the London stage.
Hana Pravda – who died in 2008 aged 92 – suffered extreme brutality in the Nazi deah camps, including beating, starvation and other horrors which she said were too painful to record in her wartime diaries.
Now she is to be played by her son´s daughter, Isobel Pravda, in The Good and The True.
Translated from the Czech of he award-winning original, the play will be staged this month and will coincide with the National Holocaust Day, which commemorates the victims of Nazi persecution.
The Good and The True conveys the horrors endured by Hana, an actress, and Milos Dobry, a sportsman, as Jews in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Both survived Theresienstadt and Auschwitz.
Hana never saw her husband Alexander Munk again after they were deported to the death camps.
Her obituaries recored she was living testimony to the power of theatre to sustain the human spirit through the greatest of adversities. Having been sustained by Goethe and Gogol, she later recalled: „We had so little to eat, we were freezing all the time, but the sheer joy of being able to act...fed our souls.“
She was forced on a death march to Bergen-Belsen, but managed to escape to Prague, only to be devastated by news of her husband´s death. In her diary, one of the most vivid accounts of the Holocaust in the Imperial War Museum, she wrote that without him, „my life is meaningless“.
After the war, she rebuilt her life in Britain with her second husband, fellow actor George Pravda, The actors Dame Sygbil Thorndike and Sir John Gielgud recognised their talent and helped them. Hana found success as an actress on television and film, playing Orson Welles´s wife in John Huston´s The Kremlin Letter.
Her granddaughter, who has had roles in the BBC´s Murphy´s Law and Kenneth Branagh´s forthcomming film thriller Jack Ryan, said: „The terrible consequence of being Jewish that my Grandmother faced are ones endured by many ethnic group and must always be viewed as a brutal example of man´s inhumanity to man. I feel honoured to be able to tell her incredible story of strife and survival.“
The play – to be staged at the former New End Theatre in Hampstead from January 29 – was co-written by Brian Daniels, a playwright and producer. He said of the survivors: „You can only marvel at the human qualities of endurance“.
The production is supported by the Czech ambassador and the embassy of the Czech Republic. "
Dayla Alberge
11TH JANUARY 2013