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University of Iowa News Release


April 26, 2007

UI Press Releases Book On Czech Theatre Design

"Czech Theatre Design in the Twentieth Century," edited by Joe Brandesky, will be available Tuesday, May 1, from the University of Iowa Press.

The book will be available for sale at bookstores and online retailers, or directly from the University of Iowa Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa may order from the Eurospan Group online at

This compilation of essays and images reveals Czech contributions to the world of modern theatre largely unseen outside that country. Featuring the craft of 27 of the best stage and costume designers of the 20th century, Brandesky documents their consistently high quality and dynamic creativity, survival skills for a people whose national identity had been dismantled during many years of occupation and repression.

Essays by Vera Ptácková, Dennis Christilles, Delbert Unruh and Marie Zdenková, their full texts restored and reedited for this volume since their initial publication in exhibit catalogs, provide historical and linguistic insights into contemporary Czech scenography, as well as comparisons to the major art movements affecting the designers. Brandesky's introductory essay contextualizes the shifting tenets of Czech theater design.

Also included are biographies of the designers, a bibliography and 30 black-and-white photographs.

An accompanying CD provides access to images of the Czech theatrical world with 138 colorful paintings and drawings of costumes, models and set designs, and in situ photos of exhibited designs, plus 27 color and black-and-white photos of the designers. The CD also includes the full text of the book with links to all the art and to the designers' biographies.

Brandesky is a professor of theater at Ohio State University-Lima. Most of his professional career has been devoted to bringing visually expressive examples of Russian and East European theatre to the attention of American audiences. In 2000 he co-created and edited the catalog for the U.S. exhibit "Metaphor and Irony: Czech Scenic and Costume Design 1920-1999," and in 2004 he produced the exhibit "Metaphor and Irony 2: Frantisek Tröster and Contemporary Czech Theatre Design" and co-created and edited its catalog.

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