Czech archbishop sues Brno theatre over explicit religious play

Czech archbishop sues Brno theatre over explicit religious play

17 July 2018

One of Czechia’s leading religious figures is set to a sue a theatre in Brno for two R-rated productions featuring explicit scenes of Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Dominik Duka says that the Centre for Experimental Theatre “infringed his rights” with two controversial one-off performances of Our Violence and Your Violence and Curse.

Directed by Croatia’s Oliver Frljic for the city’s International Theater Festival earlier this year, the offerings featured an effigy of Pope John Paul II being hung by the neck and a man depicting Christ raping a Muslim woman.

Frljic, whose previous plays also sparked outrage in Slovenia and Poland, claimed that the shocking imagery forced audiences to reflect on Europe’s own behaviour in the Middle East.

In a lawsuit however, Duka said that the depiction of Christ as a criminal could leave him ridiculed and undermined for his faith. The archbishop is now appealing to the court to force the theatre to issue an online apology to stay on their website for the next six months. “[The court must] decide what is art and what is deliberate harming another person and their rights,” he told the Czech media.

The theatre has denied the claims, with center director Petr Oslzly claiming that he didn’t understand how the play could harm Duka’s rights when the archbishop had not seen the performance.

“[The play poses] a number of unpleasant questions: are we aware that our wealth depends on the thousands of dead in the Middle East? Are we grieving for the victims of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, [with] those who died in Baghdad or Kabul? When did we convince ourselves that our God was more powerful than all the others?,” the production team wrote to describe Our Violence and Your Violence.

Duka is not the only public figure to raise concerns about the play. Thirty activists from the right-wing Decent People movement also stormed Brno’s Husa na Provazku during the performance of Our Violence and Your Violence, delaying the show by an hour.

Source: News Mavens