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September 2024 Next


Laterna magika

A horror-like performance inspired by the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe.


“He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower—is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention.” 

(Edgar Allan Poe: The Pit and the Pendulum) 


The performance is inspired by selected short stories – The Pit and the Pendulum, Hop-Frog and The Masque of the Red Death, which form the basic dramaturgic structure and are interconnected with a series of atmospheres and messages as varied as Poe’s work. Edgar Allan Poe and the characters of his fantastic universe are brought to life in the performance prepared by Laterna magika, combining dance, singing, original music score, instrumental music, vivid stage design and striking costumes, objects, and marionettes. The performance is inspired by selected short stories, which form the basic dramaturgic structure and are interconnected with a series of atmospheres and messages as varied as Poe’s work. The creators open the dark corners of his soul while also revealing his brilliant sense of humour and exquisite poetry. Poe was a master of mocking as well as honouring the whole range of human characters, demonising evil and sense of power, poetising purity and beauty, and reflecting the intrinsic attributes in the character’s physiognomy. The eye-catching costumes, lyrical and hyperbolic, are funny and scary at the same time. Endless labyrinths of dark rooms and corners and omnipresent supernatural creatures – fairies, phantoms, demons, beasts – accentuate the murky atmosphere. The intangible figures materialise thanks to the Peppper’s Ghost effect, which was known in Poe’s times and was first presented to the public in 1860.


Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) is considered the founder of the detective story genre and the source of inspiration for other well-known authors, such as Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and her Hercules Poirot, or J. K. Rowling and Alfred Hitchcock. Poe also introduced the quintessential – and often ludicrous – duo of a detective and his assistant.  


Poe had the rare talent of revealing the suspected. He had a gift of materialising incredible and fantastic worlds, as well as of finding magical and universal messages in common situations which are still relevant today. His work was strongly influenced by the dark age of England of his times. He wrote about irrationality, violence, madness, fears, poverty, but also the beauty and sense of life. He was charmed by natural sciences and mysticism; he wrote a wonderful essay on the circle of life and death, philosophy, the God … His poetry shows innovative approaches and the search for perfection, which was possible in literature if not in the miserable reality. This was completely true for him. Poe greatly suffered from the lack of his parents’ affection. Loss and fear were common themes of his work, yet he also wrote poetic and symbolic personal confessions as an expression of his sensible soul. Death is an inseparable companion of love and beauty, just like darkness is of light. Poe’s work is full of humour and irony, showing many parallels to our current existence and the humankind as such. His life was no short of his literary universe. Poe, the son of a good actress and a poor actor who was an alcoholic, was born with the sense of drama in his genes. As a little boy, he swam 6 miles against the current in the James River in Richmond, and then swam against the current for the rest of his short life, during which he lost all his close relatives. Despite being one of the best known and appraised authors worldwide, Poe always doubted the meaningfulness of his work. Only four people came to his funeral, and his gravestone had accidentally broken before it was even placed on his grave.


Suitable for audience from 14 years. 

Program and cast

Approximate running time: 1 hour 30 minutes, no intermission

Language: In Czech, surtitles in English

Morning performances from 10am do not include English surtitles.



Vladimír Javorský

Tereza Maxmilián Marečková

Vojtěch Rak

Zuzana Herényiová

Tereza Kučerová

Alexandr Sadirov

Patrik Čermák

Leo Terris

Adam Sojka

Leonard Vo Tan

Lukas Lizama Garrido

Matilde Giacomelli


Creative team

Translation - Josef Schwarz; Ladislav Šenkyřík; Václav Černý; Anna Kučerová; Marie Brožová

Choreography & Stage direction - Lenka Vagnerová

Sets - Eva Jiřikovská; Ivan Acher

Costumes - Eva Jiřikovská

Music, projection, dramaturgy - Ivan Acher

Light design - Michal Kříž

Sound design - Eva Svobodová

Text adaptation - Lenka Vagnerová; Vladimír Javorský

Assistant stage director - Soňa Hájek Bartková

Assistants projection - Roman Dušek; Julius Štefa

Photo gallery
Vojtěch Brtnický
© Vojtěch Brtnický
Vojtěch Brtnický
© Vojtěch Brtnický
Vojtěch Brtnický
© Vojtěch Brtnický

The New Stage

A theatre building constructed in 1983, a stage with a specific dramaturgy. You can see there Laterna magika and Drama performances and a number of other original projects.


The New Stage today


After a period of 18 years independence (1992–2009) when the New Stage served as home stage for e ensemble Laterna magika, the New Stage became part of the National Theatre in January 2010, so did the Laterna magika ensemble.


The New Stage of the National Theatre serves nowadays as an open space for performing arts with its separate management, a separate managerial unit within the National Theatre. The programming focuses primarily on contemporary cultural trends. The spotlight is aimed at contemporary dance, progressive drama alternatives, interactive performances, urban culture phenomena, multimedia projects, family programs and more. The New Stage has been since January 2010 playing an active part at the cultural scene in Prague providing the original concept of creative artistic institution within the structure of National Theatre.


The New Stage is open to both Czech and international audience and the programming meets the needs of both audiences. The repertoire of the New Stage can be divided into three parts: performances  by the Drama and Ballet Ensemble of the National Theatre and performances by the artistic ensemble Laterna magika. The remaining third of the repertoire is devoted to international guest performances, local and international co-productions, emerging artists in theatre and visual arts, contemporary dance, workshops, conferences, festivals and other accompanying programs. The repertoire of the New Stage includes also a wide-range of special projects and one-off events that take place both in the New Stage building as well as the piazzeta of the National Theatre.


By car

To the centre (Old Town), approach on Masarykovo nábřeží (Masaryk embankment) in the direction from the Dancing House, at the fork crossroads in front of the National Theatre turn right to Divadelní street and then right again to Ostrovní street to the National Theatre car park. Parking costs 50 CZK/h. 


By tram

By daytime trams Nos. 6, 9, 18 and 22 or night trams Nos. 53, 57, 58, 59 to the stop “Národní divadlo”, by daytime tram No. 17 to the stop “Národní divadlo”.


By metro

To the station “Můstek”, line B (yellow), and then by foot along Národní street, or to the station “Karlovo náměstí” and then two stops by trams No. 6, 18 or 22 to the stop “Národní divadlo” To the station “Staroměstská”, line A (green), and then two stops by tram No. 17 to the stop “Národní divadlo”. 

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