Blood, Love and Rhetoric is an artist-driven organization dedicated to bringing the highest quality English language theater and improvised comedy to Prague. Since 2009, we have produced scores of productions with a focus on theatrical innovation and original scripted works, improvisation, music and comedy. While staging our own productions, we are informed and inspired by our home in Prague and the greater Czech Republic. Through our original plays, we aim to serve our community of Czechs, internationals and visitors to our city with works that are foremost entertaining, but relate immediately to our community by employing methods of alchemy, box theory, absurdism and especially comedy. Our plays have been performed in venues all over Prague, from large scale musicals at 500-seat houses on Wenceslas Square to an intimate production of Pinter in a basement in Vrsovice. Presently, we have taken a 100-seat home at D21 in Vinohrady where we will perform a season of original plays in repertoire and weekly improvisation shows. Locally, through our long-running improvisation format: The Comedy Improv Show, we foster work with the local Czech community by hosting a monthly bi-lingual Czech/English comedy improvisation battle where we have performed with over a dozen Czech Improvisation groups including Kis, Kosa, Improvariace, Improverti and many others. We’ve also been honored to host and perform with many amazing international artists such as Jet City (Seattle, WA), Rocket Sugar Factory (Austria), Jaap Blonk (Netherlands) and Men With Coconuts (Edinburgh, Scotland) Since our founding, we have staged over 100+ individual productions of works by playwrights including Pinter, Mamet, Havel, Marlowe, Buchner, Chekhov, Durrenmatt and Ibsen as well as original works of Czech-Sploitation, Dada, Alchemical Realism and American Expressionism. Alongside over 500+ improvisational shows, we have become Prague’s most prolific English language theatre.
“We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They're all blood, you see.”
TOM STOPPARD, from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Blood, Love & Rhetoric was founded in November 2009 by Matthew Blood-Smyth, Jim High and Logan Hillier – the name of the company being taken from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by the Czech-British writer Tom Stoppard. The actors had all met during work with various companies operating in the city at the time – Prague Playhouse, Akanda, Black Snow and Prague Shakespeare Festival – and decided to create their own troupe.
In April 2010, the company worked with students of the English College in Prague and New York University in Prague to put together a production of Vaclav Havel’s The Memorandum in Divadlo na Zabradli. In the summer of that year a production of Pinter’s Ashes to Ashes supported by Blood, Love & Rhetoric received a 4-star review in Broadway Baby at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
From 2010 to 2012 they explored a variety of different playwrights including Marlowe, Pirandello, Strindberg, Pinter, Buchner, Durrenmatt and adapted or created original work in various different venues such as Studio Alt@, Alfred ve dvoře, Inspirace, Divadlo D21, Galerie in Beseda, the Donkey in the Cradle, and Divadlo na Prádle. Since Beathe Linde joined the company as a director in 2013 Blood, Love & Rhetoric has also explored tragedies, especially those of the Norwegian master Henrik Ibsen.
Blood, Love & Rhetoric has been no stranger to music, either. With the support of the award-winning Ivan Mikyška, and Prague-based bands CCTV All-Stars and Duchess and the Kittens, they have staged musical versions of the stories of Lovecraft (2010 and 2012), original work such as Hemiplegia (2012), Woyzeck (2012), Medway (2013), How Much? Herna Bar: The Musical (2015) and Tim Rice’s Chess: The Musical (2013), which was performed in the 400-seat Divadlo Palac on Václavské náměstí.
In 2012 Blood, Love & Rhetoric’s first improvisational comedy show was performed in the aftermath of one of the plays and was an immediate hit with audiences. The improv troupe is now led by Jim High, Marc Cram and Dan Brown, who lead the way teaching workshops and performing regular shows in Malá Strana and Dejvice venues.
With over fifty productions in Prague, Blood, Love & Rhetoric Theatre in its characteristically dark, funny and irreverent style is a fixture in the English-language cultural scene in Prague and their plays are enjoyed by thousands of people, both locals and tourists, every year.
Tom Stoppard, whose play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was the first produced by Blood, Love & Rhetoric in November 2009, with two of the company's founders, Matthew Blood-Smyth (left) and Jim High (right). The promotional poster includes several actors who remain active with the company today: Logan Hillier, Jim High, John Poston, Curt Matthew, Beathe Linde and Aneta Kölblová.