Vol. 40: Independently Standing Signs at the Ultramodern Peoplefs Theater in Prague

The film Amadeus depicting the rivalry between Mozart and Salieri is famed for its fastidiousness in making use of buildings and furnishings contemporary with the story. However, most of the film was shot in Prague, a city which retains much of the atmosphere that Mozart would have known in his youth. The location used for the opera scenes is a breath-taking wooden theater in the city.

I had heard that this theater was still being used today as the home of Czech National Theater, and so I searched for it on the map. But what I actually encountered was an ultramodern building comprising an auditorium surrounded with black glass blocks and a lobby of transparent glass. I was disappointed, thinking that the building had been rebuilt, and it was only later that I found out that this was in fact not the National Theater but the Peoplefs Theater. It turned out that the National Theater and the Peoplefs Theater were entirely different buildings. Giving the matter second thoughts, it would indeed have been inconceivable to have demolished a building which can be considered one of the great cultural treasures of the Czech nation.

All the same, the signs at the Peoplefs Theater were absolutely wonderful. They were set apart in front of the all-glass wall, but on a scale suited to the magnificence of the building. The signs and the building thus successfully set each other off. The classically styled building on the other side of the road was reflected in the glass walls, creating a mysterious sense of harmony.

I hope to gain the opportunity to see the inside of the National Theater on my next visit to Prague.

1998 Copyright (c) All Japan Neon-Sign Association