Master of Fine Arts Václav Bahník

* 1954

  • "He changed those Boy Scouts challenges, so he changed the names. So that nobody could attack him [the Boy Scouts were a banned organisation]. So that nobody could say 'What are you teaching to the children?' There's the three day trial, he named it Three gold rings. Gold ring as one day, passage of the Sun. But it was the same thing the Boy Scouts did: twenty-four hours of silence, twenty-four hours of fasting and twenty-four hours of self-reliance when a person, or a child had to go to the woods and remain unseen for twenty-four hours And nobody could find them even though they might be looking for them. What they called merit badges at Boy Scouts, he called it claws. And who passed all the claws challenges, he go a sort of bison head. He made the claw badges of synthetic clay, they had this hole so that they could be sewn on the shirt sleve like this, and there was a claw..."

  • “And for all the time they were staying, those twenty-one years, I felt as if it was eternity. And it's unbelievable, unbelievable that now, it's more years that they've been gone than the time they spent here. And I have this feeling, most of all, that it's not appreciated enough. I'll only name Michael Kocab, who was, like, the most seen […]. Sure, there were many more. Starting with VH and ending with, I do not know whom to name, who fought so that the armies would be gone as soon as possible. And back then, people used to say, 'Oh, there's plenty of time for that' and 'It will get done someday, now there are more pressing matters!' And they said 'Nope, this is important.' And they were right. And I think that it's underappreciated. That if it hadn't been dealt with this way, it could have ended up totally differently.”

  • "Whenever I saw a convoy of the Soviet army, I gasped... And I had this feeling that I would never live to see the end of this. And, sure, back then, new rules of the Czech language were developing. Four-grade comparison of adjectives. Long - longer - longest - temporary. [Referring to the Soviet occupation which was declared as temporary.] Or: good - better - best - Soviet. And I felt that, simply, a standardised unit of temporarity is one forever. And that it will stay that way for ever and I won't ever live [to see this country set free]...

  • ”The older I was, the more I would realise out that this regime is not to my tastes. And I started to look for more. Then I signed papers for Václav Havel['s release from prison] and Několik vět [A Few Sentences]. I sought for more signatures, I spread the text of the petition. So that it would not happen to other people what had happened to me, that I got to know the Charter 77 ten years later than it was important and when it was written. So, bit by bit, I started digging in and learning and then I was told: 'Well then, do as you wish. But when your son won't be admitted to school, you can blame only yourself.' And I used to say: 'I am doing it exactly so that my son will not need to worry whether they'll let him study.' And that's why I am so happy that I could add a grain to make all that go down in pieces. Or a shred of a grain. Or just a speck of dust.”

  • Full recordings
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    Olomouc, 25.10.2019

    duration: 01:36:04
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
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Do not be afraid

Václav Bahník in his youth
Václav Bahník in his youth
photo: Archiv Václava Bahníka

Václav Bahník was born on the 11th of January 1954 as a son of František Bahník, a theatre director, and Dagmar Felixová, an actress. Since early childhood, he was spending a lot of time in the theatre in HK where both of his parents worked. Václav’s father was greatly influenced by the Boy Scouts and he tried to raise his son in similar spirit. However, he joined the Commumist party. During the normalisation in the early 1970, he was expelled from the Party, witness’ mother left herself. For this reason, Václav could not go to the United States where his father’s acquaintance got him a one-year scholarship. He passed the entrance exams to the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts and later, he got a permanent job in the Silesian Theatre in Opava. After some time, he left for the Oldřich Stibor State Theatre in Olomouc (renamed Moravian Theatre in 1991). In the later normalisation years, he signed a petition to release Václav Havel from prison and the petition Několik vět [A Few Sentences] and he distributed those two in his circle. During the Velvet Revolution in 1989, he participated in organising and moderating meetings in Olomouc.