Ing. René Levínský Ph.D.

* 1970

  • "Then after a week I went to Olomouc first, as a captain in the province rather than a general in the province, so there were still a lot of people there. And then I went to Most, and there I agitated in such a way as a person is nineteen, comes to the factory, has the director and the head of the union called, tells them that now he wants to call all the workers to the yard in ten minutes, and stands on the balcony. And he says, 'My father was and is a switchman, my grandfather was a switchman, we are all here with you, working with our hands.' He is simply trying to win over the workers to his cause with the normal theatrical language."

  • "We had two people who were there, that is Martin Klepal and Marcel Fišer, who were, it was called the Independent Student Movement, together with the SSM from the whole of Prague, who organized the meeting on 17 November. And they were already like totally in and they just came to the auditorium. I think it was auditorium 306. I may remember it wrong. I'm kind of sounding like Milos Zeman right now. In auditorium 306. And they just came in there, they said this is how, this is how, this is how, this is how they arise. Just there's like the CTU committee, from the CTU committee there was Radim Bohacek, who was in architecture, I remember him. And they said now we have to elect this committee, we elected it, we gave ourselves tasks and we went. We had a treasurer, there were these taxi drivers who were waiting outside the school to take people on these joy rides. People brought us money and oranges and we brought sleeping bags and we lived there for those three weeks as part of that occupation strike and did the work that was being done everywhere else. I started a magazine there. It was called Stafka, with an 'f'. I thought that was funny at the time."

  • "We rehearsed Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz's play Wariat i zakonnica, The Fool and the Nun, at Strahov in 1988. And then we performed it at a festival somewhere. I think it was in Turnov, where Professor Císař and in general, there are these juries at these amateur shows, and there in that jury there was a clear opinion that Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz must be turning in his grave when he saw what we had done to him. And we were so uncomfortable with that, so then we were sitting at the Seven, at the 007 Club in Strahov, where we had set up, and we were figuring out how we could do theatre, because we didn't want to hurt those authors. We especially didn't want to hurt the dead authors, so that they wouldn't turn in their graves from what we were making of them. We wanted to do theatre, we didn't want to spoil the lyrics that they wrote, we didn't know what to do or how to do it. Whereupon somebody in the group said, 'Rene, but if you were writing it, it doesn't matter that we're, like, spoiling the plays, we wouldn't be hurting anybody else's,' and so it seemed to us that actually the only moral approach was for me to write it. So I wrote a play called Winter in my Mathematical Analysis I class. And we started doing this play, and it actually really, like, helped us with socialization, and suddenly nobody was complaining that we were making people spin in their graves, and we were going to all these different student clubs."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 13.11.2023

    duration: 01:15:08
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 11.12.2023

    duration: 01:24:49
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The goal was to make college and stay abroad for the first conference

René Levínský
René Levínský
photo: Archive of the witness

René Levínský was born on 6 August 1970 in Hradec Králové to Eva and Miroslav Levínský. In 1984-1988 he studied at the J. K. Tyl Grammar School in Hradec Králové. He participated in several concerts of local underground bands. In the autumn of 1988 he entered the Faculty of Nuclear and Physical Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. In October of the same year, he founded the theatre group Nejhodnější medvídci with friends, and soon began writing his first plays. During the Velvet Revolution he was involved in the strike committee at the faculty. In 1993 he successfully completed his studies at the Faculty of Nuclear and Physical Engineering. In September of the same year, he started his PhD at the CERGE of Charles University. He defended his dissertation in 2000. In July 2000 he moved to Germany, where he lectured at the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg. Since 2006 he has worked in the Department of Economics of Strategic Relations at the Max Planck Institute in Jena. In 2016 he returned to the Czech Republic with his family, where he spent some time in the theatre, after which he worked as Executive Director of the Centre for Modelling Biological and Social Processes (BISOP). In 2023 he lived in Prague.