Lubos Hruza

Born1933 (dead 2 Dec. 2008)
FunctionsStage designer, Costume designer, Visual artist
NationalityCzech, Norwegian
GenderMale

About Lubos Hruza

Lubos Hruza (1933-2008) was a Czech-Norwegian stage designer. Hruza worked in Norway (mainly for The National Theatre) from 1968, and stayed in Norway for approximately 20 years before moving back to The Czech Republic.

Lubos Hruza's works for the stage gained European recognition and his strongly expressive form became a source of inspiration for Norwegian theatre. Among his assignments as a stage designer are a long series of productions of Shakespeare and Ibsen, plus plays of Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Beckett and Arthur Miller.

Lubos Hruza was given Norwegian Critics' Award for theatre in 1979 for his stage design for John Gabriel Borkman for The National Theatre.

In his speech to Lubos Hruza on behalf of Norwegian Critics' Association Jo Ørjasæter said the following, among other things:

"In this we also include the recognition of what Lubos Hruza has meant for Norwegian stage design during the 1970es. It is developing into a more dynamically acting part of the performance than what we have been used to. And in this development the very Lubos Hruza, as a person and an inspiration, is a source of force."

The Sceneweb database covers productions Lubos Hruza has contributed to in Norwegian theatre.

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Gerd Stahl, who was chief dramaturge of The National Theatre from 1986 to 2012, wrote the following, among other things, in her obituary for Lubos Hruza:

"Stage designer Lubos Hruza died in The Czech Republic December 2, aged 75.

Lubos was hired by The National Theatre October 10 1968 and immediately became an important partner in Arild Brinchmann's modernisation project for Norwegian theatre. After Brinchmann left, Lubos was established in Norway and continued his work as a stage designer for The National Theatre, but he also took assignments for The Norwegian National Opera and other Norwegian theatres. A total of 88 productions and projects are listed with his name at The National Theatre alone, in the period from 1968 to 1997, when he returned to his home country.

The old professional title 'theatre painter' disappeared definitely during his time. New materials and new lighting techniques were introduced and transformed the stage space, opening new possibilities - and thus also changed the stage designer's methods and means.

Leonce and Lena 1972, A Midsummer Night's Dream 1973, Peer Gynt 1975, Brand 1978, all with Edith Roger as the instructor and Lubos as the stage designer, and Hedda Gabler 1971, More Stately Mansions 1974 and The Lady from the Sea 1977 with Arild Brinchmann as the instructor, were shining performances that lifted the Norwegian art of theatre.

Ibsen won Lubos' heart. In Toralv Maurstad's term as director the small Amphi venue was expanded to a new theatre-in-the-round venue, and opened in 1980 with a production of Ibsen's Love's Comedy. Again in collaboration between Lubos and Edith Roger. Finn Ludt had refigured Ibsen's tragic comedy into a singing play, and the stage design was an apple tree branch in hopeful bloom, spreading all over the venue - in dialectic interaction with the bourgeois' sad circle dance onstage.

Other memorable Ibsen productions are John Gabriel Borkmann, When We Dead Awaken and Rosmersholm. Lubos as a stage designer was competent in transformation. He mastered the great, heavy main stage machinery and created spectacular opera performances, as well as intimate stage spaces in the small format. Classics as well as recently written drama.

The spring of -68 Brinchmann was actively recruiting new staff and adjusting for higher artistic activity, oriented towards trends in modern European theatre.

At the same time Prague had developed into a melting pot for theatre, literature and film, and the city drew artists and intellectuals from all over Europe. This was the day when Milan Kundera taught the artist academy, Václav Havel worked as a stage worker and Heinrich Böll and Günther Grass were observed in street cafés along the river Moldau. This was Lubos' world the spring of 1968. Director and actor Jan Kačer headed Cinoherni klub and created remarkable, at times politically not correct performances at the intimate stage of the theatre, and he had hired the young and gifted Lubos Hruza as a stage designer and costume designer.

As part of the modernisation process Brinchmann invited Kačer to stage an adaption of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment at the main stage the autumn of -68, and Kačer, who accepted, brought his stage designer.

Thus Lubos Hruza found himself in Oslo, as Soviet tanks invaded Prague August 21 1968. Rehearsals had been on for a while when the two Czech artists were informed about the invasion.

That day changed the life of Lubos Hruza, who a month and a half later was employed as a stage designer at The National Theatre. One can also say that the theatre space in Norway was changed in the period that followed, and that hiring Hruza contributed to lifting and developing Norwegian theatre."

Sources:

E-mail from Margareta Hruza, 26.04.2013

Store Norske Leksikon, snl.no, 12.10.2012, http://snl.no/Lubo%C5%A1_Hr%C5%AFza

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