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Malijevský and Rudiš: This is how the heart of Czech literature beat. The literary cabaret EKG says goodbye after years

The Archa Theater in Prague is closing this December. Together with him, after almost seventeen years, the literary cabaret EKG of the writers Igor Malijevský and Jaroslav Rudiš, a unique program connecting literature and poetry with music, theater and visual arts, is leaving the scene.

The last two performances, entitled About Love and the Sea, will take place in Prague’s Archa theater on November 12 and 13. Alongside Rudiš and Malijevský, poet Vít Janota and writers Karel Kuna and Patrik Linhart will perform. The band Třaskává měšte will play, led by skapel player František Skála.

“We brought the idea for EKG from Berlin, where Igor and I met. I was then writing the first book, Nebe pod Berlínem, and Igor was wandering around Berlin with a camera and a notebook. It was read in many places. Contemporary, young, living literature. We thought that if it works in Berlin, it could also work in Prague, where we didn’t know anything like that,” Rudiš recalls.

In 2005, Malijevský and Rudiš founded the literary cabaret Monoskop. After a year and a half of functioning in the Akropolis Palace, in February 2017 they moved under the EKG brand to the Archa Theater, to which they remained loyal until the end.

“Jára came up with the name EKG, he said that we would watch how the heart of Czech literature beats. EKG for us was primarily a game, a serious entertainment, a natural non-theatre, a life into which we wanted to draw everyone and everything that interested us, alive even the dead, all that Esprit, Beauty and Genius that surrounds us,” adds Malijevský.

Each of the more than a hundred evenings was unique and dedicated to a theme. EKG was soon so interested among the audience that instead of one evening, two evenings were held, the premiere and the finale. But even these were often hopelessly sold out. For their performances, the authors always tried to write new texts, which then naturally formed the basis of their books. For Rudiš, for example, it is his book Český raj taking place in a sauna, for Malijevský, it is a collection of short stories The Moon over the Tagus River. The guests of the composed evenings were authors from across the generations, from Ivan Martin Jirous, Pavel Kohout, Ivan Klíma, Pavel Zajíček to Kateřina Tučková or the Topola brothers, who performed together in Arš until the youngest literary generation. They consistently and courageously mapped the current music and art scene. Several evenings in Arš were also devoted to German, Dutch, Polish, Finnish, Slovak or Ukrainian literature.

A number of EKG performances are freely accessible on the YouTube platform, and a selection is also recorded in the Czech Radio archive. To mark ten years of EKG, the Paperjam publishing house published the collection About Love and EKG. The cabaret also traveled to other Czech and Moravian cities and regularly hosted in Brno. This will also be the case on November 14, when Rudiš and Malijevský will finally perform together with Eva Turnová and Lucía Piussi at the Cabinet of Muses.

“We thank the audience, thank you, and thank you again, it was what created the atmosphere of our evenings. We are not sad at the end, from the kitchen where we cooked ECG, we can sometimes return to the stage as ECG. But hopefully someone will establish something similar or completely someone else and maybe he’ll even invite us as his guests, we’re really looking forward to that,” the protagonists say.