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  • Day8

    Communism and clowns

    September 5, 2019 in Czech Republic ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    I did not research Prague at all before going there. I was a totally blank slate, so besides eating my way through the city, I decided to focus on two significant parts of the culture: history and art.

    As far as history goes, I visited the Museum of Communism, which was amazing and probably one of the most educational and interesting museums I've ever been to. I actually spent a good amount of time this spring listening to Russian history podcasts (I watched Chernobyl and immediately wanted more), so I had a good primer as far as the USSR and what it was all about.

    Still, is shocking how little I was taught of world history in school. And it seems like, the more I try to catch up, the more there is to learn.

    Anyway, the museum gave a general history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic up through Nazi occupation, and then focused on life under communist rule.

    Damn, man. It is frightening to see the parallels between the fascism of the late 20th century and the direction of US culture and policy today.

    Going to this museum was one of the highlights of the entire trip, for sure.

    In terms of art, I decided on a Black Light Theatre show, which is unique to Prague and uses blacklights to create visual effects resembling magic. The show also incorporated acrobatics, puppets, and was entirely mimed, so it was universally understood. It felt very creative and weird and lighthearted. Kids and adults were both laughing. There were multiple layers to the humor.

    It wasn't the kind of theatre that I typically frequent, the kind with a strong message, usually political. But all the same, it felt important to laugh after the darkness of the museum of communism, and inspired and delighted me. Art fills in so many spaces in life.

    Not bad for a single day in Prague.
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