The Elegance of the Molecule / Petr Zelenka

Three molecules and three men with a vision, willing to take risks

Instructions for the event of the season: Write a good play, direct it well and act it well. It sounds simple, but the author must be Petr Zelenka and he must have the company of Dejvické divadlo for The Elegance of the Molecule.

Zelenka directs his tale briskly - dialogues alternate with dialogues, and individual lines flow over the stage like a series of clips. The production is adorned with well-produced projections, which only underline the clever and engaging play.

Tomáš Šťástka,


In The Elegance of the Molecule, the author ingeniously connects documentary elements with fiction, plays assuredly with time planes, and relieves the gravity of the subject with humour and a cynical pout. He deliberately does not do without gentle pathos and sentiment.

Saša Hrbotický, Aktuálně.cz

There is space for catharsis in the paradox of Holý's illness and death, as he, whose work has helped so many people, can only inactively watch as his strength declines. The mouse shows the scientist's declining mind with a touching astonishment that rejects reality. Holý's "opponent" is American John C. Martin, a keen biochemist who is capable of risking a lot in the name of research. Ivan Trojan has equipped him with dry humour and insight, and does not lose his charm in extreme situations. He alternates his enthusiasm, stubbornness, and emotionally tinged admiration for Professor Holý with obvious ease.

Jana Machalická, Lidové noviny

Zelenka, as an author, does not lose his sense for a joke and irony, and condenses events so that even the many years of waiting for test results or searching for investors for the Gilead Sciences biopharmaceutical company becomes dramatic.... He (Ivan Trojan as John Martin) speaks of the beauty of the molecule as if it were an ancient statue, and his passion is so contagious that even those viewers for whom chemistry was once an ordeal will believe him.

Z. A. Tichý, Czech Television, Art Zóna

Trojan's charismatic dramatic study portrays the chemist as human, solid and empathetic, yet at the same time a fighter who is able to take risks. His rise to the top combines a certain dose of ethical pathos with economic impetuosity. Martin Myšička portrays Holý as a crotchety and irascible fellow whose behaviour in some situations isn't 100% fair (he dismisses one man from his team who was, like him, a member of the Communist Party, purely to avoid having too high a percentage of former party members in the team when a new political situation comes about). Myšička's performance is a strong one, especially in the finale, when the sometime genius mixes up the names of his foreign colleagues with his own in a tragicomic telephone call. Also noteworthy are the performances of Vladimir Polívka as the boss of the Riordan pharmaceutical company, to whom Trojan's Martin first turns, Petr Vršek in several roles as Czech scholars, and Pavel Šimčík as distinguished Belgian biochemist Erik De Clercq, Holý's colleague and co-founder of his international prestige. Václav Jiráček plays the role of leading American politician Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gilead Sciences. His character differs from those of the scientists with its distinct directness and the particular grittiness of the professional-diplomat.                                          

Jan Kerbr, Divadelní noviny