Stanislav Dvorský once said about Ján Sedal that he might be the freest person he knew. It
is true that in many ways, Ján is an unbridled and an irrepressible spirit. The director of Archa Theatre Ondřej Hráb fondly calls him a “rascal”, meaning a stubborn anarchist. Ján Sedal, however, often shows a surprising tenacity and discipline. In the past two years, Ján Sedal had to deal with the consequences of a severe injury forcing him to re-learn basic everyday activities. Despite that, in the solitude of his apartment and with minimal support, he decided to lay down his immense and almost surrealistically disjointed imagination on the floor of a small room, and create a strongly personal production. In that way, somewhere between the bed, the window and the wardrobes, he forms a genuine Czechoslovakian butoh. It differs from its Japanese precursor in its higher degree of a deep-rooted shabbiness, absurdity, and humor which could not exist anywhere else outside the Middle-European context (that is somewhere in the middle of baroque, symbolists, cimbalom music, Hašek, Kafka, Deml, surrealists, The Plastic People of the Universe, DG 307, Dežo Ursiny, and Marián Varga). Sedal’s butoh could be considered a dance emphasizing every gram of the body, every wrinkle, and the magical strength of concentration chiselled by years of practice and perfecting. His world is, however, much wider. In a singular, short segment of time, Jáno undoubtedly demonstrates all he can do. He veers from dance to ritual, drama, and even a fierce battle with his own body. He ceases to control the little, and out of the little he makes a lot. He raises modest chaos, and with little gestures he builds and tears off loads of invisible curtains. He chose musician Tomáš Vtípil as a kindred spirit and companion.
Jáno was born in 1948 in Bratislava. Since the turn of the 1960’s and 1970’s he has, however, mainly worked as an actor in Czech theatres. He has been a member of Bílé divadlo, the theatre group Křesadlo, he has worked as a key actor in HaDivadlo for several decades, he has worked in Archa Theatre on a number of various plays, he has appeared with the theatre group Vosto5, in independent projects, and several films. Apart from the vast amount of acting and directing work in theatre, projects, and films, he has also published a book “SMS básně” (“SMS poems”) in 2018 edited by his long-time colleague from HaDivadlo and friend – actor, director, and author Arnošt Goldflam.
Sedal is one of the least beatniks – a poet, a Catholic, a daydreaming tramp travelling with a gypsy group, a director, a Slovakian Indian, a retired grandmaster of pub’s athanor among beer, ashtrays and merry socialising, an absolute bohemian, an actor, a person loyal to his friends and to theatre, but also a strange grouch – all that in one – Ján Sedal.