The protagonists of Radio Wave Rozchod’s workshop podcast series seek an answer to why not every relationship should end like “and they lived happily and cheerfully until death.” In it, using soundtracks of a couple’s “life” and their common gauge sway, we experience a series of turning points and daily moments, which also make us reflect on our relationships. And the gaps.
From the first part of the podcast feature film Rozchod, where we begin to follow the life of an ordinary young couple in voyeur, the crucial phrase is heard: “Sometimes it just does not work.” Denisa and Honza meet in an unconventional place – a bunny jumping championship. We will also experience their first encounter with them, but first they will introduce us to the entire story arc. We will hear them for the first time during a post-graduation meeting, where they will take stock of a ten-year relationship.
The original idea for the series was based on actor improvisation. The creative team gradually found a way to tame pure improvisation.
The form of the podcast series follows the content and is not an end in itself. You have to know what Honza and Denisa are: At the beginning, Honza studies economics and Denisa specializes in sound installations while studying in an art school. Thus, they are not only a natural narrative of the whole work, but also a theme and a catalyst for various life crises and the generally pleasant and intimate moments of the couple.
We don’t know exactly when and why Denisa decides to use private recordings of herself and her partner’s life in her work, as the first record we hear is from the mentioned bunny hopping contest and the ecording the leap to recording one’s own life is quite a leap. The events between the individual recordings, which map daily life and tense moments and can evoke in us memories of similar situations, are as important here as the recordings themselves. We do not need to know the whole story in detail, on the contrary, we can try to guess what happened, why the characters acted, how they acted, and thus find their own key to interpretation of their relationship.
After all, Rozchod works very well – not only can it evoke its own memories in the listener, but it also forces them to think about what they don’t hear based on their own experience.
The original idea for the series was based on actor improvisation. The creative team gradually found a way to tame pure improvisation – author and director Šimon Holý presented the important moments he wanted to experience with the couple. He included those considered crucial in any ordinary relationship: dating, moving, honeymoon, crisis. He then let actors Denisa Barešová and Jan Nedbal improvise, then they revised the text together to refine the story. However, even in the final version we hear, elements of improvisation remain, only they are more solidly anchored.
It sounds like quite a refreshing method, and it can also be key for the writers to create something that the audience/audience can relate to, that comes naturally live and gets under the skin. In the end, it doesn’t matter if we belong to a social bubble similar to that of the main characters. We all know moments of intimate conversation, moments after sex, or quarrels born out of self-seeking between the twenties and thirties. The series is thus able to revive our personal feelings from past relationships and breakups.
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Moreover, Holý was lucky in the choice of protagonists, Barešová and Nedbal go well together and are not only capable actors, but according to various interviews also active co-writers.
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In the second plane, Rozchod can also serve as a more general reflection of the younger millennial generation. Denisa and Honza find themselves in their twenties, in a period of self-searching, when we are only on the threshold of adulthood trying to pass the course. Denisa is more dominant in the first half of the podcast, she’s definitely on her way to being a professionally respected designer, while Honza, an economics student, has a harder time finding her job. In the middle, however, the situation reverses, which means a change in the dynamics of the relationship, and with significant changes in life come the first cracks.
Denisa may seem like a self-centered artist at first, who goes beyond her friend’s private life because of art, but later we have to inadvertently sympathize with her – she loses her intimate conviction that what it makes sense, and then as a mother, she experiences a stifling sense of wasted career and lack of time for herself. The series also offers a more general reflection on the meaning of art, including mentions of grants or the joy and frustration of nominations for prestigious art awards locally.
Why Denisa finally decides what to do, to end it, is also up to us to interpret – it’s the natural outcome of their relationship fading, does she feel the need to completely change the meaning of life regardless of the relationship? Will he stay in the industry, or will he cut art forever? Does she just need a break or is her decision final? Similarly, we can only guess what will happen after (r) the breakup. Does Denisa and Honza’s relationship still have hope, or will little Berta’s friends and parents remain?
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The podcast series accompanies us through the fragile territory of joint and independent maturation. Each of the characters “matures” in a slightly different environment, with different ambitions. They try to support each other, to support each other, but at the same time they lose themselves in themselves and in the other. They can be both selfish – a sentiment almost everyone is familiar with – but also loving. And often ignorant.
What if we had a baby?
There is a phrase in the series that I think of quite often. “I don’t think we’ll break up if we don’t have a baby,” Denisa says as part of the post-departure reflection. The couple prove that parenthood doesn’t have to strengthen the relationship, especially at times when it’s already showing noticeable cracks. Moreover, we will not know exactly how it happened in the case of this couple, if the child was a joint decision, a desperate attempt to overcome the crisis or a coincidence. However, all events gradually lead to a clear end. From a moment, we just know that everything that happens between the couple brings them closer to breaking up.
So the six parts of the series, one hour and forty minutes in total, will they throw us into a hopeless deposit? Definitely not. In the Radio Wave workshop, an intelligent reflection on relationships with the human face was created, which does not shy away from addressing topics such as long-distance relationships, the limits of privacy, two careers in a marriage and pitfalls of parenthood. Whether you find yourself in the interviews or the protagonists annoy you for various reasons, you will listen further and experience their relationship and break up with them. And you will probably reflect on your own past relationships and all your realized and unrealized life ambitions for a few more days.
Theme, music and direction: Šimon Holý
Screenplay: Simon Holý, Denisa Barešová, Jan Nedbal
Performers: Denisa Barešová, Jan Nedbal, Nina Rudišová and others
Premiere: March 7, 2022