Jan and Marie Kříž, a busy musical couple: grandmother, camera and shared calendar help them with their children

Mr. and Mrs. Kříž play together in the musical ratman, where Jan reappears in the lead role. Agnes then portrayed the great love of the rat Marie, Honz’s wife.

Twice winner of the Thalia Award appeared in this role already in the winter, completely unplanned. He hastily jumped under the indisposed Přemysl Pálek. “Finally, I nodded and went into emergency mode. He quickly poured it all into his head and took the stage remembers the adrenaline rush of Honza having to prepare for an evening performance in a single afternoon.

“Maruška is there every time I leave the stage, it became a storyline and next image listedhave room to keep my text oriented,” depicts. Audiences loved his Ratman so much that Honza has been officially active in the role since early April.

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How did you meet?
Maruska: We recently found out that it’s been sixteen years since I first saw Honza. But we met later, twelve years ago, on April 4, we had a birthday. We met on the singing TV show Robin Hood or The Road to Fame. We were both there as competitors.
John: We didn’t see much of each other during these first laps, because I had a lot of work at the time. It was only on live broadcasts that the spark jumped. I remember one day when Maruška brought cakes or a cake.

Then you two continued on to the Kalich Theater, where the musical Robin Hood started rehearsing, didn’t you?
John: Maruška was from Kyjov. At that time we were already starting to go out together, so I thought that if we rehearsed in Prague all summer, he wouldn’t pay for a hotel room. I offered to live with me. She moved in with me for the summer and stayed.

When were the first ideas for starting a family born?
Maruska: After three years we had a dog, after five years we got married and our son Filip was born after eight years of relationship, in 2018. Two years after him came the second child, a daughter Anna Marie.
John: Well, we had to check the relationship, it took us a long time.
Maruska: We are so shamefully traditional.

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How do you handle two kids in such hard work? Maruška is back in the theatre.
Maruska: My second pregnancy being confined, it was not a problem to bring the baby. The pandemic solved it for me. Compared to Honza, I don’t have many, but it’s enough. Of course, I had to adapt to being a mom. It’s the best role for me. However, in December we premiered the play Looking for Tenor at the FX Šalda Theater in Liberec, where I play a very eccentric Italian.

Most of your roles, Maruška, are very energetic. Can you then afford to come home, sit on the couch and exhale?
Maruska: It does not go with two children. I don’t know if I’m the same at home?
John: I think the actor’s mood is greatly influenced by the audience. They give us that energy. Sometimes a person comes home fully charged. And then there are the spectators who have the impression of being at the cinema. They are sitting and their energy seems to be passive, it is difficult to explain. It can suck you in a lot.

Do you have any handy gadgets for busy parents that help you work better with your kids?
John: It is sometimes quite a complicated planning. Fortunately, our children do not yet go to the clubs. We have a shared google calendar, it’s a great tool that will solve a lot of things. We recommend it to all parents. The cameras also help, and it’s a wonderful moment. We have a children’s playroom at home, where there is a camera and thanks to this we can do some of this work and at the same time monitor the child while he is playing.
Maruska: My mother works very well. Maybe today. She can’t even call it babysitting anymore, she kind of coexists with the kids. It’s great that the kids are so used to it that they don’t even notice it when we’re gone. Sometimes, of course, Honza’s parents or my sisters also help me.
John: I’m starting to think about the logistics that still await us. We live outside of Prague so are tied to a car. We must connect these paths, we can no longer leave because of everything. Although we have two cars, we also bought a scooter in Prague. It’s a wonderful thing and it makes our job much easier. I bought it about a week after we were in the new house. The lockdown ended, we started working again and I hate parking in Prague. This is the solution.

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How do you live in a new house?
John: We moved during lockdown. With everything going up lately – land prices, real estate prices, it’s almost a miracle that we managed to finish it so well. Also, we finished the house at a time when all income was gone due to covidid.
Maruska: But it’s beautiful there. Because we are outside Prague there is peace and we are in nature. We were also able to spend the confinement in the garden, which made the period more bearable.
John: We really had the advantage of not knowing the quote-unquote pandemic. We were closed and satisfied there.

You need peace of mind when preparing for your roles. Can you lock yourself away somewhere?
John: We have a study for that. I’ve been there quite often now. Although it’s quite audible throughout the house when I sing loudly. Sometimes Maruška takes the children and they go to the playroom or for a family visit, for example, to have more space.

Let’s move on to today. Honza recently won the lead role in the musical Krysař. To my knowledge, you have already played it unofficially…
John: Once I jumped in a hurry to save the show and not have to interrupt it.

What’s it like to jump into the role that Daniel Landa originally played? It is a legendary spectacle.
John: I didn’t feel like that at all. Maybe it’s because you could say I still have a few iconic characters. Krysař had some 190 reruns in this latest production at the Kalich Theater. The show is already well established and my task is only to adapt it well. Ideally, he brought a new wind and a new energy.

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Maruška, when Honza has such an important role ahead of him, what is your role? Do you pretend not to bother him?
Maruska: Even though Honza has such a big role ahead of him, I still have the female lead in Krysař. I play Agnès, the love of Ratnes. And even though I had about 100 replays, it’s still a lot of work. Fortunately, Honza knows the show. When that offer came I knew he would give it and he would be great. If he needs it, I’ll help him or get out of his way. As he says. I respect what he needs.
John: We are now at a stage where the greatest help is to grasp the children who are still young. When one tries something, prepares for something, the other has to work from home.

Honza, you have a lot of work ahead of you on the new musical Biograf láska, which you will be directing at Kalich. How do you prepare for this task?
That’s right, September 16 will be the first. It will be a musical full of songs by Hanka Zagorová. These are amazing and made for the musical. I think we have a great script, a very solid crew and cast that we’re very happy with.

Is there any cooperation with Hanka Zagorová in this regard?
When I joined the project about a year ago, Hanka was there. I’m very happy that it’s not just about her songs, but that she has a personal connection to the musical. She’s behind it, she read it and we talked about the script and the song selection. At the same time, it leaves us a great freedom of theatrical creation. I feel even more responsible, I really appreciate her and her repertoire. I believe she will appreciate the effort and enthusiasm that everyone puts into it as a theater, and she will really enjoy the performance.

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