You are on page 1of 10

THE CZECH FICTIONAL CHARACTER of Jára Cimrman

Objectives:
 To get familiar with the background of Jára Cimrman
 Speaking, role-playing based on specific situations: the form of “one-man-show”, dialogs, role-playing
in groups. Jára Cimrman as an inventor, Jára Cimrman as a teacher (based on The Investigation of the
Missing Class Register)
Annotation:
1. Ask students: (let students write down the answers for questions 2 and 3 in groups, then go through their
answers together)
 Do you know anything about the origins of Jára Cimrman’s character? Who created him and when?
 Who was Jára Cimrman? / How was he presented? (his occupations)
 What extensive contributions to mankind did Jára Cimrman make?
2. After the discussion about student’s answers for questions 2 and 3, give students the flashcards containing
descriptions of specific Cimrman’s contributions in the field of science and pedagogy. Let students improvise
– use the form of a monologue (one-man-show), dialogue, or talk in a group.
Give students appropriate time to think the role-play out, using dictionaries.
3. Watch (maybe twice) the scene “Jára Cimrman Lying, Sleeping” on youtube:
Video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXuWSH-U_-o
Let students make notes considering vocabulary or inventor´s names as they are supposed to re-play
the scene in pairs.
4. Play the scene.
5. Read the extract from the play “Investigation of the missing class register” (extra file). Let students think
about which parts and how they would like to perform. Let them improvise.
Notes:
Question 1 – the origins of Jára Cimrman:
 Czech fictional character created by Jiří Šebánek, Ladislav Smoljak and Zdeněk Svěrák.
 Cimrman made its first appearance on a regular radio programme Nealkoholická vinárna U Pavouka
("The Spider Non-Alcoholic Wine Bar") on December 23, 1966.
 he became a very popular character of modern Czech folklore, and an artificial national hero
 There´s even The Jára Cimrman Theatre - in Žižkov; considered one of Prague's most frequented
theatres.
Question 2 – How was Jára Cimrman presented:
 presented as one of the greatest Czech playwrights, poets, composers, teachers, travellers,
philosophers, inventors, detectives, mathematicians and sportsmen of the 19th and early 20th century.
 Cimrman is presented as a major character or the putative (/´pju: ttv/=domnělý) author of a great
number of books, plays, and films

lessons. truant (záškolák). profit 1 student – monologue: Cimrman reformed the school system in Galicia (historical region in Central Europe that is currently situated between Poland and Ukraine). 1. parallels.). limits.. Useful vocabulary: nose. Play the role of the US president and Cimrman proposing the idea of the Panama Canal. (see the picture in the appendix) 1 student – monologue: Cimrman conducted investigations about the life of Arctic tribes who eat their fellows. commenting on the tribe´s rituals (being in the state of shock). Cimrman supposedly created the first puppet-show. demonstrate your reaction. short cut (zkratka). Useful vocabulary: snowstorm / blizzard. .. government. Eskimo(s). antenna. outer cover. while running away from a furious tribe. Play the role of Cimrman running away from the man-eating Arctic tribe. etc.Cimrman’s contributions to mankind: 2 students . he missed the North Pole by a mere seven meters.. discussing the technical details of the airship. Peary (the man who is officially the first man reaching the North Pole. and once.dialogue: Cimrman proposed the Panama Canal to the U. interior.. though it’s doubted) 2 students – monologue / dialogue: In Paraguay. punishment (punish. Useful vocabulary: rules.. make sth easy. man-eating.FLASHCARDS . igloo. meridians. tail... Useful vocabulary: build up. 2. metal cone (kužel) for the nose. steering mechanism (řídící mechanismus).S. storage space (úložný proctor).. Play the role of Cimrman and demonstrate the monologue about what you want to reform in the school system in Galicia. and having realised that you missed the North Pole by only 7 metres.. When at home.. advantages. keel corridors. v. Play the role of Count Zeppelin and Cimrman. play truant (chodit za školu) 2 students – dialogue: With Count Zeppelin (hrabě) Cimrman constructed the first airship.

. Burian with his first plastic surgery.B.B. fairy) Student 1 plays a short scene using his “puppet”. beginning of 20th centuries. and so on. After Cimrman’s speech... All the others play the roles of newly enrolled students. Finally. animal. Students play the role of Cimrman and his colleague. music and ballet. Burian.. they should ask questions... 2 students – dialogue: Cimrman assisted Prof. They comment on what they are doing (the whole process which leads to creating yoghurt).. Shaw. 2 students – dialogue: Cimrman invented yoghurt. stitch (přišít).. They might have an argument. Shaw (late 19th. 1 student – monologue: Cimrman corresponded with the famous Irish playwright G.. Decide about what kind of puppet the other student will be (person. cut away (off).One student plays the role of Cimrman. tag at strings (škubat) All students – monologue / panel discussion: In Vienna Cimrman established a school of criminology. put silicone filling. bandage .. but he has never got a reply. skin. the other is his “puppet”. but unfortunately the Irishman never replied. One student plays the role of Cimrman having a public speech. trying to explain WHY he established the school. Students play the roles of Cimrman and Prof.. which leads to a panel discussion. the main GOALS of this type of education.. Play the role of an unsatisfied Cimrman. author of more than 60 plays) for many years. Cimrman being ahead (má navrch). They are commenting on what they are doing or what they SHOULD do. Useful vocabulary: pull at strings. restitch (přešít). give an injection. The puppet can express its approval / disapproval with his “puppeteer’s” words and movements. complaining about the fact that he has sent so many letters to G. Useful vocabulary: put to sleep (uspat narkózou). they are surprised by the result and try to find appropriate NAME to the newly created foodstuff.

Students play the roles of Cimrman and Edison. although without widespread usage of computers. He finds out about the missed calls from (for him unknown) Cimrman. try to perform an internal monologue listing the arguments which lead you to the conclusion that your mind / your self does NOT really exist.2 students – dialogue: Cimrman reworked the electrical contact on Edison's first lightbulb. Cimrman wants to rework the electrical contact. Useful vocabulary: see the picture in the appendix (Difficult) 1/2 student(s) – monologue / dialogue: Cimrman is the creator of the new philosophy of Externism (opposite to the traditional theory of solipsism => while solipsists believe that only their individual self exists and the external world does not. Play the role of G. One of the teachers' name was Weber and since he stuttered. Jára Cimrman believes that the external world exists and the philosopher's individual self does not) 1. Useful vocabulary: see the pictures in the appendix 1 student – monologue: It is said that when Graham Bell had invented his telephone. Try to perform his reaction. Just try not to shout the others down (nepřekřikovat se). who answered all questions people had.. ." Some students play the roles of highschool teachers (Cimrman’s “Internet”) and the others play the role of people making phone calls to find out answers for their questions..Weber. Edison believes his bulb is perfect. while the external world exists. he had to use telephones. The result is he gets an electric shock.... that the Periodic Table should be rotated to its current (současný) orientation. Role-playing in a group: Another of Cimrman’s great inventions is also the internet. Bell. Dialogue – students play the roles of Cimrman and his solipsist opponent... he found in it 3 missed calls from Jára Cimrman. giving arguments for their contrasting beliefs.. just finishing his invention of telephone.. 2 students – dialogue: Cimrman advised Mendeleev. he always introduced himself as "W-W-W. Students play the roles of Mendeleev and Cimrman. His internet basically consisted of an old circus tent where he had a telephone aparate and various pensioned highschool teachers.. however. Also the well known WWW prefix originated here. 2. Playing the role of Cimrman. having an argument about the Periodic Table and the position of the natural elements.

He also revolutionized his small town schooling methods with dividing the lectured subjects into clearly marked "Forget-me-not" and "Not-forget-me-not" materials. He also.Note: First. prepared his students as a teacher for the future practical usage of phones. 1967). that when the first phone apparatus was installed. The former was one-tenth of all the learning . think about any common questions which you usually try to search the answers for Pedagogue Most of the pedagogical work of Jára Cimrman is presented in the theatre play Vyšetřování ztráty třídní knihy ("Investigation of the Loss of a Class Book". in accordance with his ideology of "Futurism". many of his former students began throwing a whole fortune into the phones. when it was revealed he could read and write as well. which were being installed in Austria at that time and planted such a euphoria. Cimrman became a teacher in a small village known as Struk. as a punishment by court. calling random numbers and many of them went home from the post office as complete beggars.

which portrays actors of a fictional amateur theatre. in order to motivate people to work at a sugar refinery in Klánovice. forming such a bundle of rejected works that Stroupežnický recalls they "cost him 60 working days". Another man. after lunch. He is stated to have sent many of his plays to Ladislav Stroupežnický (a famous Czech playwright) under his name and two pseudonyms. who. after reading his play Prázdniny s kanibalem Dufkem ("Vacation with . which is here said to feature not only the legendary Forefather Czech. because they both studied at the same school. he did not punish them but punished himself instead — his theory was that pupils certainly must love their teacher and therefore would feel remorse if he should suffer. Another play presented as a work of Cimrman is Záskok ("The Stand-in"). often because of his innovatory practices. Stroupežnický never recovered. Cimrman never received great fame as a playwright in his lifetime. many of which are said to have been lost. it's your own fault. Alternately he would refuse to have a cigarette after lunch and commented on it thus: "Today. by which Cimrman wanted to honour all major nationalities living in Bohemia. Forefather Jew and. performing a play that is messed up by a famous and reportedly brilliant. The play was later re-done and its name changed to Čechové na řípu ("Czechs for Turnip".material and was meant to be remembered. As a teacher. he did not leave his house for a week. was Čechové na Řípu (English: "Czechs on Říp"). Don't cry." Playwright Jára Cimrman is claimed to have authored numerous plays. he also put his pupils under stress to improve information retention for a particularly important part of the subject — he either snapped his whip hard on the ground or took off his wig ("úlek oslněním" — "fright by daze"). His students had no school then and so had enough free time to feel sorry for him. When students misbehaved. which was a subject of their correspondence. I will not smoke a cigar ("viržínko"). changing just uppercase "Ř" into lower case "ř"). featuring his own comic vision of the future world where people are all good to each other and so a person may. a fictional account of an old Bohemian legend. These plays include Posel světla (English "Herald of Light"). act as a complete heartless monster without any remorse. in dialogue only. After Cimrman replied on a familiar note. He also encouraged Cimrman not to write to him and if possible "not to write at all". also said to be lost. whom Cimrman is said to have surprised with his works was Jacob Durman. When his students put water into his ink-bottle instead of ink. yet in reality dumb person who cannot forget to say other people's lines and lines from other plays and who cannot even remember the name of his own character. Forefather Gipsy. ironically. while the latter made up nine-tenths of the given subject and was intended from the start to be forgotten. such as changing the length of the play in several successive performances or presenting new ideas. director of the Royal Chamber Theatre in Haag. This apparently successful method bears his name to this day as the famous "Cimrman's Fixation by Shock". One of the plays. but also other characters as Forefather German.

Durman. A common way to escape angry or unsatisfied audience was the even more infamous scene Vichr z hor ("Drift From the Mountains"). Cimrman's theatre still possesses the original properties from the play Akt (English: "The Nude"). I am sending you five more plays." Cimrman replied: "Dear Mr. through which the author himself left the stage. the theatre is here mainly so that the spectator shall be astonished.cannibal Dufek") is said not to "come out of astonishment. allowing the actors to escape swiftly." Many of Cimrman's unsuccessful plays are reported to be performed by his infamous theatrical group Lipany. .

.

APPENDIX insulation = izolace .