The University of Kansas University Theatre presented The Last Cyclist December 6-11, 2014 at the William Inge Memorial Theatre. The production was directed by Rachel Eliza Blackburn and Gina Sandi-Diaz, The “playbill” includes the following Directors’ Note: “Theatre produced during periods of cultural trauma function aesthetically and structurally in very interesting ways, but The Last Cyclist really captured our attention precisely because it is a comedy. Švenk and the other prisoners who first created this work refused to become victims or let their grave situation dampen their spirit, and they fought their circumstances with bravery and an ability to laugh that is greatly inspiring to us. The Last Cyclist is a spirited act of defiance and resistance, and it has been a great privilege for us to honor the artistry and humanity of the prisoners by bringing their work to life. In doing so, we also hope to have honored not just those who perished at the hands of the Holocaust, but those who have suffered in many places the world over due to scapegoating and prejudice. How many genocides have we seen since the Holocaust? Švenk and the prisoners of Terezín chose humor as their weapon to critique the politics which forced them into the camps and, for so many, into their deaths. The allegorical content of this piece is a direct reflection of the sheer absurdity of hatred, discrimination and prejudice. It is thought-provoking to be sure, but what is more, the work transcends Terezín to become healing as well. We hope you in the audience enjoy this journey as much as we have.” Professor Rebecca Rovit was the faculty adviser for the production.
Nannan Gu, lighting and costume designer for the University of Kansas production, created her own personal homage to František Zelenka, who designed the sketches for costumes and sets for the original Last Cyclist in Terezín. The full set of her costume renderings was displayed in the lobby outside the theater during the run of the play.