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Lenka Pichlíková Burke

Visiting Assistant Professor in Theatre and Performance

Lenka Pichlíková Burke is an actress, director, author, and teacher with four decades of international experience in film, television, and stage productions. Her mother’s family had been on the stage as musicians or actors for at least five generations, probably dating back to the eighteenth century. She grew up in a world of music, fantasy, and imagination.

She studied acting at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts (DAMU) of the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Prague, and was featured in over 40 television and film roles before coming to the United States, including the principal role in the film, The Trumpet’s Song, awarded first prize at the Monte Carlo International Film Festival. For the past several years, she has taught Political Theatre in Prague, a three-week summer study abroad course meeting in the DAMU facilities.

In the United States, she has performed in Equity League of Regional Theatres and off-Broadway productions, independent films, and her own one-person roles on Katherine Luther, Hildegard of Bingen, Queen Sofia of Bohemia, and Gertude (Hamlet’s Mother). Her most recent role was Cassandra in Christopher Durang’s Vanya, Masha, Sonya & Spike. She is also trained as a mime and had the great experience of studying with the classical French mime, Marcel Marceau. Among the works she has written are a mimodrama about Medea and a performance piece entitled, Seven Sins and a Virtue, last performed at a Central European Baroque historical site interacting with the allegorical statues that inspired the work. She has also written plays for children and maintains an extensive program of performances for children in under-served urban educational centers.

She has been teaching continuously at Purchase for twenty years and taught her first course here in 1984. She has also taught cultural history, European literature, and performance as an adjunct professor at Fairfield University in the history, English, and theatre departments. Since 2015, she has served as Dramaturg for the Michael Chekhov Theatre festival in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

More About Me

Research Interests

  • Drama Pedagogy
  • Michael Chekhov Method
  • Commedia and Mime
  • Independent films
  • Dramas and comedies
  • One-person shows

Representative Courses

  • Fundamentals of Acting / Acting
  • Political Theatre in Prague
  • Performance of Dramatic Literature (Acting the Classics)
  • Acting Scene Study
  • Ensemble Creation
  • Commedia dell’Arte and Classic Pantomime
  • Mask & Movement
  • Modern Culture Onstage and in Life
  • Modern Continental European Drama (European Drama of Our Time)
  • History of Modern Drama (literature survey, 1600-present)
  • Acting for Dancers
  • Novels of Charles Dickens (literature and films)
  • Culture and Society in the West, parts 1 & 2 (Western Civilization)
  • “Dramatic Shifts” (Drama and Poetry from Ancient to Medieval)
  • Modern Culture Onstage and In Life, 1880-1930
  • Improvised Acting and Commedia dell’Arte (Univ. College)
  • Russian Culture (drama, literature, music, visual arts, ballet, film)
  • Russian/Soviet Film and Culture
  • International Short Fiction
  • History and Culture of Central and Eastern Europe Since 1945
  • Nineteenth-century Russian Literature (English Dept., Univ. College and Online)

Publications

Scholarly
  • “Performing in Mask: Michael Chekhov’s Pedagogy, Commedia & Mime,” in Critical Stages, Special Section, Michael Chekhov’s Pedagogy and Contemporary Practice (Yana Meerzon, editor), June 2017.
  • “Josef Čapek, Czech Modernist Innovator” – New York Art Resources Consortium, published 12 Feb. 2012.
  • [Articles on East Central and Eastern European Cultural Resources in Selected New York Fine Arts and Theatre Libraries]: “New York Art Resources Consortium,” “Brooklyn Museum Library and Archives,” “Frick Art Reference Library,” “Museum of Modern Art Libraries,” “Center for Jewish History,” “Leo Baeck Institute Library and Archives,” “Yeshiva University Museum Library,” “Yivo Institute for Jewish Research Library and Archives,” “Guggenheim Museum Library and Archives,” “International Theatre Institute of the United States (Theatre Communications Group),” “International Center of Photography Collections and Research Center,” “Metropolitan Museum of Art Watson Library,” “Museum of the City of New York,” and “Czech Center, New York,” in Slavic & East European Information Resources, Volume 14, no. 4, 2013. London and Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis, ISSN 1522-8886 (Print), 1522-9041 (Online).
Translator
  • Anna Hodková, Gertrude (from Czech to English), 2013;
  • Joyce Carol Oates, Selected Plays (into Czech), 1991; 
  • Oldrich Daněk, The Woman from Corinth (from Czech to English), 1988. 
Publication as Author/Original Productions (written and/or performed)
  • Gertrude (translator and adapter, one-woman show, spoken), Stamford CT, 2014;
  • Seven Deadly Sins and a Virtue, Performance Art Piece, Stamford, CT, 2007, and, Kuks, Czech Republic (Theatrum Kuks International Performing Arts Festival), Author, co-director, principal performer;
  • Katie Luther (one-woman show, spoken), performances at Stamford, Hartford, others in CT, and Mamaroneck, Rye, New York City, others in NY, 2009-present;
  • Three Women of Faith (one-woman show, spoken), Stamford, CT, 2006;
  • The Emperor and the Rabbi’s Golden Secret, full-length children’s theater piece; versions for adult and child actors), Stamford Theatre Works, CT, 2006;
  • Medea, Mimodrama, Richardson (Dallas), Texas, and at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven and Stamford, CT  (2001), wrote, produced, acted lead, and directed; large cast, blacklight theater technique.
Publication

Presentations / Conferences

Public Scholarly Lectures
  • “Theatrical Gesture, Classic Pantomime, and Mime in Ballet,” Barnard College, Columbia University, March 2016, repeated with additions and demonstrations, January 2017.
  • Lecture for Western Dance History class on Mime in Ballet, September 19, 2016 at the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY.
  • “The Chekhov Theatre Studio, 1939-1942,” Michael Chekhov International Theatre Festival, September 13, 2016 – Ridgefield Library. Cf.
  • “Notes on Michael Chekhov’s Career and Teaching at Ridgefield [to accompany illustrated display],” Ridgefield, CT, Michael Chekhov International Theatre Festival, September 2015; MICHA Michael Chekhov Association, Connecticut College, 2018, 2019.
  • DAMU (Faculty of Dramatic Arts), Academy of Arts, Prague, December 2015; Recent Research on Michael Chekhov.

Exhibitions / Performances

Roles in Recent Feature and TV Films
  • TAKE YOUR CHILD TO WORK DAY, Office Executive, Zack Seckler, 2017
  • ABDO & SANYIA, Neighbor, Omar Bakry, 2015
  • KIDDIE RIDERS, Mother, Alina Landry, 2012
  • SECRET LIFE WALTER MITTY, Businesswoman (noncredited), Ben Stiller, 2012
  • BUTTERFINGERS, Wife, Milan Roganovic, 2011
  • SIBLINGS, Wife, Olga Goister, 2011
  • 29 WEST, Polish Charwoman, Michael Piech, 2011        
  • KEEP THE LIGHTS ON, Customer, Ira Sachs, 2011
  • CHASING LOST YOUTH, Stalker/Actress, Nicole Cobb, 2011
  • APPLES, Rosemary (Mother), Brunella Steger, 2009 
  • TROPHY KIDS, Upper East Side Matron, Josh Sugarman, 2009
  • VOICE-OVER: “Memorandum of an Invisible Man”, Nicole Cobb, 2009
Featured in twelve European films, including:
  • THE TRUMPET’S SONG, Katja (lead role), L.Raza, Director (in Czech), “Golden Nymph” Award (Best Television Film), Monte Carlo Int’l Film Festival
  • A BIT OF HEAVEN, Young Nun, P. Wirth (in German)
  • DARK SUN, Anna, O. Vavra / M. Ondricek (in Czech)
  • THE VISIT, Maria, K. Kachyna (in Czech)
Over forty television roles, including:
  • CELEBRITY GHOST STORIES, Mother, Jarrett Creative Group, Biog. Channel, 2010
  • MONSTERS INSIDE ME (2nd season) and MY FIRST KILL (pilot), Surgeon, Remy Weber, 2010
  • I’M  ASKING  YOU, Young  Working  Woman, Czech  TV
  • THE  DONKEY’S  SKIN (Perrault), The  Princess, Czech  TV
  • THE  INVISIBLE  VIZIER (2 segments), Millionaire’s  Daughter, German  TV
Theatre (as performer)
  • VANYA, SONYA, MASHA & SPIKE: 2019, Cassandra, Ridgefield Theater Barn, CT
  • GERTRUDE, Queen Gertrude, JNS,Stamford, CT one woman show
  • KATIE VON  BORA LUTHER, Katie, Stamford, CT, and touring (current)  
  • THREE WOMEN OF FAITH, 3 roles, Joyful Noise Series, Stamford, CT
  • TAKING SIDESTamara Sachs, Stamford Theatre Works
  • NATALIE NEEDS A NIGHTIE, Rosebud, Kweskin Theater, Stamford
  • DROP  ZONE, Christina, Kweskin Theater, Stamford
  • THE MASTER BUILDER, Hilda, University Theater, U.T. Dallas
  • THE SEAGULL, Masha, Stage West, Fort Worth
  • UNCLE VANYA, Yelena, University Theater, U.T. Dallas
  • MY SISTER IN THIS HOUSE, Lea, Theater Gallery, Dallas
  • THE MAGIC GAME, Speaking Lead, Int’l Tour, Mexico-US (see below)
  • ON TOUR, Elishka, Dramatists’ Guild,  NY
  • JOAN OF THE STOCKYARDS, Joan, Dance Theater Workshop, NY
  • HAMLETMACHINE, Ophelia, Theater for the New City,  NY
  • THE LESSON (Ionesco), Student, Purchase Experimental Theater
Directing Experience

I. Stage Productions (Adult Professional or University)

  • THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS by Carlo Goldoni, Purchase, NY 2017  – director and leader (as professor) of university curriculum production, with group creative work.
  • THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT  by Jean Giraudoux, Purchase, NY 2008 – director and leader (as professor) of university curriculum production, with group creative work.
  • SEVEN DEADLY SINS (AND A VIRTUE), premier Stamford, CT 2007 (Joyful Noise Series) – revised new production, Kuks, Czech Republic (Theatrum Kuks International Performing Arts Festival), 2014; writer and co-director; cast of three, plus technical crew of six people (2007) and cast of two, plus technical crew of eight people (2014).
  • BALD SOPRANO by Eugene Ionesco, Purchase, NY 2006 – director and leader (as professor) of university curriculum production, with group creative work.
  • THREE WOMEN OF FAITH, one-person show, premier Stamford, CT 2005 and 2006-12 et seq. as
    KATIE LUTHER – writer and director, single performer plus technical crew of three people.
  • MEDEA, International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven and Stamford, 2001;  premier Richardson (Dallas), Texas 1988 – writer, director, choreographer;  original blacklight theater production;  large cast, technical crew.  Extensive use of masks, stage effects.
  • MAN RAY, PHOTOGRAPHER, New Rochelle NY, 1984 – scenarist, director.

II. SUNY Purchase Precollege Theatre Institute

  • THE BOY FRIEND by Sandy Wilson, Purchase NY, summer 2009
      – Precollege Theatre Institute at SUNY Purchase;
  • CATS, Purchase, NY, summer 2010  – Precollege Theatre Institute at SUNY Purchase;
  • INSECT PLAY, Purchase, NY, summer 2011  – Precollege Theatre Institute at SUNY Purchase.

III. Children’s Theater

  • MOTHER GOOSE, full-stage version(professional adult actors), Stamford Theatre Works [AEA] Purple Cow Children’s Theatre, 2002-04 and subsequent – writer, director and performer.
  • ALADDIN (children actors), Stamford, CT 2005 – co-director.
  • ANNIE (children actors), Stamford, CT 2006 – co-director.
  • THE EMPEROR AND THE RABBI’S GOLDEN SECRET (children actors), Stamford, CT 2006 – writer, choreographer, and co-director. 
  • CINDERELLA (children actors), Stamford, CT 2007 – co-director.
  • WILLIE WONKA JR. (children actors), Stamford, CT 2008 – director; double cast, 80 students.
  • ALADDIN (children actors), Stamford, CT 2009 – director, double cast, 50 students.

Stamford Theatre Works School of Performing Arts, director or co-director, and choreographer, for 38 original productions featuring students in the school, 1995-2008.

Also: Directing of Scenes and Monologues as Part of University Courses