Many of you recognize Mr. Jakub Kominka for his intellectual, linguistic and excellent pedagogical skills, but how many of you realize he’s an accomplished sword-wielding showman, an acrobatic thespian in the historical performance group Skupina Historického Šermu Grál (SHS Grál). SHS Grál, the “Grail,” was founded in Brno in the early 1990s by fencing enthusiasts who had a penchant for dynamic, historical performances; actors at heart with day jobs who wished to travel the country, entertain the public, play with swords and fire, and dress up in fantastic outfits, with much drumming and fanfare. In short, enthusiastic thespians with weapons.
Enter stage left
Mr. Kominka joined the group in 2008. Described at the time as a “cross-border acquisition from Upper Hungary” hailed for his quick movement, adroit and dexterous swordplay, as well as a “natural feeling for action,” he has since grown to be a leading member of the troop.
At their recent performance in Cesky Krumlov during its Five-Petalled Rose Festival held over summer solstice, Mr. Kominka won many accolades, albeit he didn’t win the princess’s hand. Instead, he committed suicide out of shame and humiliation over being tricked by a drum-playing buffoon who bribed him with a gold coin, that was really made of chocolate. He would’ve been banished by his proud clan in Scotland and couldn’t bear the disgrace, cheated by a fool.
Flags and fire
As roaming swordsmen engaged in theatrical performances in Gothic or Renaissance costume, the group not only stages humorous tournaments and battles for a beautiful maiden’s hand, but also comedy designed for the youngest audiences, as well as contests for children. Not to stand flat-footed, they also organize fencing classes and training in swordplay appropriate for both adults and children. Likewise, they will gladly lay siege to your castle or camp in your town square, having over half a dozen tents with accouterments; and, they provide their own lighting and sound equipment to stage their performances. To top it off, they march to-and-fro, drumming and waving flags.
And, they play with fire.
He’s worked his way up to driving the van
Because of his dedication and clean driving record, Mr. Kominka has earned the respect of his fellow players—and the keys to the van. Their next big performance near Prague will be during Vinobrani at Karlstejn, 29-30 September 2018.
Which happens to be the very castle where, last year, Mr. Kominka found time for a quick glass of refreshment with Eliska Pomoranska, wife of king Charles IV.
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