“Thou shalt not renounce thy wife!” This is how F. F. Šamberk’s most frequently performed comedy, about a group of confirmed bachelors, could also be titled. And renouncing the wife of one of the four friends who does not have the courage to admit that he has broken his vow and got married, thus losing a wager, is the play’s basic plot. The truth though is naturally revealed by none other than the renounced wife herself, bringing to bear the full force of female ruses and machinations. The bachelors’ club is disbanded. And, as it would seem, about time too, since none of the friends longs for bachelorhood any longer.
František Ferdinand Šamberk had a great sense of comedic situation and his play affords an extraordinary opportunity for not only the four male actors in portraying the “bachelors” but also the other performers. It has been adapted and staged by David Drábek, whose dramatic and directional style is characterised by an extreme pointedness verging on slapstick. In his productions, he often gives the actors free rein for improvisation. The Eleventh Commandment will be re-appearing in the National Theatre Drama repertoire after precisely eighty years and will be presented on the stage of the Estates Theatre.