It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since the Forman brothers’ Loď Tajemství (Mystery Boat), an avant garde theatre with performances held on an 84-metre long barge, first set out on the Vltava River. But over that period, the theatre, which runs from May through October, has become a Prague favorite. The 10th season has promised shows not only by the Forman brothers but close partners Theatre Aqualung and Dno (The Bottom), as well as international performers.
Earlier on Thursday, Jan Velinger spoke to Petr Forman on the deck of the Mystery Boat, discussing the project, past and present.
“Ten years ago we got a chance to reconstruct this barge for performances. At the start the barge was completely empty – there was nothing, but over a year-and-a-half 50 people worked very hard to transform it into a moving theatre and that was a very exciting period. Then we spent around four years travelling on the river, holding performances, travelling as far as Antwerp, doing the show Purple Sails. After that we began using the stage on the boat more for festivals and other events. But the main idea remains to take people on board and to travel with them during the show. It was very interesting to see over all those years how the boat changed the atmosphere of productions. It is something really special.”
There is certainly a lot of atmosphere: even now: there is a train passing on the old railway bridge behind us, on the other side, there’s Prague Castle. But I understand that this is your first year in Prague 2?
“That’s right, we were at this pier before but only on occasion. This year we will be posted here, and as you pointed out there is a lot of atmosphere here closer to the city centre. About 30 percent of our performances are travelling ones – unfortunately they can’t all be because it’s fairly expensive. But if you get to see a show thatb goes along the river, you will also get a sense of life around. Ten years ago when we began I was worried that the surrounding reality – the life around the river, all the cars, and trains, and trams as well as lights – would disturb or intrude on performances; in fact, the opposite is true. The reality around the river somehow goes very well with the shows, even during the most poetic moments. Somehow it all works 100 percent.”
You can find out more about specific performances during the spring summer and autumn months – shows for both adults as well as children - at formanstheatre.cz.