Laterna Magica Theatre premieres new performance on Feb. 27th

Laterna Magika, the Magic Lantern Theatre in Prague, performed the premiere of its new show - called Graffiti - on Wednesday. In front of a full-house, curiosity and expectation was in the air as the performance started. It was obvious that Graffiti was a real success, and that the theatre had presented a fresh approach towards modern theatre. RP's Olga Szantova went along to the premiere...

The evening started with a very dynamic and vivid film projection showing the hidden aspects of city life - the sewers, metro trains rushing back and forth and the drab walls of city tenements. The overwhelming noises attacking the audience from all sides died-down and the pictures became brighter as the walls were livened-up by graffiti. This was the basic concept behind the performance, as Laterna Magica's production manager, Vaclav Janecek told me

"We wanted to show graffiti more like an inspiration, like of the form, the painting form, of the protest against the gray, bad parts of the city, so we wanted to show graffiti as a better thing than we usually judge."

This approach may be controversial for some, and it certainly is new. After all Laterna Magica is no alternative theatre, and the form of the performance is in full accordance with the project. It uses very new technology, enabling the film and the dancers to act together - the film is not in the background, nor at the side - it is right there, among the dancers, so this is a very new kind of performance, says Vaclav Janecek.

"Yes, quite different, because we are able to get the film just in the center of the stage without using a screen. So, we project in the air. It's like a miracle and our theatre should be the theatre of miracles."

And that is just what Laterna Magica, the Magic Lantern, always has been, a miracle - ever since it was first shown at the World Fair in Brussels in 1958. The interconnection of actors, dancers and film, is very unique and throughout the years the theatre has been one of Prague's main attractions with a world wide reputation. So much so that when it started preparing this latest performance, dancers and choreographers working in prestigious companies abroad considered it an honor to be invited to participate. One of them is Vaclav Kunes, a young dancer with the Nederlands dance theatre in the Hague. He devised and arranged one of the five scenes that comprise the performance. What was his aim, and what idea was he trying to express?

"Nowadays I feel everyone is so busy with themselves you sometimes may have somebody right in front of your eyes, but you are not able to meet people, you are not able to see each other. I am inspired by life in the theatre, I wanted to show what dancers might go through once the performance is finished, how they go into their own lives, how they have exactly the same problems as other people."

The whole performance is an attempt at approaching the various problems of contemporary life - including drugs and relationships - in a new and imaginative way.

Author: Olga Szantová
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