Radim Vizváry, new Artistic Director of Laterna Magika, presents his visions
Radim Vizváry, the Thalia Award winning and internationally acclaimed mime artist, director, and teacher, became the Artistic Director of the National Theatre’s fourth stage, Laterna magika, earlier this year. He was offered the post six months ago. Radim Vizváry is planning to build on the legacy of Laterna Magika as a multi-genre theatre, to use his connections both in the Czech Republic and abroad to attract creators and artists, and to encourage the use of new technologies. He also envisions more extensive educational activity and accompanying programmes.
Laterna magika: multi-media and multi-genre theatre
Radim Vizváry wants to open Laterna Magika to new artistic challenges and collaborations, and to new types of projects. “Laterna Magika has undergone many transformations throughout its history, and has been searching for new conceptions and trying to keep up with the trends in theatre and audio-visual technology. Today, it is absolutely necessary for Laterna to adopt a more progressive approach to new technologies and follow stronger impulses leading to its multi-genre character. I value the legacy of Josef Svoboda and Alfred Radok and believe that we will be able to fulfil their timeless visions by making Laterna Magika a space for experiment,” says Vizváry about his new concept.
The use of new technologies should be encouraged by collaborations with technical students, as well as digital artists and other professions, not necessarily related to theatre. “The National Theatre has a unique opportunity to create a platform for a full-fledged fourth genre,” continues Vizváry. “We can now fuse artistic styles, movements and fields which have served to or have been subject to historically well-rooted genres. I mean. for example. contemporary dance, physical theatre, mime art, acrobatics, puppet theatre and new circus. They all deserve their own space where they could grow into full-fledged representatives of contemporary theatre.”
Laterna magika should not only make use of already existing means, but also of custom-made technologies. “Theatre makers should opt for those technologies already in use that rarely appear on stage or do not appear at all. We should explore new materials and new methods in our work,” points out the new artistic director. “I would like to invite a different director for each project, either from the Czech Republic or abroad, and suggest other artists for collaboration. I will dare to do one more essential thing – make sure creators stay faithful to the poetics I want for Laterna magika,” he explains. Laterna magika will become an open platform for creators and performers, it will support young talents and give space to experienced as well as aspiring young artists.
Workshops, site-specific interventions and international collaborations
The members of Laterna magika company will take part in workshops of various theatre disciplines on a regular basis to earn new experience and skills (especially when emphasis is put on multi-genre character). The dance studio – now Studio Laterny magiky – will reopen and its activities will be extended as soon as anti-pandemic restrictions are lifted. Laterna magika will also embark on a path of site-specific projects outside of the New Stage to get closer to their audience and let them experience theatre in different forms, in unexpected places and public spaces.
The company will also focus on creating touring productions to present both in the Czech Republic and abroad. Laterna magika should also take advantage of international grants programmes, especially the International Visegrad Fund and others. International collaborations will be underpinned by Laterna’s own festival, organised as a biennale of multi-genre and multi-media theatre and bringing together artists who have interest in Laterna’s poetics and genre-blending. The pilot edition will take place in July 2022. The company’s dramaturgy will be more balanced in relation to young audiences that need to be sensitively shaped and educated. After the reconstruction of the New Stage of the National Theatre, Laterna magika plans to present two premieres per season, one full-length production and one production for families with children.
New family show to premiere in spring
Rehearsals for Laterna magika‘s first premiere under Vizváry’s directorship are already underway. Zázrak (s)tvoření (The Miracle of Creation), directed by Vizváry himself, is intended for families with children. In the centre of this original piece, blending contemporary dance, new circus, puppetry and hand animation, is a simple idea – life is how we create it. “The hero is a boy who, in the face of nothingness, creates his own world using his fantasy and a simple material, white paper. He will go on many adventures and learn a lot about himself and how to preserve the fragile world he created,” says Radim Vizváry about the new production. The stage and costumes were designed by Marek Cpin, and the choreography was created by Matyáš Ramba (member of the Losers Cirque Company). The piece features music by Ivo Sedláček, animation and projections by Maria Procházková (director of Vidím nevidím in Laterna magika), and Karel Šimek’s lighting design. The premieres are scheduled for 11 and 12 March 2021 (depending on the current anti-pandemic restrictions).
Laterna magika at Expo 2020
Laterna magika will participate in the World Exhibition Expo 2020 which is to be held from October 2021 to March 2022. As the company’s artistic director, Radim Vizváry will present his original work Robot Radius. Two years ago, he was contacted by the Office of the General Commissioner of Czech participation at the General World Exposition EXPO and asked to create a piece based on Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. This iconic theatre play is celebrating 100 years since its premiere and Vizváry’s solo project centres on one of its principal characters. Even before Vizváry was offered the leading position in Laterna magika, the Office of the General Commissioner was considering a possible collaboration with the company which had emerged as a theatre phenomenon at Expo 58 and later succeeded at the 1968 and 1970 World Expositions. Now the collaboration is officially sealed. The Czech premiere will take place on 10 and 11 September 2021 at the New Stage of the National Theatre, and the world premiere will be held in Dubai, in October 2021. The guitarist Michal Pavlíček has agreed to join the creative process and play live at each performance. Robot Radius will be directed by Miřenka Čechová, another noteworthy figure of Czech non-verbal theatre.
Radim Vizváry is a mime artist, author, director, choreographer and teacher. He is one of the most significant, internationally acclaimed figures of contemporary mime theatre in Europe. He received his doctoral degree at the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In 2016, he won the Thalia Award in the category of Ballet, mime and other dance and theatre genres for his performance in his one-man project Solo. At the anniversay 70th world theatre festival in Hainan, China, in November 2018, he was awarded the ITI Medal (International Theatre Institute – World Organization for the Performing Arts) for his long-term out-standing work in theatre. Vizváry has earned many accolades in the Czech Republic, Europe and in the United States. In 2014, he was ranked among Oxford Encyclopedia outstanding personalities. As a theatre-maker, director and choreographer, Vizváry has created more than a hundred productions, and as a performer he has presented his work all around Europe, in the USA, Africa and Asia. Vizváry’s work centres on mime art and its contemporary forms and on non-verbal-theatre, also in the theoretical and educational sphere. He is the artistic director of the theatre group Mime Prague, co-founder and artistic director of the international MIME FEST festival, and artistic director of Tábor’s international festival of street theatre Komedianti v ulicích. He has cooperated with a number of prestigious institutions, such as NDT/Korzo Theatre in The Hague, the University of Arts Helsinki and others. For the National Theatre in Prague, he created choreography for the productions of The House of the Dead, Juliette (A Dream Book), Billy Bud, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he directed the grotesque opera The Chioggia Scuffles and the opera The Love for Three Oranges. Together with the Losers Cirque Company, Vizváry is currently building a brand-new venue for contemporary circus and mime, the BRAVO! Theatre (the former Bráník Theatre).
Source: National Theatre, Laterna magika
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