HEROES - Radim Vizváry is the hero
An excellent concept, top-class acrobatics, masterful mime art, attractive ideas. These superlatives concerning the latest project of the leading circus group Losers Cirque Company were unfortunately not matched by its dramaturgy, duration and numbers mixing too many genres. Heroes, which received its world-premiere at the Letní Letná festival, is a result of an on-going collaboration between the Losers, the director Daniel Špinar and the choreographer/mime artist Radim Vizváry.
What is going on inside the brain and body of a person who has been paralyzed by a car crash? This question forms the show’s leitmotif which has been reworked into multiple variations, from explicit scenes to completely abstract, hard-to-decode movement passages. The first figure we see on stage is the leading Czech mime artist portraying a young macho man. Sitting behind the wheel, he is showing off his ego instead of focusing on driving. Specific and easily recognizable noises, such as starting a car, gearing or rolling down a window, complete his movements. Such illustration seemed to be in place, as Vizváry’s entrance scene, ending in a crash, was the starting point for an hour-long show. His flawless, light-mode pantomime lacked only one thing, in my opinion – the performer’s white face he could hide behind and which would have allowed him to represent not only himself, but many others.
But who is the hero then? Is it the soloist who, following a car accident, becomes our guide through the world of fantasies of a person paralyzed by an injury? The one who opens the inside of his body, operation studios and memories to the audience? Or is it the people who help him come back to life – the characters played by the company members? The heroic theme is present in every little detail - doctors, ghosts and victims appear on stage, as well as unspecified figures showing breath-taking floor acrobatics (the company’ staple discipline in which they excel). One of the highlights of the show is also aerial acrobatics, masterfully executed by Martina Illichová. Vizváry’s performance made him a true hero, anyway. He took part in acrobatic tricks - for example, he climbed a human pyramid and reached its third floor - or (without blinking an eye) he fell several times into the arms of his fellow performers. And like Vizváry, who tried to keep up with the company’s high-level stunts, the acrobats often joined him in mime numbers, more or less successfully, Both sides emanated the effort and desire for connection, however, the uneven duration of individual scenes failed them.
An inextricable part of the show was a soft elastic Lycra fabric which enabled to create fascinating images through the bodies hidden inside of it (the stage was designed by Petr Horníček, the company’s principle). This functional theatrical tool (though frequently used in scenography), in combination with the performers‘ flexibility and Vizváry’s mime expression, became one of the Heroes’ strongest features. Regrettably, all manipulation with the fabric happened in the first third of the show and later flashbacks seemed more like an echo of the initial “wow” effect.
Unlike the Losers’ previous shows, Heroes did not include large-scale projections, but only LED screen animations – in the final scene, the light panels attached to the acrobats‘ costumes displayed various pictograms, for example a cross, heart etc. (the authors of the lighting design were Amar Mulabegovič and Honza Šíma). The flickering lights resembled neon adverts or a technologically innovated Superman logo. Excellent music and sound design (Ivo Sedláček, Karel Mařík) and light composition (Michael Bláha) are already a standard component of the shows. The costumes have been designed by Petra Vlachynská. She differentiated the protagonist’s attire from other costumes by its cut and colour – Vizváry’s white outfit contrasted sharply with ten acrobats clad in black full body suits. Each performer wore a belt with white numbers on it, clearly referring to the dates which were of some importance for them.
Heroes - it is brilliant acrobatics, exquisite mime theatre and impressive scenography. All this together make for a spectacular show, a powerful fight for life. Nevertheless, their first shared project EGO, which I consider to be their ultimate masterpiece, is hard to surpass.
Written from the performance held on 29 August 2019 at the Letní Letná festival
Direction: Daniel Špinar
Choreography: Radim Vizváry
Music: Ivo Sedláček
Costumes: Petra Vlachynská
Stage design: Petr Horníček
Lighting design: Michael Bláha, Amar Mulabegovič
Sound design: Karel Mařík
Production: United Arts
Cast: Radim Vizváry, Jindřich Panský, Matyáš Ramba, Vítězslav Ramba, Lukáš Macháček, Jiří Bělka, Mates Petrák, Jana Telcová, Kristýna Stránská, Martina Illichová, Nikola Kopáčová
Première: 23 August 2019, Prague, Letní Letná festival
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