Passini's Turandot was inspired by the last, unfinished work of Giacomo Puccini and the The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs. The creators called this production an "opera for the deaf". Paweł Passini linked the famous story of the Chinese princess Turandot, who unheads the suitors who can't solve her three riddles.
"Turandot" inspired by Puccin's opera and directed by Paweł Passini; photo: neTTheatre-Teatr w Sieci Powiązań and Grupa Coincidentia
Paweł Passini's piece wins at the Total Theatre Awards in the Physical/Visual and Innovation Performance category in Edinburgh
This is the second honour for the performance awarded at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - the first awarded received was the prize of Harald's Angel.
Since 1987 the Total Theatre Awards have been granted at the Edinburgh Festival. Five winners are selected by a group of thirty experts, in the course of, what is a rather rare occurance at such events, discussions about theatre and performance art.
Scenes from the Polish production directed by Paweł Passini by the neTTheatre - the Theatre in the Web of Connections from Lublin and the Group Coincidentia from Białystok - shown during the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh were competing with productions such as: "La Putyka" of the Cirk La Putyka from Czech Republic, "The Ballet Ruse" performed by Muirne Bloomer and Emma O'Kane of the Northern Ireland and "The Dark Philosophers" by the National Theatre of Wales and Told by an Idiot from Wales.
The nominated performances are evaluated by the jury and the awards are presented during the award ceremony at the Fringe Central on the 25th of August at 18:00.
Fringe Festival hosts 23 renditions of Paweł Passini's "Turandot" on the stage of New Town Theatre, between the days of: 4-16 and 18-27 of August.
Passini's Turandot was inspired by the last, unfinished work of Giacomo Puccini and the The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs. The creators called this production an "opera for the deaf". Paweł Passini linked the famous story of the Chinese princess Turandot, who unheads the suitors who can't solve her three riddles. In the performance, Puccini, an eccentric prince Kalaf, longs to win the hand of the cruel Turandot, and ends up in the princess' kingdom. The experiences that he becomes witness to result in the hero waking in China, where his music is not heard, and the official language is only sign language.
The production was also awarded with the Bank of Scotland Herald Angel prize on Friday, 19th of August and received a series of favourable reviews from various theatre columns and publications, including the following review in the 12th August issue of The Herald (excerpt):
It's Turandot - but not as we know it. There's no opulent chorus of soaring voices, no colourful pomp or elaborate scenery. Instead, a darkened stage houses fragments of a grotesque puppet-play, bizarre moments of performance, bursts of film footage and a chorus of three dark-clad men who use sign language instead of voices.
- Mary Brennan, "Deconstructing opera's heroes"
Review by Thom Dibdin published online at 11:19 on Wednesday 10 August 2011 at thestage.co.uk/edinburgh:
Skewering its way into the head of the composer Puccini in the last few weeks of his life, Polish company neTTheatre's production captures all the violence and sensuality of Turandot, the opera which he was racing to finish while he was dying of throat cancer. Director and writer Pawell Passini brings the whole range of performance forms to the stage.
Puccini is embodied in both Mariusz Laskowski and a hollow mannequin made of bandages which hangs above stage at the production's start. His music comes in pre-recorded arias, amplified half-singing from the stage and live easy-listening organ. Those in his real world, such as Dagmara Sowa as his wife, become part of his imagination, which rises up and people's the stage.
Over it all, a narrative arc is provided by Passini's reading of Puccini's letters during those last weeks. The history of his wife's incarceration, his servant girl's suicide after being accused of having an affair with him, his inability to work, the internal conflict over lines. And it all spills out on to the stage. Laskowski fighting with unfeasibly tall Chomczyk – blood-splattered blow after blood splattered blow.
This is theatre of the edge, a vivid, visceral production which, while hard to watch, still demands that you come back to experience it again.
The show, produced in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, is part of the Cultural Programme of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council. On Monday the 5th of September, it travels to Kiev, where it will be shown as part of the DimChimer Festival. For more on the Ukrainian showing of Turandot, see: Passini's Turbulent Turandot Takes the Stage in Kiev.
Plays shown in Kiev in addition to the neTTheatre's perfomance are:The Brothers Karamazov of Teatr Provisorium, Ferdydurkefrom the Teatr Provisorium and Kompania Teatr andThe Hunger of Knut Hamsun by the Lublin Dance Theatre and Scena Prapremier InVitro.
In Poland Turandot received the jury's award at the 16th Competition of the Polish Contemporary Art Exhibition.
Turandot, direction, screenplay, music: Paweł Passini; visual effects: Maria Porzyc; set design cooperation: Michalina Kostecka; sign language consultation: Magdalena Urbańska; Cast: Dagmara Sowa, Katarzyna Tadeusz, Iga Załęczna, Paweł Chomczyk, Mariusz Laskowski and the students of a school from Lublin.
The performance premiered on the 16th of October 2009; perfomance showings in Edinburgh: 4-16 and 18- 27 August 2011.
artistic director: Paweł Passini
ul. Peowiaków 12; 20-007 Lublin
tel. 0-505 176 157 (Paweł Passini)
c/o Centrum Kultury w Lublinie / The Centre for Culture in Lublin
c/o 16-010 Wasilków
ul. Krucza 24/22
tel. (+48) 601 179 070 - Paweł Chomczyk
tel. (+48) 607 979 159 - Dagmara Sowa
Source: press materials, www.totaltheatre.org.uk, www.edfringe.com, www.neTTheatre.pl, www.grupacoincidentia.pl