"Planet Lem" debuted in London as part of the Watch This Space Festival on the 1st of July - the inauguration day of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council in 2011. The performance, created by the theatre group Teatr Biuro Podróży, is inspired by the writings of Polish science fiction writer Stanisław Lem.
Photo: Jakub Wittchen
Teatr Biuro Podróży launched its Planet Lem tour on London's Theatre Square
"Planet Lem" debuted in London as part of the Watch This Space Festival on the 1st of July - on the inauguration day of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council in 2011. The performance, created by the theatre group Teatr Biuro Podróży, is inspired by the writings Polish science fiction writer Stanisław Lem.
Lem, Poland's most translated contemporary writer (his works have been published in 41 languages) rose to fame with his 1961 novel "Solaris" which has since been adapted to film three times, although it was "The Cyberiad" (English-language release: 1974) that propelled the author to international acclaim. Other popular works include "His Master's Voice" (1968) and "Fiasco" (1987). His unique, witty and poignant reflections on the relation between technological progress and human limitation have led to film adaptations (most notable is Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 version of "Solaris". Recently the same novel inspired Steven Soderberg's film "Solaris", which starred George Clooney and Natasha McElhone) Teatr Biuro Podróży's "Planet Lem" is the first theatrical adaptation inspired by Stanisław Lem's works. It is based on characters and themes from the whole of the writer's oeuvre.
A member of the London audience, Nell Frizzell commented in his review of the premiere showing:
(...) a play in which stilt-walking robots fight future-tripping spacemen, while a chain-smoking cyborg rollerblades around the neon-lit stage and gelatinous humanoids moan and stumble around like brainless toddlers. This wasn’t just sci-fi. This was live action Polish sci-fi.
Planet LEM was the latest creation of the Teatr Biuro Podrózy company. You know, the guys who did Macbeth on stilts (well, actors on sticks makes a change from heads on spikes, I suppose). They came to the National Theatre outdoor stage as part of I, Culture, the touring Polish cultural showcase to tie in with Poland’s EU presidency. After London the company were off to Belgium, Kiev and Minsk so, as you can imagine, dialogue wasn’t exactly centre stage. It would probably be more accurate to call Planet LEM a sci-fi dance performance. With aluminium towers, inflatable rubber robots and psychedelic screened mechanical overlords.
All of which makes it sound like my theatrical equivalent of going on a first date to Laser Quest with a leather trouser-wearing sociopath with a pierced tongue and pockets full of beef jerky. And yet, I quite enjoyed myself.
The ultra-padded humans – who 1,000 years of passive, munching subservience has turned into little more than angry babies – were hilarious and adorable in equal measure. The stilt-walking robots were impressive, if a little scraping (the sound of aluminium on concrete has never been one of my favourites), and the little moments of comedy, like the chest-puffing robot, worked.
For full article, see: www.ideastap.com
The Watch This Space festival is a free outdoor event featuring fire shows, juggling, live music, dance, table-spinning, break dance, cabaret, graffiti and trapeze shows and street art and performance on London's South Bank. The festival includes both day and night-time performances and many dance and activity-orientated events are participatory. Performers hail from Britain, Europe and across the globe.
That same weekend, the festival also hosted the I, CULTURE Contemporary Craft Workshop.
Co-produced by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Teatr Biuro Podróży's showings take place in Brussels, Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, Kiev, and Beijing
Date: 1st of July, 2011
Venue: Theatre Square, South Bank, London
Organised by: the National Theatre, Adam Mickiewicz Institute
Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
"Planet Lem" is a Flagship Project of the Cultural Programme of the Polish Presidency. For more information on the project and trailers to all the films, see: Planet Lem.
Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute
For more information on the festival, see: www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.