A review of mime theatres from all over the world, an annual event organised by the Wola Theatre in Warsaw and the Warsaw-based Pantomime Centre...
Bodecker&Neander Company from Germany; photo by Kasia Chmura, courtesy of the organisers
A review of mime theatres from all over the world, organised by the Teatr Na Woli Theatre and the affiliated Warsaw Mime Centre
"Some say that the death of Marcel Marceau marked the end of the classical pantomime (...) and I disagree. It is true that sometimes the rules created by the fathers of the classical pantomime are not strictly obeyed, that the art has become more expressive and less concentrated on the details, on the technique, which is the essence of this kind of theatre. Happily, though, there still are artists who continue the tradition of the pantomime theatre which has the power to move us", Bartłomiej Ostapczuk, the festival's director said during the press conference.
The International Art of Mime Festival, an annual event organised by the Wola Theatre in Warsaw and the Warsaw-based Pantomime Centre kicks off in Warsaw on the 19th of August 2011. The festival, dedicated to presentation of modern forms of the inspiring wordless art is one of the most important of its kind in Europe. The 11th edition presents a chance to see ensembles from France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, the USA and Switzerland, both well-known and entirely new to the Polish public.
Friday 19th August at 19:00
Derevo, a Dresden-based theatre ensemble rooted in the tradition of Russian avant-garde theatre was founded in 1988 by Anton Adasinskiy whose earlier experiences included the famous clown theatre Licedei and the avant-garde band Avia. The ensemble's performances, always silent, are a modern and original combination of various styles and theatre traditions - from pantomime through to modern dance, Japanese butoh, clownery, the Russian avant-garde and commedia dell' arte. Derevo is famous for the beauty of the images they present on the stage. During the International Art of Mime Festival, they present a performance entitled "Harlequin".
While filling in a customs questionnaire at the airport, I wrote "Harlequin" in the "occupation" field.
The officer asked me what it meant.
I answered – "It's the thing I’ve been doing for many years at the theatre".
-Then you should write down: "An actor".
I apologised. He smiled.
Going away from the counter, I was feeling his glare on my back.
Suddenly I realized I was walking in a different way.
It was lighter and full of zest.
As if I was 300 years younger.
Saturday 20th August at 20:30
Mimo Pantomime Theatre was founded in 2002 by Bartłomiej Ostapczuk. Originally a one-man theatre, it soon evolved into an ensemble speaking a language of their own, inspired by the chief creators and reformers of modern pantomime. Since 2002 they have presented 10 premiere performances where essence of feelings and emotions is expressed through movement and gesture. The ensemble performs at the Royal Theatre in Wilanów and at the Wola Theatre in Warsaw; they also participate in theatre festivals both in Poland and overseas and collaborate with dramatic and operatic theatres individually. All year round they perfect their art at the Wola Theatre Pantomime Studio.
The "Stories of Day-Before-Yesterday", an open air performance directed by Bartłomiej Ostapczuk, is an attempt to save fragments of a world that doesn't exist anymore.While making the performance he was inspired by the Wola quarter in Warsaw, its residents and their memories. "I believe that the performance 'The Stories of Day-Before-Yesterday' is only the beginning of our search for the old Warsaw in us and that with time, it will be changing the same way the stories that were told us and emotions associated with them change", says the director.
Sunday 21st August at 19:00
Gregg Goldston has been performing in USA, Asia and Europe as a solo mime artist for the last 35 years, combining ballet and modern dance in a truly unique way. He is the founder of the Invisible People nomadic ensemble and a trio the Funny Bones based in Manhattan. He performed at both off and mainstream venues, the latter including Lincoln Center Institute and TV appearances, receiving enthusiastic reviews for his appearances. It isn't the first time Gregg Goldston visits Poland, the country he calls his second home - his first appearance in 2000 during the Art of Mime Festival in Warsaw with Alithea Mime Theatre led to an invitation to perform solo in 2002 and in 2005, during the subsequent editions of the Festival. Together with Bartłomiej Ostapczuk, since 2005, they created duo performances and conduct mime workshops. His master, teacher and collaborator, the famed Marcel Marceau remarked on his work: "His ability and vision have expanded the art of mime".
"Louder than Words" is a two hour long solo performance by one of the best mime soloists in the world, featuring four world premieres along with well-known acts.
Monday 22nd August 20:30
Tantehorse ensemble was founded by Miřenka Čechová and Radim Vizvary. They continue the tradition of Czech pantomime and at the same time search for the new forms. From the fascination with the classics the likes of Ladislav Fialka, Boris Hybner and Marcel Marceau they went on the artistic journey through slapstick, black humour, comedy and even Japanese butoh dance. All of them left a mark on their art. Their repertory includes performances for children and for adults.
The ensemble performed in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Austria and Belgium.
"They belong to the very best of Czech physical theatre not only with regard to their professionalism, mimic, acting and dancing skills, but also for their originality, powerful thoughts and artistic quality. Their show is an amazing spectacle", the critic Vojtěch Varyš from Divadelní noviny marveled after the group's performance of "Dark Trilogy".
"Tantehorse" is an open air performance about a boy ready to sacrifice his life for a beloved toy-horse who went missing in the virtual world during the war. The unreal world becomes the stage for the very real confrontation with primitive egotism, blind faith, obsession, cruelty, power and tyranny.
Tuesday 23rd August at 19:00
The Form Theatre - earlier known as the Modern Pantomime Theatre - was founded in 1996 by Józef Makrocki, formerly an actor of the Wrocław Mime Theatre conducted by the famous Polish mime master Henryk Tomaszewski. The ensemble combines elements of pantomime with those of classical and modern dance along with techniques characteristic for the dramatic theatre. The artists of the Form Theatre believe that the egalitarianism inherent to the art of mime enables them to trespass the boundaries of culture and language.
"Only you" starts in Poland of 1930s and continues in the Sixties. The director says: "Some of the events presented here as a part of this story…are a misty dream which came back to me from my childhood. It is the story of a difficult - even absurd - but still possible l o v e. The performance is dedicated to my father".
Thursday 25th August at 19:00
Gyöngyi Biro comes from Transylvania where she worked as a puppeteer and a mime. She left for Paris where she studied at Marcel Marceau's International School of Mimodrama and graduated in 1993. Then the collaboration between her and Sophie Weiss started - the artists created several performances together, including "The Closet" and "The Girandole". In 1996 she joined her master, Marcel Marceau for ten years as an assistant, both on stage with his New Company of Mimodrama and at school as a teacher. Paolino&Co is a theatre society of her own.
Sophie Weiss' education covers the areas of dance, theatre, music and circus. She studied pantomime at the school of Marcel Marceau. She collaborated with various ensembles including Cirque Bidon where she performed as a clown, mime and an accordionist. In 2005 she founded L'Optimiste - a theatre of her own.
"The Closet" shows the story of two characters who cannot live without each other. The forgotten couple living outside the world, lost in timeless space, desperately lonely yet fed up with each other a c t and r e a c t.
Friday 26th August at 19:00
The Swiss theatre group Spettatori comprises graduates of the movement theatre school Scuola Teatro Dimitri from Ticino. The ensemble was founded as a result of a highly successful diploma performance directed by Pavel Štourač. The group, characterised by cultural variety is dedicated to boundless experimenting with the international language of theatre.
"Where is the show", an all-silent performance is a mixture of physical theatre, dance, clownery and live music - composed and performed by the actors themselves. The performance explores the open and at the same time closed boundaries between the stage and the auditorium, between the real and the surreal.
Saturday 27th August at 19:00
Licedei is the first and only clown and mime theatre in Russia dedicated to the genre of clownery. The ensemble was founded in Leningrad in 1968 by Slava Polunin and still comprises some of its co-founders. The famous poetic silent clownery of Licedei is addressed both to children and adults. The expressive ensemble is one of the best of its kind in the world.
In "Fly and Saw" a clown tells spectators the story of how a famous performance is made and what life in theatre looks like.
Sunday 28th August at 19:00
In 1996 Marcel Marceau pupils and assistants Wolfram von Bodecker and Alexander Neander founded Theatre Mimo Théâtre. Since 2006 it has been called Compagnie Bodecker and Neander. Their first performance, "Silence", won the Berlin Audience award. Their subsequent production "Out of the blue" was also highly successful with both the public and critics. The duo, accompanied by musical ensembles presents visual concerts being a fascinating marriage of pantomime and music. They toured Europe, Asia, North and South Americas.
"Déjà vu" is a performance presenting new adventures of the already well known couple of tragicomical mimes. There are no words and hardly any props, just the silent dialogue between the artists and the audience.
Traditionally the International Art of Mime Festival is accompanied by mime workshops and the Modern Mime Evening (Wednesday 24th Augustat 19:00) where various techniques, styles and forms of mime are confronted with each other. The performers include Gregg Goldston, Bartłomiej Ostapczuk, Alexander Neander, Wolfram Bodecker, Józef Makrocki, Przemysław Grządziela, Miřenka Čechová, Radim Vizwary, as well as the participants of the mime workshops.
For more details on the International Art of Mime Festival see: www.mime.pl
Source: www.mime.pl, www.gazeta.pl, www.rp.pl, www.tantehorse.cz, www.derevo.org