Mezinárodní aktivity

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Úvody k příspěvkům Jiřího Adámka a Tomáše Procházky

MgA. Jiří Adámek, Ph.D.

Student or young artist? (Casuistry of searching the authentic creative expression)

At the moment, my first experience as main tutor of directing students is almost completed. My students have finished their final shows this autumn. I have had the opportunity to follow their development from the very beginning. Now, I would like to look back to our common experience.
Our Department of alternative and puppet theatre is concentrated on the principles of non-interpretative theatre. The basic accent is put on individuality of each student and on his permanent experimenting rather than on transmission of generally true principles. In this sense, I can feel a connection with the strong tradition of Czech theatre avant-garde which took place in 1920 and 1930 and has influenced the whole 20th century.

More and more, our graduates cooperate with alternative theatre studios creating small independent companies or working on their individual projects. This independent art milieu allows them to experiment in a very free way. On the other side, it demands on them to be autonomic personalities with original artistic visions.

It means that we, pedagogues, shouldn´t insist on our own principles and methods. We are supposed to follow students in their research and experimenting. On the other hand, we should find a balance between the artistic freedom of our students and practical exercises that put them obstacles in a good way.

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MgA. Tomáš Procházka

Noises and Visions. Puppet theatre influenced by experimental music and visual art

I would like to speak a little bit about crossover of puppet theatre with contemporary visual art and experimental music, from the practical point of view as well as sort of field research.

I am interested about unusual works of art professionals, not necessarily from the field of theatre, but leading into result, which can be best described as a puppet theatre or object theatre. I'm convinced that in some rare and hardly seen works of art of marginal importance we can spot interesting ways where can contemporary puppet theatre head for. Every human activity tends to create some sort of mainstream and this mainstream then often sets standards for everything else. To seek and take inspiration from outside the system is by my opinion very important.

I have been working for sixteen years with the puppet theatre Buchty a loutky, which is Czech independent company, sometimes described as punk-puppettry or underground puppetry. That so called “underground” element was mainly realised in the overall aesthetic of the group. This period of my life is now over, so I can maybe better analyse some of the main ingredients of the company’s work.
Extensive use of found objects, combination of old puppets and toys not matching neither the size nor the style of each other, low-tech and sometimes macabre aesthetic and at the same time deep influence of traditional puppet theatre creates the quintessential style of the group. Acting with puppets is significantly laid back and lacks any sort of virtuosity, all on purpose, with intent to emphasize the stand-off from the aestheticizing the puppetry.

At the moment I continue my work with the artistic group Handa Gote research&development, which we founded ten years ago.  It would be difficult to refer about the company as about conventional puppet theatre, but we work with elements of puppet theatre, too and one of our main interests would probably be the objects. We basically reduced all stage design to objects and give them the main role in almost every show we do. 

However we never personify objects and we don’t work with metaphors, which means we mainly want to present the objects as they are, unburden them from the tiring weight of theatrical metaphors. We want to present the objects as an extraordinary jewels of previous or contemporary technology or as a powerful idols, connecting theatre stage with spiritual space by the means of magical thinking.

We are influenced by the Czech visual artist and film maker Jan Švankmajer, who comes originally also from the world of puppet theatre.

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