The international festival Spectaculo Interesse in Ostrava shows various forms of puppetry

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The 13th edition of the international puppet festival Spectaculo Interesse, which takes place from September 29 to October 4 in Ostrava, offers a varied programme for all age groups. The festival opens on Sunday, September 29, at 5 p.m., with the Lampion Theatre from Kladno and its performance Happy Prince.

The Puppet Theatre Ostrava organizes the 13th international puppet theatre biennial Spectaculo Interesse from September 29 to October 4. The organizers in Ostrava will welcome puppeteers from 14 countries: Italy, Great Britain, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Canada, Denmark, Israel, Russia, Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

The programme of the festival will be divided into the main (competition) part with 23 productions, and a supporting programme, offering discussions, a concert, fairy-tales at the open-air theatre, the Brothers Forman Theatre’s most recent project, along with the opening and closing performance on the main stage. Spectaculo Interesse will take part at the Puppet Theatre Ostrava, Old Arena and Černá louka.

The festival is designed for all age groups – the varied programme will offer theatre experiences for both children and adults. Some performances are suitable for one-year-old viewers as well, for instance bathroom clownery Krecipupa performed by LALE.Teatr from Wroclaw about a perpetual need to fidget, or the Italian performance Una storia sottosopra (translated as Upside Down).

The 13th edition of the festival will open by the performance Happy Prince by Theatre Lampion from Kladno on Sunday, September 29 at 5 p.m. on the main stage of the Puppet Theatre. The production was directed by Matěj Forman, who also works for the internationally acknowledged Brothers Forman Theatre, which will also present its most recent project DEADTOWN. Apart from the Lampion Theatre, the SI programme includes other important Czech puppet theatres – Drak Theatre from Hradec Králové with the production White Fang, inspired by famous Jack London, Alfa Theatre with the unique project Alfa Farm inspired by George Orwell’s books, Naïve Theatre from Liberec with the production for children of two years of age or older about dogs and trains Choo. Choo. Whistle. Woof!, and for older audiences (and tramping lovers the puppet comedy One Hour More or Gathering in the Woods, which will be the final performance of the festivals after the winners are announced. The prize-winning performance will be announced by the international professional jury: the editor-in-chief of Puppeteer magazine and teacher at KALD DAMU Kateřina Lešková Dolenská (Czech Republic), the professor of puppetry history, historian and critic Marek Waszkiel (Poland), and the director, actress and teacher Martina Maurič Lazar (Slovenia). The jury will award four prizes. The design of the prizes has changed, and it is the first time this year when the winners have got special glass puppets designed by visual artist Tomáš Volkmer, made by the glassmaker and teacher Ondřej Strnadel. The ceremony will take place on Friday, October 4 at 4 p.m. at the main stage of the Puppet Theatre.

This year’s programme will see the encounter of traditional forms of puppet theatre with productions merging more genres – the puppet and dance production Eh man hé performed by Zero en Conducta from Spain, or the Slovenian production Nekde drugje showing how puppet theatre can employ the most recent technologies. The Puppet Theatre Ostrava will participate in the competition with the new performance from the past season Attacks of the Plastics, directed by Pavel Gejduš. The three-member dramaturgic board, which created the programme, did not avoid current topics – the issue of immigration is depicted in the Slovenian performance Nekde drugje, as well as the bodily-puppet performance Invisible Lands from Finland.

The above-mentioned Brothers Forman’s Theatre will present its most recent touring performance DEADTOWN, being on the verge of theatre and silent movie, for the first time in Ostrava. In order to provide the viewers with authentic experience of the Wild West, Forman Brothers use their own theatre tent, which is a big wooden cottage, puppets, masks, painted set pieces, film animations, actor’s action, live music, and a number of sounds. After the performance they open their Saloon on the stage for audiences as well and spend the rest of the evening together. The DEADTOWN production will take place on September 29-30 and October 2-4 at 7 p.m. at Černá louka.

Evening audiences will enjoy the extensive programme in the chamber hall of Stará aréna Theatre at Masaryk Square. The distinctive Israeli woman Michal Svironi, who is described in reviews as “a combination of Tom Waits and Mr. Bean), will perform with cabaret Mein Kind, the Czech company IDDQD will offer the last chance to see their unique puppet performance, inspired by cartoon poetics, GOON: Bloody Revenge!, which has already had its official last performance in Prague.

The support programme will also include the opening puppet parade, performed by Cirkus trochu jinak from Ostrava, LoutKEC – an informal discussion with professionals under the guidance of puppeteer Michal Drtina, or the concert of the Czech-Slovenian band Fekete Seretlek with their wild music, who performed in previous years’ editions of the festival. Fekete Seretlek will perform twice: for the first time at the concert in the Stará aréna café and then during the performance of RAT, created with Studio Damúza from Prague.

Kindergartens and the general public will have a chance see the programme in the open-air theatre, which include performances from Sunday to Wednesday at 3 p.m.: vi.TVOR company with the fairy tale The Tall, the Wide and the Sharp-Eye, Studio Damúza with the performance Golem, Divadlo b will offer the fairy tale Little Man (viewers may know it from the cinema) and the company Cakes and Puppets from Prague will play the fairy tale Puss in the Boots. Entrance fee in the open-air theatre is free of charge.