Radim Vizváry – new artistic director of Laterna magika

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Laterna magika, the fourth company of the National Theatre, has a new artistic director as of January this year. It is the internationally acknowledged representative of mime, director, teacher, and the Thalia Award winner Radim Vizváry. The new director plans to develop the legacy of Laterna magika as a multi-genre theatre, wants to utilize his Czech and international contacts for acquiring new authors and support the employment of new technologies. Education activities and accompanying programmes will be extended as well.

Laterna magika: multimedia and multi-genre theatre

Radim Vizváry plans to open Laterna magika to new artistic challenges and cooperation, as well as new types of projects. “Laterna magika has undergone many changes, looked for new forms, and tried to keep up with the development of theatre and audiovisual technologies. Nowadays it cannot do without new technologies and stronger impulses aiming at multiple genres. I respect Josef Svoboda’s and Alfréd Radok’s legacy and I believe that we will fulfill their timeless ideas by letting Laterna magika become the space for experiments,” Vizváry said about his new concept.

Cooperation with scientists and students at faculties of technology, digital artists, and other jobs that are not necessarily related to the theatre should help employ new technologies. “The National Theatre now has a unique opportunity to create a platform for the fully-fledged fourth genre,” says Radim Vizváry. “We have an opportunity to merge artistic styles, tendencies, and disciplines that have waited on or have been the subordinate parts of the historically rooted traditional genres. These are contemporary dance, physical theatre, pantomime, acrobatics, puppet theatre, and contemporary circus. They deserve their own space, where they can become well-rounded representatives of contemporary theatre art.”

Pejprbój, photo: David Konečný

Laterna magika should not employ only the present means, but also specifically designed technologies that would suit its needs. “The authors of the shows should use the already created technologies that are scarce on theatre stages or are not present at all. We should explore and use new materials and new methods in our work,” the new artistic director emphasizes. “I am planning to invite a different director from the Czech Republic or abroad for each project and I will recommend other artists for cooperation. I will also allow myself to do one crucial thing: to watch the authors that they do not diverge from the poetics I want to create for Laterna,” he adds. Laterna magika will be an open platform for authors and performers, will support young talents, and provide space to both experienced authors and the young generation. Laterna magika will also present site-specific projects outside the New Stage of the National Theatre to come closer to the audience and allow them to experience theatre differently in unusual venues or public spaces.

International cooperation will be supported by the festival that will be organized as a biennial of a multi-genre and multimedia theatre. It should become the place for the gathering of artists who acknowledge Laterna magika poetics and merging genres. The pilot edition will take place in June 2022.

Laterna magika dramaturgy will be more balanced towards children viewers who need to be carefully shaped. After the reconstruction of the New Stage of the National Theatre, it will stage two premieres every year – one full-length show and one show designed for families.

Solo, photo: Savid Konečný

The premiere of the family show in spring already

The first premiere that Laterna magika presents under Radim Vizváry is being rehearsed already. The show The Miracle of Creation Vizváry directs is designed for families. The main mission of the piece combining contemporary dance, contemporary circus, puppet theatre, and manual animation is a simple idea that the world will always be the way we make it. “The hero is a boy who creates his world from imagination and simple material – white paper, facing the emptiness. He experiences adventures and learns a lot about himself and about what is necessary to do not to lose the fragile world he has created,” Radim Vizváry explains. The stage and costume designer is Marek Cpin, Matyáš Ramba, the member of Losers Cirque Company, is the choreographer. Music was composed by Ivo Sedláček, animations and screenings are designed by Maria Procházková, who directed the show As Far as I See in Laterna magika and Karel Šimek will be the light designer. Premieres are planned for 11 and 12 March 2021 if the current pandemic measures will allow it.

Laterna magika at Expo 2020

Laterna magika cannot be missing at the Expo 2020 that will take place from October 2021 to March 2022. Radim Vizváry will present his work Robot Radius as the artistic director. The Office of the General Commissioner of Czech participation at the General World Exposition EXPO approached Vizváry two years ago to create the production with the topic of Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. The outstanding theatre play celebrates 100 years from its premiere and Vizváry was inspired by one of the characters in his solo project. Before he was offered the job of the artistic director of Laterna magika, the Commissioner was thinking about merging the project with Laterna magika that became a theatre phenomenon at Expo 58 and was successful at participation in 1986 and 1970. The cooperation has been officially confirmed now. The Czech premiere will take place on 10 and 11 September 2021 at the New Stage of the National Theatre and the world premiere took place in October in Dubai. Composer and guitarist Michal Pavlíček is closely associated with the performance and will perform live at every rerun. Miřenka Čechová, another outstanding figure of Czech non-verbal theatre, will be the director.

Heroes, photo: František Ortmann

Radim Vizváry is a mime, performer, director, choreographer, and educator. He is one of the most distinguished and internationally acclaimed figures of contemporary mime theater in Europe. He is a graduate of the Music and Dance Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where he received his Ph.D. He has received the 2016 Thalia Award in ballet, pantomime, and other genres for his performance in his work Solo. At the 70th edition of the international theatre festival in Haikou, China, he received the ITI anniversary medal in November 2018 for the long-term excellent outcomes in theatre. He has received other awards in the Czech Republic, Europe, and the USA. Since 2014 he has been ranked among outstanding figures of Oxford Encyclopedia. As an author, director, and stage designer, he has realized a hundred performances and he has presented his artwork in Europe, the USA, Asia, or Africa. He specializes in pantomime, develops it in the current state, and depicts the issues of non-verbal theatre in education and theory. He is the artistic director of the Mime Prague company, co-founder and director of the international festival MIME FEST, and the artistic director of the international festival of street theatre in Tábor called Comedians in the Streets. He has worked with many prestigious institutions, NDT/Korzo Theatre in Haag, University of Arts Helsinki, and others. He created choreography for the following productions at the National Theatre: From the House of the Dead, Juliette, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Billy Budd. He directed the opera grotesque Viva la Mamma or Love for Three Oranges. He is currently working on a new contemporary circus and pantomime stage Theatre BRAVO! (in the former Braník Theatre) along with Losers Cirque Company.