LENKA VAGNEROVÁ & COMPANY (CZ): FREAK SHOW
September 16th at 7 pm
Tylův dům_Tyl Theatre, vstupné_admission: 200,-/150,- Kč
Freak Show is about fear of the strange and the unknown, about what we are capable of selling and at what price, about the boundaries and moral limits of profit, about entertainment devoid of joy, about loneliness, as well as laughter, courage, dreams, human dignity, magicians and spotlights.
Freak shows were itinerant companies that travelled from town to town and exhibited curious items, skills, and especially people… “queer and peculiar” people. In the golden age of freak shows, they were the sole refuge for these people, ostracized and rejected by society for fear of the unknown and different. The exhibition of those who had nowhere else to turn was a most profitable endeavour for the owners, the impresarios. In a society hungry for human suffering, where royal entertainment could be had for the entire family, freak show ticket booths drew queues of respectable citizens who wanted to be amazed, amused and horrified. Women turned away in disgust from human anomalies, children covered their eyes in terror and men contemptuously met the eyes of the creatures they barely deemed human, beings humiliated as exhibits, with no fortunes, dreams or hopes. Yet, they were people who dreamed and longed to live, and were often more human than those who gawked at them with astounded eyes; people with destinies none of us would want to experience, but proud and courageous nonetheless, full of love and dreams of a future that would never come to pass.
But what happens when the celebrated show loses its lustre and the trek to distant places brings diminishing profits and increasingly indifferent audiences? What if the performers are no longer part of a lucrative business but become a burden to be jettisoned?
In what situations does a human soul lose value for others, and to the contrary, when does a person maintain one’s dignity and nobility without any sign of cynicism or resentment, without harbouring a grievance towards one’s cruel surroundings?
Choreographer and director: Lenka Vagnerová
Music: Ivan Acher
Set design: Jakub Kopecký
Costumes: Jakub Kopecký, Simona Rybáková
Lighting design: Michal Kříž, Jakub Kopecký
Illusions: Jiří Marek
Performers: Andrea Opavská, Monika Částková, Vanda Šípová, Zuzana Veselá / Fanny Barroquere, Michaela Kadlčíková, Patrik Čermák, Michal Heriban, Filip Martinský
Sound: Petr Taclík
Production: Michaela Zelková, Petr Kiška
Producer: Lenka Vagnerová & Company
Co-producer: MDP Městská divadla pražská (Prague City Theatres), EISFABRIK
With support from: Prague City Hall and the Ministry of Culture.
Photo: Michal Hančovský
Graphics: Michal Heriban
Acknowledgements: Vladimír Javorský