Connoisseurs of Cimrman’s works do not need to be introduced to Jár’s ingenious escape loop called Vichr z hor. The theater festival Wind from the mountains is a gentle paraphrase, a nod to the great Czech all-rounder, but with humility – and therefore not a gale, but a wind.
Modest Trotters in the Cherry Blossom Scenery.
| Photo: Rostislav Křivánek
Twelve seasons ago, when the director of the Varnsdorf theater, Martin Musílek, came up with the festival with this name, he had a clear goal in mind – to open the curtain to a theater other than the kind that is a regular part of subscription groups. To the new, progressive, searching and often downright experimental. After all, the viewer has the right to choose from the whole range of theatrical performances – from comedies calculated precisely for effect, through classic productions of brick-and-mortar theaters to new forms looking for pieces that we used to call “alternative”. And it was for them that Wind from the Mountains became a welcome platform.
Wind from the mountains – poster (click to enlarge)Source: Rostislav KřivánekIt’s a shame that this show isn’t over-the-top. However, Wind from the Mountains is attended by those who want to come – and such an audience is often more valuable than a full house of those who come because of the names and kind of expect to be thoroughly entertained. Over the years, the audience of Větr z hory knows very well that they will not get anything right under their noses, that these productions simply count on their active approach, and some of them are even directly conceived as immersive, i.e. counting on pulling the viewer into the story – on a voluntary basis by itself.
Before we look at the program of this year’s 12th annual Wind from the Mountains, it will be good to mention another important connection. The Municipal Theater Varnsdorf has long been offering theatergoers the possibility of summer residencies. That’s when the group of kumštyrs in question gets together and settles down in the theater for a while during the theater holidays. They live here, they rehearse here, and at the end of their stay they traditionally organize a “work in progress” show and invite people to see what has been invented and tested – even though it is not yet in its final form. The premiere often takes place on the stage of the Varnsdorf theater – out of gratitude for the asylum provided. And this year will be no different. So what awaits us next week?
Behind Doubický kluk and at the very successful exhibition Still Primitiv
On Tuesday, November 14, from 7 p.m., the remarkable ensemble Geisslers Hofcomedianten (despite the name, it is a Czech theater operating in Kuksa and Prague) will bring an award-winning production of Hans von Grimmelshausen’s most famous baroque novel Simply Simplicius, or Holy Simplicity! The main character is a kind of Forrest Gump in the background of the Thirty Years’ War. He knew nothing, but he learned what was good. And then he met people. The people were at war and the war was in them. And so, together with the actors, we will go through the journey of an ordinary boy through the battlefield of life full of wins, losses and the desire to be good again. By the way – the representative of Simplicio Vojtěch Franců was nominated for the Thalia Award in the field of alternative theater for his performance.
On Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 7:00 p.m., we will see a production that was created during the summer residency at the Varnsdorf theater. Writer Petra Hůlová has ventured into the world of theater for the third time. She invited visual artist Pavel Havrd and sound wizard Petr Vrba, and together they created a multi-genre self-fiction theater documentary Řevnice, Slepá Street. Topic? War, fear, identity, childhood as a cork on the surface of adulthood – the search for oneself in the frantic today. After the premiere in Prague’s Alfréd ve dvor theater, the creative trio returns to where it started with the production to present it in its final form.
A few words about the current version of the commemoration of Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc in Děčín
On Saturday, November 18, the Night of Theaters will start. From 5:30 p.m. and then at 7:00 p.m., the premieres of the immersive theatrical performance Psshshsh, keep it to yourself! The souls of the theater are not only the actors, but also all the others who tread the paths, put out the fires of emotional outbursts, but do everything to make it actually nice for those who came to the theater to relax, laugh, laugh and cry. How do they live behind the scenes, away from the spotlight and without the applause every night? This is exactly what we will find out during a mysterious pilgrimage through the theater, where we will come across hidden desires and sophisticated intrigues. The artistic group FysioART is behind the unconventional theater experience, led by the author of the concept and director Hana Strejčková. The night of theaters then continues from 9 p.m. with a concert by the very relaxed indie-folk band Střídmí Klusáci V Kulisách Višní, which will present a well-proven mix of groovy piano, equilibrist guitar, a unique percussionist performance and a small recital of slam poetry – in other words, fireworks of melodies, words and fun.
On Sunday, November 19, the stage of the Varnsdorf Theater will belong to the children. From 3:00 p.m., the premiere of the production Snílek will begin, which Hana Strejčková and the FysioART group are behind again. Anyone who was at a performance like Work in progress in the summer – and that the children were blessed to be there – already knows what a playful, imaginative and engaging experience awaits the children. This performance also began to be created in the summer in Varnsdorf, and the authors did not think for a moment that they would make the world premiere somewhere else. The world premiere is not an inflated term, as the concept of this project has extraordinary international potential. Dissolute at times, and also a little mysterious, but mainly the tempting journey from the door to the window of one room, from the pillow to the edge of the bed, and perhaps even to the very edge of the world, can be done essentially without words. A moving, interactive and multimedia solo for children tells about dreams and its heroes, about the flapping of the wings of birds flying over the horizon, about a duvet full of snowflakes and a musical score with a blooming meadow. And the children will not only watch!