Thursday , October 6 2022

Burlesque works, but I wouldn't bring striptease here, says director Summer Letná


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It is being built in the Prague Summer Park for a week. On Wednesday, our biggest festival dedicated to the new circus and movement theater will explode again in a year. Summer Letná has built a solid position within the Czech festival offer over the last fifteen years, with a total of 55,000 visitors last year alone.

"I never wanted to add more big peaks and fill the Summer area. I always wanted to do a festival with good dramaturgy where people like to meet. The current deployment is accurate, "said Jirzi Turek, director and founder of the festival, during recent preparations for this year.

"Every year, of course, we try to improve the festival, we think about a special opening, but the current concept suits us. However, we would like to be more than just importers of ready-made designs, but also co-producers of new projects with colleagues from abroad. We did it several times, "he says.

What is the reputation of Letna Letna among foreign ensembles?
It might not sound the way we brag, but very good. This year we will be giving lectures at the festival in Auch, France. Foreign ensembles love to come back here, we are one of the few festivals that will allow fourteen performances in one place in one place. The Czech audience is challenging and critical, but it can be appreciated. Since everything is in the park, Letná Letná is reminiscent of a big picnic. Some foreign festivals are already inspired by us. But we are still learning.

Four alien stars come here every year – how do you pick them?
The choice is up to me and without seeing the presentation, I do not accept it and then consult it with the team. Of course, it is best for every promoter to find something new. Today we carry big stars, but it's easier, it's worse to start with the unknown and convince the viewer to come to them. I'm glad of both. Twenty-five years ago, I dreamed of bringing Cirque du Soleil, but at the time it was unrealistic, and today I prefer smaller companies.

Do you need a caravan to the big peak or are you booking a hotel?
When they come with their own high peak, they usually have caravans and caravans. However, some of the ensembles only play in the halls; But I know that everyone would prefer to stay in Summer's caravan.

How can the Czech scene compare to them?
Of course, we are lilliputians against France, but in those sixteen years a huge base was formed here – Cirk La Putyka, Cirqueon, Losers. The field is very popular here, if there were enough teachers and a place, half of the Prague children would visit it. It could be a circus school instead of a gym. We have several files, but they are up to date and comparable. Since we do not have a specialized school, it is fantastic what everyone as a self-taught student has achieved.

How did you get to the new circus?
It's a lifelong line. I did gymnastics in elementary school, I liked climbing trees and I wanted to be fitness. Later, I was transferred to contemporary dance and dance. At the same time, I discovered a pantomime that caught my eye. I acted as a professional mime at a theater in Branik and then worked there. At the time, the mime was just an invisible wall, pulling an imaginary rope and a white face. But then I visited the Mimos Festival in Perigueux, France and realized that the range was moving from street theater to circus to other interesting moving forms. I did my first festival in Branik, followed by the Caspar Cologne Memorial, which turned into Summer in 2004.

Was it similar to your interest in the new circus in Bulgaria?
It's now called a new circus, but the genre is forty years old. We introduced the new circus in 1991 at the first festival in Branik, but at that time it was called movement, dance or non-verbal theater. The concept of a new circus began to be used later in the world, of course, the greatest media fame was given to it by Cirque du Soleil and the genre became clearer.

Does Cirque du Soleil's current gigantic production retain its original free atmosphere?
I like them, though rather their old designs, as long as the original owner Guy Laliberte still had them. He then sold it to the Chinese and their latest production is actually just a video card and a show. But why not, it's a target-oriented format, a colorful musical full of lights. But in Montreal, and occasionally in Europe, the original old performances like Alegría are still played and these are really beautiful performances in the New Circus.

Is there anything you wouldn't take at the festival? This year, for example, the Canadian Cirque Alfons family will come again, bringing a show to the brink of a fallen burlesque …
Yes, it was a cabaret performance. I wanted to bring their show to Timber, but it plays a 70-year-old father who doesn't want to travel anymore. That's what Barbara was brought to, but surely no burlesque or cabaret fell. This year Tabarnak will be more theatrical. Striptease performances would certainly not come here, but today burlesque and cabaret are working again. Sometimes it's slightly on the edge, but I'm not afraid of it. However, the audience must be used to such production, accept their play, understand the exaggeration and then have a great time. Like in England or Australia.

During your time did you also include the winter version of Lední Letná, which does not work?
We also had Summer Summer on the road, for five years we toured the country to get to the new circus in the regions. Although we enjoyed traveling and it was beautiful but it was too demanding operationally and financially. The same was true of the winter version, although there was great charm. When the snow hit outside, the bulbs were on the heated tent and a T-shirt could be walked inside. So we still put Ice Summer on the ice, but I believe we will get back to it.

What would you like to invite this year?
Of course, at the opening, viewers can see the Tatiana-Mosio Bongong rope walker crossing Vltava. From the big foreign stars I can recommend everyone, like Projet.PDF – seventeen girls on stage I just see. Putting them together to have a continuous, miracle, and this is the first time they have played outside France. Cirque Alfonse also attracts great music. Then there is Cirque Aital, which is a tribute to the traditional circus, which at the same time irritates them a little.

Of these smaller ensembles, the black horse for me is the Belgian Théâtre d´un Jour with the performance Fear. They will have a large tip needle. And I have to recommend the Czechs. La Putyce is a very successful Isole music clown and the new Losers Cirque Company Heroes project will be interesting. Great location and great groups will be available at Summer Location.

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