Performances abroad are the cherry on our theatre cake. We never plan where to go – the invitations come randomly and unexpectedly. For our Romanian adventure in October, our third foreign festival this year, we were recommended to the organiser by Nik and Sarah from Noisy Oyster who had performed there last year. Based in the northern city of Iasi (pronounced Yash) towards the Ukraine border, it was a visual/physical theatre festival and a fairly prestigious one too – companies from 15 countries were performing. We were only able to see three of these due to scheduling, but as always these opportunities provide us with inspiration which is sometimes lacking in homegrown shows. Of particular note was a Czech presentation entitled “Putin goes Skiing” which used a minimal set to create imaginative and sometimes absurdist scenarios for the harrowing machinations of Putin, based on the book “A Russian Diary” by journalist Anna Politkovska, who was murdered in 2006.
Image from “Putin goes skiing”.
Following us on the small stage in the Iasi theatre was the Philippe Genty company performing “Odyssey”. We had seen an English language of this before in London but this time performed in French, the performers were more relaxed and able to enjoy the free flow of the comedy between themselves, and I understood far more what they were aiming at. It had many moments of satisfying invention, but the self-referencial conceit is not, in my opinion, enough to justify the length of the show. A great performance nonetheless, and deserving of the thunderous reception.
The third show we saw was a site-specific piece which was commissioned for an underground lake in a salt mine, and was partially re-created for the festival by staging it on a nearby stretch of water.
This link gives an idea of the mood of the original piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usKqFmCw5P
A lone actor on a raft searches for an exit, and muses on …..well we couldn’t be sure as we didn’t understand the language but no doubt he’s musing on the meaning of it all! A fantastic performance from Florin Vidamski and an unforgettable experience.
Our Piggies did us proud, as the packed audiences of children and adults responded in a way that was quite wonderful…delighted by the comedy and silent and rapt for the more poetic sections.We were overwhelmed at the end of each of our two shows, especially with the gifts of flowers from the children. Thanks to Oltita Cintec ( the artistic director) for the invitation. Thanks also to the very attentive and helpful technicians in the theatre and also to the lady who swept the floor after we’d left it littered with paper snow!
Pigs continue to fly! A festival director from Austria was in the audience for our first show, and was so enamoured by the piggies that she’s invited them (and us!) to perform in 2015. Thank you Piggy-Wiggy!