Dance: As Far as I See
An inspired and family-friendly production from a dance company renewed and infused
Posted: February 13, 2013
Combining the the National Theater's support and resources with the creativity of the Laterna Magika ensemble, As Far as I See broadens dance horizons.
After a period of financial problems, Laterna Magika came under the aegis of the National Theater in 2010 as its fourth ensemble, along with opera, drama and ballet; last year, it became part of the New Stage. Laterna Magika was founded in 1958 as a theater that doesn't use words, only a combination of film projection and live stage media: dance, sound, lights, pantomime and black box.
It has been two years since the theater premiered Legends of Magic Prague, its last production based on this form. Now, Laterna Magika has brought us a brand-new multimedia project, Vidím nevidím (As Far as I See). It will be the very first production after the company's merger with New Stage.
As Far as I See is a piece intended for the whole family and manages to carry on the artistic legacy of Laterna Magika's creators. The film director and animator Maria Procházková - creator of Who's Afraid of the Wolf and Shark in the Head, in which shots with live actors are complemented with animated sequences - also brings an entirely new concept. In a similar way, As Far as I See explores the unusual interaction possibilities between classical animation and live actors and dancers supplemented with elements of black theater onstage.
The main character, a little girl named Agata, begs her daddy to tell her how she was born. But instead of listening, she keeps interrupting him and adding to the story as she has heard it at least 100 times before. Agata's dad tells her that once in a small town there was a postman who was delivering letters. Every day he used to pass a hairdressing salon where her mom worked. They fell in love, and after some time they had a baby girl. Everyone was happy; however, the doctor worried because her eyes were not quite right. She was blind. Agata had to touch the world around her to "see" it. But then her doctor managed to cure her.
When: Feb. 14, 15 and 17 at 6
Where: The New Stage
Tickets: 220-390 Kč available at the National Theater box offices
As Far as I See is Procházková's first turn at directing theater; she created it specifically for Laterna Magika. It is loosely based on the book Five Minutes to Dinner, written by Iva Procházková, the director's aunt. "It's all about the fantastic ideas of a little blind girl, and using film animation seemed too constricting; it would limit the viewer's contribution to the story," Maria Procházková says. "A feature film wouldn't give me so many creative options, and the darkness, which plays an especially important role in the story, doesn't work well in film. When Laterna Magika came to mind, all was clear. I could start to play with the motifs into the detail. The spectators are in close and live contact with the main character; I could work with the boundary of darkness and light, use projection, black theater and amplify it all with music and sound effects."
The oversized props and elaborate getups created by stage designer Jan Novotný and costume designer Simona Rybáková enhance little Agata's fantasy world onstage. "The performance is about discovering, exploring and enjoying the world around us," Procházková says. "It's about fleeting moments that attract us somehow, as well as about experiences and perceptions meaning home for us, a place where we all like to return. And, for me personally, it's about love. When you feel loved you feel good in the world no matter what happens."
In the production, the actress Linda Rybová stars as Agata's mother and Tomáš Měcháček plays the role of her father. Two talented girls alternate as Agata: 8-year-old Rozárka Husáková and Ada Matoušů, 7. And it's all augmented by Laterna Magika's artistic company.
After some years without a new production, Laterna Magika's period of creative stagnation comes to an end with As Far as I See and has returned the theater to its rich roots.
Johana Mücková can be reached at