Preview: Čarodějův učeň
Love can be cruel sometimes, but it might just save your life
Posted: February 27, 2013
With stark visuals and a powerful central theme, Čarodějův učeň (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) is an original yet unusual coming-of-age story for all ages.
Horror is a popular film genre. But when was the last time you experienced primal fears while taking in a dance adaptation? The National Theater is providing a rare chance for that this weekend with the world premiere of Čarodějův učeň (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) by the choreographer Jan Kodet. It is a brand-new production for which the creators have revived an old Sorbian legend dating from around the turn of the 18th century. Aside from the choreography, of course, perhaps the most crucial aspect of this performance is the bewitchingly dark, almost cinematic music of Zbyněk Matějů.
A boy named Krabat loses his parents to war and has to swiftly mature into a man. On the threshold of adulthood, he gets entangled with black magic. It fascinates him, until he comes to realize it can kill him. The story depicts the danger of encountering mysterious powers that can allure and infatuate. The theme is rather macabre, occult and spine-chilling.
Is your heart pounding already? Nevertheless, all of this comes to a happy ending: As is customary in fairy tales, legends and myths, in this story, too, love proves to be a force more powerful than death. The hero eventually finds that it can overwhelm even the darkest magic.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice was co-created by the young tandem of stage directors SKUTR: Martin Kukučka and Lukáš Trpišovský. Their previous productions have been met with enthusiastic responses on the part of critics and audiences alike and have earned them numerous awards - ensuring that a fabulous night's entertainment is in store again with The Sorcerer's Apprentice. "Our production is intended for families with children, adults and, primarily, teenagers," Trpišovský, the stage director and co-author of the libretto, writes in the show's promotional materials. "It is a dark dance story, replete with Jan Kodet's physical and dynamic choreographies. It will take the form of contemporary ballet, whereby even an ordinary gesture transforms into a magical dance element."
When: Feb. 28-March 2 and March 3, at 7
Where: National Theater
Tickets: 120-880 Kč, available at the National Theater box offices
"The production also places emphasis on a bold visual aspect," Trpišovský adds. "When designing the sets, Jakub Kopecký was inspired, among other things, by abandoned industrial buildings in the Liberec region gradually being swallowed up by nature." The set design by Kopecký hints that this production is something very much out of the ordinary. The costumes created by the Slovak designer Saša Grusková are also unique; they were made primarily with regard to the dancers' dynamic movement.
The legend of Krabat can be read as a parable of the power of love and the human soul as well as a parable of coming of age and awakening to our responsibility for our own and other people's lives. And its theater adaptation for audiences of all age categories promises an unusual and very original cultural experience.
Johana Mücková can be reached at