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Marionettes: A Prague Nightlife Alternative

CZECH REPUBLIC | Wednesday, 20 August 2014 | Views [1207] | Comments [1]

Over the course of two hours the “actors” ran into the set, a player went on public strike, and the conductor threw water at us in drunken fits (and I was lucky enough to be directly in the line of fire).

Not keen on the typical nightlife activities offered for young people my age, I sought out an alternative to the many pub crawls, beer tastings, and club parties in Prague. A fan of theatre and performing arts, I came across a marionette opera performance and knew I had found my cup of tea.

I had never seen an opera before and had never heard the story of Don Giovanni, so I knew I would at least be somewhat lost. Add to this the fact that the entire show would be done with marionettes, and I was sure I was in for a treat.

As I sat on an aged wooden seat amidst in a crowd of tourists and families with children in a quaint auditorium, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The shrill buzz of a horn hushed the room and the curtain rose.

From the instant the performer-directed puppets came on stage I was enthralled. They sang, they danced, they bowed and curtsied and begged. They came alive with each agile movement of the players’ hands. When I attempted to recreate the simplest of these movements, walking, with a small marionette after the show, I managed what looked like a very drunken, broken-legged stumble. So much for a career in marionettes.

But truly, the entire performance was a treat for the eyes and ears. It was an interactive show, suitable for both young and old, with cheeky references to the audience, and ample amounts of physical comedy. Even with the language barrier, I was able to quite easily follow the story displayed before me.  The crowd gasped in surprise when the puppet of the conductor, Mozart, tossed cupfuls of water towards the crowd. When a player went on “strike,” hung his puppet up, and scolded the other marionettes for taking too much time on a song, you could see the gleeful smirks on the faces of those in the crowd. And when marionettes tripped and fell or ran into scenery (all on purpose of course) the room filled with the laughter.

Beginning to end, my experience at the National Marionette Theater was enthralling and showed me just how much a show can accomplish through the use of wooden puppets. Whether you speak Czech or Italian, Korean or English, it is live performance shows such as these that prove communication does not always mean speaking the same language.


Tags: communication, don giovanni, languages, marionettes, performance, prague, theatre




I LOVE the last line of this! Truly showing your voice with this one ;)


  aeileenr Aug 21, 2014 5:17 AM

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